‘…unless river of money from Big Oil is diverted there is no way to deal with climate change’
Analysis by Stephen Leahy
UXBRIDGE, Canada, Aug 31, 2011 (IPS)
The United States’ biggest environmental groups put aside their differences last week to make an urgent intervention on the country’s addiction to oil. The first step on the long road to recovery, they say, is to stop the proposed construction of the Keystone XL pipeline that will “mainline” the world’s dirtiest oil from northern Canada into the U.S. heartland.
“This (Keystone) is a terrible project,” they wrote in a letter to President Barack Obama, citing dangers to the climate, the risks of disastrous spills and leaks, and the economic damage that will come from continued dependence on fossil fuel.
Oil from the Keystone XL will dump an estimated 150 million tonnes of carbon dioxide (CO2) annually into the atmosphere – more than most countries. Scientists warn that approval of the project will further fuel the extreme weather that has already resulted in over one billion dollars in damages recorded this year in nine separate extreme weather events in the U.S.
And that doesn’t include the estimated 20 to 45 billion dollars in costs from Hurricane Irene last weekend, mainly due to extensive flooding.
Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from fossil fuels do not cause hurricanes, tornados or droughts, but they do trap additional heat and water vapour that fuels those events, climate scientists have proven time and time again.
Asked about the impacts of adding another 150 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, German climate scientist Malte Meinshausen, a researcher at the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, told IPS that it will warm the planet for hundreds of years and lead to higher sea levels and “more pronounced droughts and floods”.