A Scan of Critical World Developments
Keep It in the Ground
The US climate movement scored a significant victory in the battle against the fossil fuel industry last week. After a seven-year battle, President Obama formally rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have connected carbon-intensive tar sands from Alberta to export terminals in the Gulf of Mexico. In his speech announcing the decision, Obama sounded the message of climate campaigners: keep fossil fuels in the ground. Some studies have put the “unburnable” percentage of fossil fuel reserves as high as 80%. As new records of warming continue to be broken, Obama should take heed of his own words. US oil production is double what it was when Obama was elected, and 40% of the nation’s coal production, as well as significant oil and natural gas drilling, is occurring on public lands. The rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline is especially welcome as a good faith measure in the lead-up to the climate talks in Paris later this month. But the campaign to leave fossil fuels in the ground will need to continue on a thousand fronts, wherever coal mines, power plants, oil rigs, and other such infrastructure is proposed. With this victory, the climate movement carries new momentum into the coming battles.