Keystone and our image in the US!

Screen capture ForestEthics

This image of Canada is far from flattering.  It headed an article in that reviewed the status of the Keystone protests in the US.

Stopping Keystone XL may be seen as a minor skirmish when compared with the significant battles that still must be fought to limit global warming.  Some environmentalists have criticized the choice of Keystone as diversionary.  They point out that Keystone will not significantly rein in US Greenhouse Gas emissions. They say that the real challenge will be to shut down US coal-fired power generation plants that contribute so largely to these emissions. In their view the burning of coal is where environmentalists should focus their efforts.

4RG acknowledges the careful analysis that underlies this criticism, but as Canadians we do not share this conclusion.

  • Firstly, the success of the anti-Keystone movement to date has resulted in the only practical pressure on the Canadian Government and the fossil fuel industry to limit our GHG emissions.
  • Secondly, without the success of the anti- Keystone movement, our prime minister would not have appealed for a common US-Canada environmental approach.  This approach has been the premise of much of the environmental policy adopted by the Canadian government over the past several years. Now that the Republican Party no longer controls the US Senate, a common approach may lead to genuine progress in reducing GHG emissions in Canada.
  • Thirdly, the success of the anti-Keystone movement has been an encouragement to Canadian environmental organizations opposing the transport of tar sands bitumen by pipelines in Canada.
  • Lastly, but perhaps most importantly, the tar sands is the most obvious example of how the chase for fossil fuels is ruining the physical environment, is prejudicing the slim possibility that we will achieve our reduction targets agreed to at Copenhagen and is changing the democratic institutions of our country as we move to a petro-state.


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