Tag Archives: President Obama

Why I’m (Still) Fighting to Stop the Keystone XL Pipeline

Some things just aren’t worth killing the kids for.

Forgive me, I beg you. The language is crude, and perhaps you feel that I’m judging you. But the debate over energy policy is actually a matter of life and death. And the lives in question are those of our children. And that’s why I’m begging the White House not to approve the Keystone XL pipeline from the tar sand pits of northern Alberta to export terminals in Texas.

The facts are no longer seriously debated among scientists:

  • We must avoid warming the globe more than 2 degrees Celsius if we hope to preserve the Earth’s ecosystems to support the millions of living species God made and loves – including our own. Even if we succeed at that level, we will have consigned more species to extinction than at any time in millions of years.
  • To have any hope of staying below 2 degrees C extra global heat, we must limit total carbon burned by mankind to one trillion metric tons. The problem is, we’ve already burned more than half of that – 570 billion tons. We have a maximum of 430 billion tons left in our carbon allowance.
  • But the world’s reserves of recoverable fossil fuels – oil, gas and coal – contain more than 13,000 billion tons of CO2. Once again, that’s 13,000 billion tons for a world that can only afford to burn 430 billion. Do the math for yourself: More than 95% of recoverable oil, gas and coal simply must stay in the ground.
  • The carbon-heavy tar sands at the other end of the proposed KXL pipeline contain enough carbon to blow through the global budget, consigning future generations to horrors we have never known.
Flood of warnings: Greenland ice melt

Flood of warnings: Greenland ice melt

We face tough choices, but this one isn’t tough. Starting with the dirtiest fuels, we must begin to say “No” to our addiction. And the dirtiest fuels are coal and tar sands oil.

I’m already on record as having enlisted in the “War on Coal,” (I prefer to call it the “War for My Granddaughters”), so the next fight has to be over the second dirtiest fuel: the Alberta tar sands. How much carbon is stored beneath the ground up there? Well, if we burn all the tar sands oil, we will pump another 240 billion tons of CO2 into God’s good sky. More than half of the world’s remaining carbon allowance, from that one source alone. Forget about the Saudis, Venezuela, China’s coal or all the other sources of carbon fuels in the world. Alberta’s tar sands will take us halfway to the edge of the precipice.

No, no. That’s wrong. It will take our children halfway to the edge of the precipice.

Earth's fossil fuels: we've already burned the purple

Earth’s fossil fuels: we’ve already burned the purple. Most of what;s left must stay in the ground.

I’d love to have lots of cheap oil for my house and car. But not at that price. It’s just not worth killing the kids for.

Now, you’ll hear that stopping the pipeline won’t really stop the tar sands. Maybe the big oil companies will find other pipeline routes. Or maybe they’ll put all that toxic gunk onto rail cars. Why fight so hard, when you’re pretty sure to lose anyway?

But God made you for this time, and this place. This is the foxhole you’re holding. This is the flank you’re defending.  Let others defend the next assault, or let us stand against it when it comes. But don’t let anyone tell us that this battle is lost because of sure defeat in other battles yet to come.

If love for your Father’s beloved planet stirs in your heart too, you’ve only got a few days left to tell President Obama how you feel. Please take the simple step of asking him to protect what God owns and loves. Click here, and let him know.

Barbara Elwood spends two days every week looking after those granddaughters I keep talking about. But when she gets home at night, this grandmother has a little more work to do for them. Every night, she goes to the White House website, and pleads on behalf of her beloved little girls.

Won’t you take a moment and join her? Time is getting short.

“It is not our part to master all the tides of the world, but to do what is in us for the succour of those years wherein we are set, uprooting the evil in the fields that we know, so that those who live after may have clean earth to till. What weather they shall have is not ours to rule.” Gandalf the White, The Return of the King

Thank You, Mr. President

Tuesday, June 25, 2013. I won’t forget this day.

Because that’s the day we listened to President Obama deliver his climate action speech at Georgetown under DC’s fittingly murderous summer heat. I listened in near disbelief. The President of the United States – arguably the most gluttonous carbon-polluting nation in the world – was outlining a plan for positive global-scale change. Change, for the good of our children and their children. Change, for the good of all nations on Earth. Change, to “keep the planet habitable.”

We’ve been hoping for this day for years. We’ve prayed for our leaders to protect God’s injured creation. We’ve consoled the victims of climate chaos from the Mississippi delta to the degraded farmlands of Kenya. We’ve written countless letters to our political leaders, begging for action. We’ve made our plea repeatedly in Congressional offices. We’ve shrugged off hostility and indifference from many in churches of our faith. We’ve been hauled off to jail in Washington’s sweltering August heat.

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Obama at Georgetown University yesterday

In all this, we wondered if America would ever find the courage to face the truth about our disastrous misuse of our Father’s world and its most vulnerable children – whether human or four-footed, winged or aquatic. We have longed to proclaim the good news to every creature, as our Savior commanded us. But for the most part, we’ve only brought more and more bad news. More droughts; more floods; more violent storms; more acidic oceans; increased extinction of our fellow created species; more severe crop failures; rising food costs; more hunger.

But then, under Washington’s oppressive afternoon heat, the President said much – perhaps nearly all – of what we would hope from our leaders: Continue reading