Over 100 scientists and economists call for rejection of Keystone XL pipeline

Photo courtesy of Tar Sands Action.
Over 100 scientists and economists urged President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry to reject the Keystone XL tar sands in a letter today. The contested 1,897-km pipeline would have the capacity to transport up to 830,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen from Alberta to refineries in Texas.

The letter criticizes the "carbon-intensive" process of extracting bitumen, and says building the Keystone XL pipeline would "significantly contribute" to the problem of climate change:

"As you both have made clear, climate change is a very serious problem. We must address climate change by decarbonizing our energy supply. A critical first step is to stop making climate change worse by tapping into disproportionately carbon-intensive energy sources like tar sands bitumen. 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.   

...We agree that climate impact is important and evidence shows that Keystone XL will significantly contribute to climate change. Fuels produced from tar sands result in more greenhouse gas emissions over their lifecycle than fuels produced from conventional oil, including heavy crudes processed in some Gulf Coast refineries.

The list of scientists and economists who signed the letter include: 
  • Dr. Philip W. Anderson, winner of the 1977 Nobel Prize in Physics alongside Sir Nevill Francis Mott and John Hasbrouck van Vleck.

  • Dr. Kenneth J. Arrow, who won the 1972 Nobel Prize in Economics alongside John Hicks for contributions to economic equilibrium theory and welfare theory.
  • Fellows of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) including Dr. James McCarthy, Dr. Richard Norgaard, and Dr. Michael Oppenheimer, and Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada (FRSC) including Dr. Mark Jaccard, Dr. Lawrence Dill, and Dr. Mark Winston. 

  • Canadian scientists and economists including Dr. David Suzuki, Dr. David Keith, 2006 winner of Canadian Geographic’s “Environmentalist of the Year”, who teaches at Harvard. 

The full text of the letter can be accessed here. 

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