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.
Bodes well for the future