Year 2, Month 8, Day 27: Please Don’t Let This Happen.

I’m writing this on August 9 — two days before I leave for India, and one day before I stop writing climate letters until I get back.

And this letter will see the light of the intertubes on August 27 — two days after I get back. I’m cool…and looking forward to my vacation!

This is about the potentially disastrous Tar Sands Pipeline project, which absolutely MUST NOT be allowed to happen.

Faxed to POTUS at 1 AM, August 10; mailed in an actual envelope with a stamp later that same day.

Dear President Obama,

In a sane universe, the notion of opening the Canadian tar sands to exploitation would never have arisen. The consequences of bringing this extraordinarily dirty form of energy into circulation would be catastrophic for North America and for our planet.

It would also, of course, pretty much doom any chance you would have to be remembered as an environmentally-conscious president. All the other advances you and your administration have made thus far would be nullified by the grotesque effects of the tar sands.

Tar sands will make impede our progress to a sustainable on many levels. The Environmental Protection Agency estimates that the greenhouse emissions from the tar sands oil is almost twice that of the average crude refined here in the USA. The yearly emissions from the Keystone XL project would be “roughly equivalent to annual CO2 emissions of seven coal-fired plants.”

It’s not just that tar sands oil is dirty at the point of extraction. The Keystone project necessitates significant deforestation, with an enormous loss of carbon sequestration function from the destroyed forests. Pipelines are highly vulnerable; leaks can have devastating effects on local ecosystems.

Climatologist James Hansen has warned us in very direct terms that putting the tar sands’ carbon into the atmosphere would be an irreversible tipping point to a runaway greenhouse effect. President Obama, your legacy should not include pulling this trigger on the planet. Please stop the tar sands pipeline.

Yours Sincerely,

Warren Senders

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