— President Obama addresses climate, energy, infrastructure in State of the Union. Read the rest of his speech here. Twitter reactions here.
"Cynthia Giles, the E.P.A. assistant administrator for enforcement and compliance, said that the State Department had failed to adequately support its two fundamental conclusions supporting the project — that the climate change effects of building the pipeline would be negligible, and that Canada would develop the oil sands regardless of whether the $7 billion pipeline is built."
"Researchers now say that the Alberta tar sands contain 360 to 510 billion tons of carbon — more than double that of all oil burned in human history. While only a fraction is considered economically recoverable right now, we humans are genius at finding new and better ways to dig junk out of the ground. Digging begets more digging. Once the big spigot is open, TransCanada will have every incentive to milk the massive tar sands basin for all it is worth."
"Environmental debates are often framed with an Us Versus Them dynamic. If we are to achieve our goal of protecting the environment for future generations, we should strive not to let the debate be seen as a fight between environmentalists versus fossil fuel workers, but rather a fight between moral or immoral choices."
"As Lloyd has noted on TreeHugger before, stopping the Keystone pipeline won’t keep the tar sands in the ground or the carbon they will produce out of the atmosphere. Trans Canada could build a pipeline to the west or continue shipping the oil by rail, but as KC makes clear, to not speak out against this pipeline is to concede defeat. And when the stakes are a ruined atmosphere or a chance at preventing catastrophe, what choice do we have?"
"But for the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change. Yes, it’s true that no single event makes a trend. But the fact is, the 12 hottest years on record have all come in the last 15. Heat waves, droughts, wildfires, and floods – all are now more frequent and intense. We can choose to believe that Superstorm Sandy, and the most severe drought in decades, and the worst wildfires some states have ever seen were all just a freak coincidence. Or we can choose to believe in the overwhelming judgment of science – and act before it’s too late."
"We are working’ 5 days in 4’ week because how we live as individuals has consequences for everyone else. The way we live now has created many problems: scarcity of resources, scarcity of jobs, climate change, wealth discrepancies and many wasted lives. These are all escalating problems which are not being addressed by the institutions of power: Governments, Banks, the Multinationals have too many vested interests in the current system to be the agents of change."