Scientists, economists urge Obama to reject Keystone XL

More than 100 scientists and economists sent a letter to President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry Monday urging them to block the Keystone XL pipeline project, saying it would worsen climate change.

“We must address climate change by de-carbonizing our energy supply,” the writers said. “A critical first step is to stop making climate change worse by tapping into disproportionately carbon-intensive energy sources like tar sands bitumen. The Keystone XL pipeline will drive expansion of the energy-intensive strip-mining and drilling of tar sands from under Canada’s Boreal forest, increasing global carbon emissions.”

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The Natural Resources Defense Council, which released the letter, said fuels that come from tar sands, which Keystone XL is meant to serve, cause 17 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than other fuels.

Over its 50-year expected lifetime, the pipeline would produce the equivalent of 8.4 billion metric tons of carbon dioxide. “These are emissions that can and should be avoided with a transition to clean energy,” the scientists and economists said.

Obama has said he will decide whether to grant a permit for the Keystone XL project in the coming months, taking into account a determination by Kerry about whether or not it is in the country’s interest.