May 27, 2013

Refusing the Keystone pipeline is only a start

The pressure being applied on the US administration to approve the Keystone pipeline by the Conservative government in Canada is expensive: to Canadians, to our reputation around the world, and to the planet.

It's costing Canadian taxpayers millions of dollars in advertising that the Department of Natural Resources is spending to convince the US government that tar sands oil should be exploited and shipped from Alberta to Texas.

It's furthering the embarrassment that Canada has become on the world stage as a country that doesn't take environmental concerns seriously.

Elizabeth Kolbert, in a New Yorker editorial this week, pointed out that, if the tar sands are fully mined, the cost to the atmosphere would be 22 billion metric tonnes of carbon. We simply can't afford that. As Kolbert concluded, "The pipeline isn't inevitable, and it shouldn't be treated as such. It's just another step on the march to disaster."

Yes, we have to oppose the Keystone pipeline. But that is only a symbol. The tar sands will be mined regardless. What is more important is that we stop strip mining Alberta for dirty oil.

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