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August 2011, Week 3

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Thu, 18 Aug 2011 20:34:19 -0400
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A Watershed Moment for Obama on Climate Change

by Bill McKibben, 
Op-Ed

Washington Post

August 18, 2011

http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-watershed-moment-for-obama-on-climate-change/2011/08/16/gIQAGX3zJJ_story.html

Already, more than a thousand people have signed up to be
arrested over two weeks beginning Aug. 20 - the biggest
display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement
in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions
since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle
back before Sept. 11. (Among the first 500 to sign up, the
biggest cohort was born in the Truman administration,
followed closely by FDR babies and Eisenhower kids. These
seniors contradict the stereotype of greedy geezers who care
only about their own future.)

The issue is simple: We want the president to block
construction of Keystone XL, a pipeline that would carry oil
from the tar sands of northern Alberta down to the Gulf of
Mexico. We have, not surprisingly, concerns about potential
spills and environmental degradation from construction of
the pipeline. But those tar sands are also the second-
largest pool of carbon in the atmosphere, behind only the
oil fields of Saudi Arabia. If we tap into them in a big
way, NASA climatologist James Hansen explained in a paper
issued this summer, the emissions would mean it's
"essentially game over" for the climate. That's why the
executive directors of many environmental groups and 20 of
the country's leading climate scientists wrote letters
asking people to head to Washington for the demonstrations.
In scientific terms, it's as close to a no-brainer as you
can get.

But in political terms it may turn out to be a defining
moment of the Obama years.

[Read full post at: 
http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-watershed-moment-for-obama-on-climate-change/2011/08/16/gIQAGX3zJJ_story.html

[Bill McKibben is the Schumann distinguished scholar at
Middlebury College in Vermont and has helped organize
Tarsandsaction.org ]

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