Nobel Peace Prize Laureates call on Obama to reject Keystone XL

“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced -- climate change,” the Laureates wrote in a letter to Obama in urging him to reject Keystone XL.  

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and landmine activist Jody Williams

Ten Nobel Peace Prize Laureates, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and landmine activist Jody Williams, urged the White House to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would bring 830,000 barrels of tar sands bitumen per day from Alberta to refineries in the Gulf Coast. 

“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change,” the Nobel Laureates write in a letter sent to U.S. President Barack Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry.

“History will reflect on this moment and it will be clear to our children and grandchildren if you made the right choice.... We urge you to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”

The letter asserts that Keystone XL would push forward the rapid expansion of Alberta's tar sands, which would aggravate climate change. A recent Environment Canada report has found that the oil and gas industry is now the largest source of greenhouse gas emissions, due in large part to tar sands expansion. 

The Nobel Laureates' call comes just a week after 11 Democrats urged Obama to come to a quick decision on Keystone XL, "no later than May 31", suggesting that approving the pipeline would be the right decision. The White House rejected the call, however, saying that a review was in process and that it would not be pressured into a decision. 

Around half of the Democrats who pressured the U.S. President are vulnerable Senators who face difficult elections in 'purple' states this fall. Republicans, who have supported the pipeline proposal since its early days, would require only six seats to control the Senate. Nebraska Governor Dave Heineman has been especially vocal about his support for Keystone XL, even though the court rejected his state legislation to approve the pipeline last month as "unconstitutional". Despite large increases in cash offers to landowners along the pipeline route, Keystone XL continues to face opposition from grassroots groups including Bold Nebraska, which recently launched the world's largest crop art installation depicting a "Cowboy and Indian" alliance against the project. 

Photo by Lou Dematteis

Read More:

More in News

Views from a refugee camp: Who gets into heaven?

I have just returned to Vancouver Island from Greek refugee camps where I met a Yazidi man named Jason who told me about his escape from ISIS in Iraq.   His story begins on a desert road where a...

Vancouver's bicycle sharing grows as 15 new stations installed

Mobi bicycle by Shaw Go in Vancouver. Photo by Christopher Porter from Flickr Creative Commons

International Women's Day Concert celebrates female musicians who turned tragedy into triumph

Every March 8, on International Women's Day, we hear about the achievements of brilliant, talented women around the world. But how often do we learn about the physical and mental disabilities or...
Speak up about this article on Facebook or Twitter. Do this by liking Vancouver Observer on Facebook or following us @Vanobserver on Twitter. We'd love to hear from you.