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Canada Will Say Anything

The United States Dept. of Energy Secretary Moniz will meet on Monday with Joe Oliver, the Canadian Minister of Natural Resources to discuss their latest promise to “do better” on carbon pollution from tarsands. Ever since Pres. Obama drew the clear line in the sand that he would not approve Keystone XL if it contributed more carbon pollution, we have seen everything from TransCanada announcing a new pipeline proposal (which faces fierce opposition of First Nations and residents in the path) to increased empty threats by Canadian Prime Minister Harper (kinda like what a little brother does to his big brother). Canada is so desperate to get tarsands to the export market they will say anything about the reckless tarsands industry to get approval for what everyone knows is THE lynchpin piece of infrastructure to expand tarsands.

As a country, we do not make decisions about our national interest based on empty promises or threats. Since Prime Minister Harper and his staff are so desperate and will say anything to get Pres. Obama to say yes to the risky and carbon intensive Keystone XL pipeline, I am now waiting for Harper to show up in a trench coat and boom box standing on a bench across the White House as their next move.

Why not pull out the trench coat and boom box? They have tried just about everything else from bullying landowners, to increased donations to candidates, to misleading elected officials on risks, to choosing biased consultants to write the “environmental” reports and now false promises that they will fix the mess they know is happening in their own backyard.

Promises from foreign tarsands interests are not in our national interest.

Protecting our families, our drinking water and the very way of life along this proposed line is exactly what is in our national interest and why we are confident Pres. Obama will say no to Keystone XL.

Sec. Moniz took to twitter last month to say, let’s hold him to his words and make sure he acts on climate and protects our land and water from the reckless tarsands industry that only cares about getting their product on the export market:

“I said it before & I’ll say it again: The threat from climate change is real & urgent. It’s time to ‪#ActOnClimate ‪http://bit.ly/1dre120″

ACTION:
Help us invite Sec. Moniz to meet with farmers and ranchers who would live with the risks of this pipeline as well as the tribes and families are impacted at the mining and refining of this extreme form of energy. If Sec. Moniz is meeting to hear from Canada, he should also meet with folks in the path to hear our concerns.

Tweet Sec. Moniz: @ErnestMoniz
Email Sec. Moniz: The.Secretary@hq.doe.gov

BACKGROUND:
Canada is saying anything for the United States to give the green light for THE lynchpin project to expand tarsands. If Keystone XL gets approved, we already know they will add second pipelines to Keystone 1 and Keystone XL (called twinning), so Pres. Obama would be green lighting not one but four tarsands pipelines with a stroke of a pen.

We must keep the current production levels of tarsands right where they are until Canada can prove–rather than make promises–they are honoring their word to clean up water pollution, decrease carbon and do right by landowners and tribes.

Sec. Moniz cannot with a straight face say “The evidence is overwhelming. The science is clear — certainly clear for the level that one needs for policymaking — in terms of the real and urgent threat of climate change.” You can watch Sec. Moniz full speech on climate.

Bold Nebraska is part of the All Risk, No Reward Coalition which will hand out a breifing paper for journalists that attend the press conference Canadaian official Joe Oliver will hold after his meeting with Sec. Moniz. Here is the content of the memo:

Want to Mitigate Tar Sands? Stop Tar Sands Expansion

Today, Canada’s Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver sat down with U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz in a desperate attempt to convince the administration that Keystone XL will not “exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution” and is in the U.S. national interest.

What the two countries’ leaders should be discussing is how to stop the reckless expansion of the tar sands industry, which is the only way to mitigate the increases in carbon pollution that is currently planned in Canada.

“The Harper government wants to have its cake and eat it too,” said All Risk, No Reward Chair Randy Thompson. “They’re trying to talk the talk on climate change, but they won’t walk the walk. Saying anything to get this reckless pipeline to the export market is not in our national interest. Americans are counting on President Obama to see through Canada’s transparent promises.”

The tar sands are Canada’s fastest growing source of greenhouse gas pollution, and if they continue to expand as government and industry project, they will cancel out every other effort across the country to mitigate emissions. Emissions from the tar sands are projected to double by 2020, which will send Canada soaring past the 2020 climate change target.

Canada is now on track to break its international promise made in Copenhagen by missing its commitment to reduce emissions by 17% below 2005 levels by 2020, a target that it shares with the United States who, in contrast, is currently on track to meet this goal.

The reckless tar sands expansion that Keystone XL would generate is incompatible with President Obama’s vision to reduce global carbon emissions.

Dr. Mark Jaccard, Professor of Environmental Economics at Simon Frasier University and former chair of British Columbia Utilities Commission: “Mitigation of Canada’s increasing carbon pollution is incompatible with the Harper government’s policy of unchecked oil sands expansion, which is driving their push for Keystone XL. The Canadian government has failed to reign in the skyrocketing emissions from this carbon intensive industry and we are now at a point where the only acceptable alternative [is] for the U.S. government to reject Keystone XL.”

Dr. Danny Harvey, Climate Scientist at University of Toronto: “It will be very difficult for the Canadian government to achieve its own emissions reduction target for 2020 even without tar sands expansion, and more so if it continues to pursue tar sands expansion. In any case, deep reductions in overall emissions, beyond the 2020 target, will be required in the following decades that will be impossible to achieve if we lock in 40 years of increased tar sands emissions by building more pipelines.”

The only credible mitigation plan that Minister Oliver could bring to the table to address greenhouse gas pollution from Canada’s growing tar sands industry would be one that cancels plans for Keystone XL and other tar sands pipelines and stops the reckless expansion of the industry.

As a crucial component of Canada’s plans to grow their tar sands industry, Keystone XL can’t help but fail President Obama’s climate test.

Photo Credit: Garth Lenz via Sierra Club

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