Forward on Climate Rally in DC

solar panelsThe Forward on Climate rally was yesterday in Washington DC. Somewhere between 35,000 and 50,000 people attended. I would say it was a grand success. The best coverage of the rally that I’ve found is here.

I know there are lots of reasonable people who believe that the Keystone XL pipeline is going to help with our economic prosperity. I can even understand their reasoning. However, I firmly believe that the benefits do not outweigh the long term costs. Today we got confirmation that the tar sands tailings ponds are leaking toxins into the ground water. The Canadian government had denied that any chemicals were leaking from the ponds, but zero leakage seemed unlikely to me.

I’ve spoken before about the externalized costs of fossil fuels. Here are a couple of articles that go into more detail on that subject, and provide sources for further research.

I also got some very bad news on the state of the arctic sea ice, this week. It looks like the arctic will be ice free in the summer by 2020. That doesn’t bode well for the gulf stream, which is already slowing down. That seemingly insignificant fact could have catastrophic implications for the east coast of the United States. The slowing of the gulf stream will add to sea level rise here, on the east coast. It could mean as much as a meter of extra sea level rise, over and above the global sea level rise. That could spell disaster for many coastal communities near my home.

I warned you, a couple of posts back, that there would be more doom and gloom. I’m afraid the news from this past week is even more dire than I had anticipated. I sure hope Obama decides to scrap the Keystone XL pipeline. We don’t need more pollution or more CO2. Jobs are no good to us, if our food supply is devastated by drought, or the Mississippi river dries up, or our rivers die from toxic pollutants. Our children deserve a healthy planet. Our economy is already being severely burdened by the cost of health care, and skyrocketing food prices. We can’t survive in a toxic environment.

Just say “No” to Keystone XL. Forward on Climate!