Obama kills Keystone adding even more life into climate movement


US President Barack Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline today, putting an end to a six year political waiting game and simultaneously delivering a major victory to the growing climate movement. Obama said, “America is now a global leader when it comes to taking serious action to fight climate change, and frankly approving this project would have undercut that leadership.” The Keystone XL pipeline would have connected Canada’s dirty tar sands oil supply to ports in the Gulf Coast by cutting through communities, aquifers and farms along a 1,200 mile stretch of America’s heartland. Encouraging tar sands production by building such a pipeline was said to be “game over for the planet,” and would have likely undercut any leadership role the US has carved out for itself ahead of the Paris climate negotiations taking place later this month. The economic case for public investment in fossil fuel projects appears to be increasingly dubious and vulnerable to a carbon bubble bust, at a time when leaders are increasingly standing up for a transition to renewable energy sources. Today’s Keystone rejection strengthens what has grown to be a formidable and diverse movement demanding continuous climate action towards a bold agreement in Paris.



Hashtags to use: #NoKXL

Key Points

  • The days of leaders dodging climate action are over and the opportunities for more leadership are here. Be it President Obama today, the heads of the world’s leading economies like Germany’s Angela Merkel at the G7 earlier this year, or the early signals coming from newly sworn in Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau this week, it’s clear that doing the right thing for the planet is  also the right thing to do politically. The momentum of the Keystone rejection comes ahead of the Paris climate negotiations where leaders will have a chance to move forward with a deal that adds to that momentum.




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Top Quotes

  • “If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it’s too late, the time to act is now.” President Barack Obama

  • “The critical factor in my determination was this: moving forward with this project would significantly undermine our ability to continue leading the world in combating climate change” US Secretary of State, John Kerry

  • Everywhere you look, people are shutting down fracking wells, stopping coal export facilities, and challenging new pipelines. If Big Oil thinks that after Keystone XL the protesters are going home, they’re going to be sorely surprised. Today in Canada, dozens of people are risking arrest at Prime Minister Trudeau’s residence as part of the ‘Climate Welcome’ action to urge him to put an immediate freeze to tar sand expansion. Maye Boeve 350.org Executive Director

  • Development of tar sands crude, the most carbon-intensive oil on the planet—is wholly inconsistent with averting the worst impacts of climate change. Americans are ready for a cleaner energy economy, one that uses energy efficiently; prioritizes wind, solar, and other low-carbon sources of energy; and creates jobs that cannot be outsourced. Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress

  • “The rejection of the Keystone pipeline is a signal that should reverberate to all parties involved in the Paris climate talks.” Jennifer Morgan, global director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute

  • “President Obama is the first world leader to reject a project because of its effect on the climate.” Bill McKibben, co-founder 350.org

  • “It took years and a level of activism not seen in at least a generation, but President Obama has heard the calls of the candidate Obama that Americans elected and re-elected to fight climate change.” CREDO Climate Campaigns Director Elijah Zarlin

  • “The oil in the project alone would account for 168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide (MMTCO2e) per year, with the incremental increase of 27 MMTCO2e. Over the life of the project this would lead to an unacceptable amount of carbon pollution at a time when all estimates are saying that we are quickly burning through our remaining carbon budget. All studies that look at what can be burned in a 2 degrees C world show that tar sand reserves shouldn’t be developed.” Jake Schmidt, Natural Resources Defence Council

  • “This is an extraordinary moment for grassroots activism and the fight against fossil fuels.” Friends of the Earth President Erich Pica

  • “By saying no to the Keystone XL pipeline, the president is demonstrating our nation’s leadership on climate action in advance of the international climate negotiations in Paris this December, providing an important boost of momentum. He is also making good on his promise that the nation will leave dirty fossil fuels in the ground, replacing it with clean energy.” Sierra Club Executive Director Michael Brune

  • “Canada’s newly-elected government must learn from President Obama’s rejection and rethink our failed economic strategy that has focused so heavily on exporting fossil fuels. To succeed in the emerging clean economy, we must invest in a transition to a cleaner energy system that creates jobs and wealth for Canadians. The trillion dollar opportunity presented by the global clean energy transition cannot be allowed to pass us by.” Adam Scott Environmental Defence Canada

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