Wednesday, February 06, 2013

60 Groups Urge Bold Climate Change Action From Secy. Kerry

Feb 6: Sixty leading environmental, conservation, development, faith-based, and social justice organizations are congratulating Secretary of State John Kerry for his commitment to fight climate change and urging him to "spur bold and immediate action" to reduce its worsening impacts on American families and communities. The groups sent a letter to Kerry, the former senator newly confirmed as Secretary of State, calling on him to push for strong action against climate change and to take three specific steps: to help secure a global agreement to deal with the climate crisis; to reject any new or expanded infrastructure for tar sands oil, starting with the Keystone XL pipeline [See WIMS 1/24/13]; and to secure funding for international climate action, particularly in developing countries and the most vulnerable communities.

    Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) International Program Director Susan Casey-Lefkowitz said, "American leadership is essential to heading off deeper climate disruption. Secretary Kerry has an opportunity to supercharge his already strong climate record by rejecting dirty fuels, starting with the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, which would dramatically boost carbon pollution and worsen our climate."

    In a release, the groups point out that the State department will soon release an environmental review of the controversial Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. An earlier review assumed that even if Keystone XL were not built, other pipelines would enable tar sands expansion to occur. However, "mounting evidence now shows that the tar sands industry's plan to triple production by 2030 will not be possible without the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline."  Bill McKibben, founder of said, "It must be a relief for John Kerry to leave the talk shop of the US Senate and take a post where his convictions will translate directly into policy. Hard to imagine that one of his first stands won't be to nix the Keystone pipeline, a 1,700-mile fuse to one of the planet's largest carbon bombs."

    On February 17, President's Day, more than 20,000 Americans will gather in Washington, DC, for a "Forward on Climate" rally, calling for the Obama Administration to take strong action on climate change, leading with rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline and reducing carbon pollution from the nation's power plants—the largest source of carbon pollution today.

    The release indicates that EPA has estimated that the tar sands pipeline will boost annual U.S. carbon pollution emissions by up to 27.6 million metric tons -- the impact of adding nearly 6 million cars on the road. The groups cite new research by Oil Change International (OCI) shows that the government's estimates of the carbon emissions associated with Keystone XL underestimates the full impact of tar sands because a barrel of tar sands produces significantly more petroleum coke than conventional crude, which is more carbon-intensive than coal [See WIMS 1/17/13]. It's also being sold today as a cheaper substitute to it both in the U.S. and internationally. OCI's research shows that Keystone XL will produce enough petcoke to fuel 5 U.S. coal plants. The emissions from this petcoke have not yet been included in climate-impact analysis of the pipeline or the tar sands industry and OCI shows that it will raise total emissions by at least 13 percent.

    Access a release from the organizations with a link to the EPA estimate (click here). Access the letter from the groups (click here). Access the Oil Change International report (click here). [#Energy/KXL, #Climate] 

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