The Keystone XL fight is now, officially, on our terms.
In a surprise announcement, in his first major address on climate change in four-and-a-half years as President, Barack Obama said that he would not approve Keystone XL if it significantly increased carbon emissions.1
This is huge. It is a huge sign that the pressure we have put on the administration is working. More than 62,000 people have pledged to engage in civil disobedience if necessary to stop Keystone XL, precisely because it will lead to “game over for the climate” by lighting the fuse to detonate the carbon bomb of the Alberta tar sands into our atmosphere.
It is also a huge sign that we must keep our pressure on. After all, the State Department’s first sham environmental evaluation found that Keystone XL would not substantially increase climate emissions – flying in the face of the EPA,2 climate scientists,3 and the economists and oil industry executives who know that Keystone XL will speed development of the tar sands.
Deciding Keystone XL based on its climate impacts is a fight we can win – but only if we keep fighting.
Also in today’s speech was the President’s announcement that his administration was moving forward on a rule to limit carbon pollution from existing power plants. This too is huge news, and something that CREDO and our activists have been pushing the President to do since before the failure of the climate bill in 2009.
Taken together, setting the terms for rejecting Keystone XL and moving forward on limiting carbon pollution from existing power plants, were the two most important things President Obama could have done today. More than anything else, we are grateful for this leadership.
We know the President will be facing ferocious opposition and attacks from the fossil fuel industry, and the science-denying Republican obstructionists who serve them. So while we have a lot of work to do, today is an important day to thank the President for his leadership.
Of course, the speech wasn’t perfect – far from it. In addition to disappointing calls to expand natural gas development, the steps laid out today simply weren’t enough to solve our climate change problem on their own.
But this is a significant step forward from an administration that for years was afraid to even say the word “climate,” and today gave a full-throated endorsement of the need for our action, and for global leadership to fulfill our moral obligation to protect people all around the world from the damage that has already begun.
This is a testament to your pressure and your activism. And it only affirms our commitment to redoubling all of our efforts, including the Pledge of Resistance, to oppose Keystone XL and fight climate change.
There’s a lot more to do, but mostly today, we are shocked by this surprise announcement, and grateful that the president is finally leading in the fight against climate change. Click the button below to sign the petition thanking President Obama.
Thanks for standing with us.
Elijah Zarlin, Campaign Manager
CREDO Action from Working Assets
1. “In climate speech, Obama sets carbon limits on Keystone project,” The Hill, 6/25/13
2. “How much does EPA’s objection to Keystone XL matter? A lot.” Washington Post, 4/25/13
3. “Scientists: Key Parts of State Dept Keystone Review Are ‘Without Merit’,” Inside Climate, 6/4/12
- Obama Declares Keystone XL Will Be Approved (forbes.com)
- Obama: Keystone XL verdict hinges on its carbon footprint (fuelfix.com)
- Obama ties Keystone XL to carbon emissions limits (Video) (bizjournals.com)
- Obama’s Environmental Speech Indicates Keystone XL Pipeline To Be Approved (albanytribune.com)
- President Obama Says He Will Only Approve Keystone XL Pipeline if it Doesn’t Increase Carbon Pollution (inhabitat.com)
- Obama to announce new power plant carbon cuts (cbc.ca)
- Keystone XL must not ‘significantly’ add emissions to win U.S. approval: Obama (macleans.ca)
- President Obama’s climate change speech may hint at possible Keystone XL pipeline rejection (dailykos.com)
- Obama takes on power plants as part of new climate plan – Reuters (reuters.com)
- Obama may have left himself wiggle room to approve Keystone XL (washingtonpost.com)