Keystone XL Provokes Largest Climate Protest in US history
Last week, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, John Baird, met with America’s newly appointed Secretary of State to discuss the Keystone XL pipeline, trade, energy security and the environment, among other things.
With immense pressure from Mr. Baird, TransCanada, and both pro-pipeline and anti-pipeline groups, the fate of the controversial Keystone XL sits heavy on John Kerry’s shoulders. Awaiting approval from the State Department’s environmental assessment and the White House, Kerry says the ongoing federal review of the project will be ‘fair, transparent, and accountable.’
The pipeline would help expand the exploitation of what many consider one of the dirtiest oil source on the planet. Keystone XL plans to carry Canada’s carbon-intensive tar sands oil almost 2,000 miles from Alberta through the American mid-west to the Gulf Coast of Texas. Opponents of the pipeline say that the extraction and consumption of the oil would significantly increase global warming and deepen North America’s addiction to dirty fossil fuels. In his meeting with Mr. Baird, Kerry did not indicated his stance on the pipeline but says that he will be “a passionate advocate on this not based on ideology but based on facts and science”. Mr. Baird, on the other hand, true to the government’s approach to climate change as PR problem instead of a pollution problem, repeated the government’s well–debunked talking points. The two agreed to ‘stay in touch’ on Keystone over the coming months.
Since then, President Barack Obama made his 2013 State of the Union address where he stressed that meaningful progress on climate change and strong economic growth can, and should, go hand in hand. In a message to Congress, he urged for the implementation of a market-based solution to climate change. Most notably, he said that, “if Congress won’t act soon to protect future generations, I will.” In declaration, he vowed to take executive actions now, and in the future, to reduce pollution, prepare our communities for the consequences of climate change, and speed the transition to more sustainable sources of energy.