Scientists, economists urge Obama to reject Keystone XL pipeline

Wisconsin Gazette

More than 100 leading scientists and economists are calling on the Obama Administration to deny the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. They say the pipeline will trigger massive development of the world’s dirtiest oil and escalate climate change.

The coalition includes winners of the Nobel Prize in physics and economics and lead authors of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports.

In a letter to President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry, the group said, “We urge you to reject the Keystone XL tar sands oil pipeline as a project that will contribute to climate change at a time when we should be doing all we can to put clean energy alternatives in place. The Keystone XL pipeline will drive expansion of the energy-intensive strip-mining and drilling of tar sands from under Canada’s Boreal forest, increasing global carbon emissions. Keystone XL is a step in the wrong direction.”

In January, the U.S. State Department released a final Environmental Impact Statement on Keystone XL.

Now the administration is formally considering whether the pipeline, which would bring tar sands oil from Canada across the United States to the Gulf of Mexico, is in America’s national interest.

A decision probably will be made in the next couple of months.

In their letter, the scientists and economists commend Obama and Kerry for making strong commitments to fighting climate change. They call on them to turn down the KXL because the incremental emissions alone could boost annual carbon pollution emissions by more than the output of seven coal-fired power plants.

That would worsen climate change, making the project clearly not in the national interest, they write. The total emissions are far greater, and, as they write, are “emissions that can and should be avoided with a transition to clean energy.”