Blog post

Bill McKibben on Obama's defining climate change decision

Chris Webb19 August 2011

It comes as no surprise that GOP presidential nominee Rick Perry has called climate change a lie and accused scientists of doctoring information to suit their own ends—indeed, these seem to me some of his tamer anti-science assertions. But even the political centre seems averse to calling out climate change skeptics and taking any meaningful steps to reduce emissions—denial by inaction some would call it. In a column in the Washington Post, author and activist Bill McKibben (who penned the introduction for Verso's upcoming I'm With the Bears: Short Stories from a Damaged Planet) takes aim at Obama's climate change intransigence:

Still, the final call rests with Barack Obama, who said the night that he clinched the Democratic nomination in June 2008 that his ascension would mark the moment when 'the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal.' Now he gets a chance to prove that he meant it. In basketball terms, he's alone at the top of the key—will he take the 20-foot jumper or pass the ball? It's a rare, character-defining moment. Obama can't escape it simply by saying that someone else will burn the oil if we don't.

At issue is the Keystone XL pipeline, which is set to snake across the continent from the Mordor-like tar sands of Alberta, Canada all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. McKibben and a host of organizations and scientists are calling on Obama to block construction of the pipeline, in what is expected to be

the biggest display of civil disobedience in the environmental movement in decades and one of the largest nonviolent direct actions since the World Trade Organization demonstrations in Seattle back before Sept. 11.

Twenty of the country's leading climate scientists have endorsed the action and encouraged people to head to Washington, including NASA climatologist James Hansen, who explained in a paper issued this summer that emmissions from the Tar Sands would "means it's essentially game over for the climate."

Visit The Washington Post to read Bill McKibben's article in full.

Visit Tar Sands Action to follow the campaign to shut down the Keystone XL pipeline. 

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