Over the last few months the internet has been full of activity over the Keystone XL pipeline. Here is some brief background on the project from a new book “Carnival Kingdom Biblical Justice for Global Communities“.
“Over the last year there has been a considerable battle in the United States over the Keystone XL pipeline that would bring oil from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada to Texas. The extraction process is very damaging to the local environment in Alberta, and poses some threat to important aquifers should the pipeline ever break. The amount of carbon locked up in the tar sands is huge and would contribute a massive amount of CO2 to the atmosphere should it ever get burnt. Many have argued that the best policy is to leave the tar sands underground and to concentrate on developing renewable energy sources. James Hansen, the top NASA climate scientist, stressed the dangers of exploiting the tar sands stating that it would be “game over for the climate” if the carbon was used.
In August 2011 over 1000 peaceful demonstrators were arrested outside the White House in Washington D.C. at a demonstration coordinated by Bill McKibben and 350.org. The demonstration concerned the building of the Keystone XL pipeline mentioned above.
As we have already noted, the potential for carbon emissions from tar sands products is huge. Those arrested at the demonstration included Bill McKibben, James Hansen and the actress Daryl Hannah. On November 6, 2011, twelve thousand people formed a human chain around the White House to protest against the pipeline. Four days later President Obama announced a delay in the decision on the pipeline permit until at least
2013, while further environmental reviews were carried out. As we write there is still a battle going on over the pipeline with attempts to build sections of it being met by fierce resistance from 350.org and its allies. In many of these cases demonstrators are directly attempting to block the development of the pipeline, and their action is more than symbolic.”
from “Carnival Kingdom Biblical Justice for Global Communities“.
Some of the pipeline is in operation but what campaigners are trying to stop is a number of extensions to it. Yesterday there was a huge rally in Washington to attempt to stop these next phases and call for climate action. Whilst we did not cover the XL pipeline specifically in “No oil in the lamp” we do not approve of the use of unconventional oil or gas (which we have written about in some detail). Apart from the environmental damage (CO2 and landscape) the tar sands use vast amounts of natural gas which would be better left in the ground (preferably) or either used to heat houses or generate electricity. The energy return of oil from Tar sands is so low (probably as low as 3:1) as to make the whole thing a nonsense. After pumping it over 2000 mile across North America this energy return is surely going to be unity. Bizarrely the oil boom in Alberta maybe over (see our books Facebook wall for a link to that story). What the whole sorry caper illustrates is our addiction to oil and the need to get off it.