TransCanada Starts Construction on Southern Keystone XL Pipeline Route
by Carol Geiger
TransCanada has begun construction of the southern Keystone XL in Oklahoma and Texas. While they tried to keep it quiet, the Tar Sands Blockade is there to greet them.
TransCanada is carelessly moving forward with construction and trying to keep it quiet. Important legal cases are still pending regarding their use of eminent domain, and they have failed to conduct environmental review of the southern Keystone XL pipeline route.
TransCanada plans to clear-cut countless acres of East Texas forest in order to pipe tar sands oil across rivers, streams and land that many landowners are claiming was seized via an abuse of eminent domain and contract fraud—all to export oil overseas.
TransCanada’s last pipeline spilled 12 times in its first 12 months of operation. During a summer of record heat, and an unprecedented drought, the last thing Texas needs is a tar sands pipeline that could ruin valuable water supplies with toxic oil spills.
In order to halt the onslaught of this international company’s plans to pillage their way across the landscape of the great state of Texas, we have learned that the Tar Sands Blockade, a grassroots-led campaign using non-violent civil disobedience, has initiated a plan to stop construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. They have organized landowners, environmentalists, tea partiers, occupiers and more to stop this disaster-in-the-making in imaginative ways.
Here's Tar Sands Blockage live blog post:
“TransCanada is putting families that wanted nothing to do with this pipeline in harm’s way,” said Ron Seifert, Tar Sands Blockade spokesperson. “Since our leaders and representatives will do nothing to protect our friends and neighbors, the Tar Sands Blockade is calling for people everywhere to join us and defend our local communities from a multinational bully.”
The message remains clear, people across the political spectrum, from Tea Partiers to environmentalists are uniting to TransCanada that while this project has started, we will not allow it to be finished.
“In the midst of record heat and drought, this just adds insult to injury,” says Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org. “More risk, more carbon, more heat—all the things farmers and ranchers don’t need.” This is a risk we can’t afford to take.
Planned events today include actions in Dallas and Houston, Texas, and Cushing, Oklahoma, in solidarity with landowners who say TransCanada has bullied and manipulated them through the use of eminent domain for private gain. Stay tuned for more breaking updates as this story unfolds.
“TransCanada lied to me from day one,” says Susan Scott, a local landowner in East Texas whose land was expropriated. “I worked 37 years for my farm, and TransCanada believes it is entitled to a piece of my home.”
Organizers with the Tar Sands Blockade are taking a stand, demonstrating their commitment to protect the public’s health, safety and constitutional rights, and to preserve the integrity of the environment that supports local communities across the region.
Plans to integrate the proposed southern segment the existing Keystone system would allow extractors in Canada to transfer a toxic tar sands slurry directly to the export market in the Gulf Coast. This expansion of the petrochemical industry will pad the pockets of Gulf Coast refineries–operating in a foreign trade zone to escape state and federal taxes–while endangering hundreds of communities between Cushing, OK and Port Arthur, TX.
The Blockade is proud to be a part of the burgeoning Summer of Solidarity direct actions against fossil fuel extraction across the nation. Residents defending against mountaintop removal coal strip-mining in West Virginia, hydraulic fracturing (fracking) in Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, as well as coal exportation from Montana are confronting abuse and contamination on the part of dirty energy industries operating in their communities.
Watch this video of a Texas Landowner halting TransCanada surveyors in their tracks:
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker vetoed a sweeping climate bill on Thursday that would have put the commonwealth on a path to eliminating carbon emissions by 2050.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
By Ajit Niranjan
World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must "urgently step up action," according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP).
Adaptation Has a Long Way to Go<p>The Adaptation Gap Report, now in its 5th year, finds "huge gaps" between what world leaders agreed to do under the 2015 <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/5-years-paris-climate-agreement/a-55901139" target="_blank">Paris Agreement</a> and what they need to do to keep their citizens safe from climate change.</p><p>A review by the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative of almost 1,700 examples of climate adaptation found that a third were in the early stages of implementation — and only 3% had reached the point of reducing risks.</p><p>Disasters like storms and droughts have grown stronger than they should be because people have warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests. The world has heated by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and is on track to warm by about 3°C by the end of the century.</p><p>If world leaders <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-change-performance-index-how-far-have-we-come/a-55846406" target="_blank">deliver on recent pledges</a> to bring emissions to <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/joe-bidens-climate-pledges-are-they-realistic/a-56173821" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">net-zero</a> by the middle of the century, they could almost limit warming to 2°C. The target of the Paris Agreement, however, is to reach a target well below that — ideally 1.5°C. </p><p>There are two ways, scientists say, to lessen the pain that warming will bring: mitigating climate change by cutting carbon pollution and adapting to the hotter, less stable world it brings.</p>
The Cost of Climate Adaptation<p>About three-quarters of the world's countries have national plans to adapt to climate change, according to the report, but most lack the regulations, incentives and funding to make them work.</p><p>More than a decade ago, rich countries most responsible for climate change pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poorer countries. UNEP says it is "impossible to answer" whether that goal has been met, while an OECD study published in November found that between 2013 and 2018, the target sum had not once been achieved. Even in 2018, which recorded the highest level of contributions, rich countries were still $20 billion short.</p><p>The yearly adaptation costs for developing countries alone are estimated at $70 billion. This figure is expected to at least double by the end of the decade as temperatures rise, and will hit $280-500 billion by 2050, according to the report.</p><p>But failing to adapt is even more expensive.</p><p>When powerful storms like cyclones Fani and Bulbul struck South Asia, early-warning systems allowed governments to move millions of people out of danger at short notice. Storms of similar strength that have hit East Africa, like <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/zimbabwe-after-cyclone-idai-building-climate-friendly-practices/a-54251885" target="_blank">cyclones Idai</a> and Kenneth, have proved more deadly because fewer people were evacuated before disaster struck.</p><p>The Global Commission on Adaptation estimated in 2019 that a $1.8 trillion investment in early warning systems, buildings, agriculture, mangroves and water resources could reap $7.1 trillion in benefits from economic activity and avoided costs when disasters strike.</p>
Exploring Nature-Based Solutions<p>The report also highlights how restoring nature can protect people from climate change while benefiting local communities and ecology.</p><p><a href="https://www.dw.com/en/climate-fires-risk-climate-change-bushfires-australia-california-extreme-weather-firefighters/a-54817927" target="_blank">Wildfires</a>, for instance, could be made less punishing by restoring grasslands and regularly burning the land in controlled settings. Indigenous communities from Australia to Canada have done this for millennia in a way that encourages plant growth while reducing the risk of uncontrolled wildfires. Reforestation, meanwhile, can stop soil erosion and flooding during heavy rainfall while trapping carbon and protecting wildlife.</p><p>In countries like Brazil and Malaysia, governments could better protect coastal homes from floods and storms by restoring <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/mudflats-mangroves-and-marshes-the-great-coastal-protectors/a-50628747" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">mangroves</a> — tangled trees that grow in tropical swamps. As well as anchoring sediments and absorbing the crash of waves, mangroves can store carbon, help fish populations grow and boost local economies through tourism. </p><p>While nature-based solutions are often cheaper than building hard infrastructure, their funding makes up a "tiny fraction" of adaptation finance, the report authors wrote. An analysis of four global climate funds that spent $94 billion on adaptation projects found that just $12 billion went to nature-based solutions and little of this was spent implementing projects on the ground.</p><p>But little is known about their long-term effectiveness. At higher temperatures, the effects of climate change may be so great that they overwhelm natural defenses like mangroves.</p><p>By 2050, <a href="https://www.dw.com/en/rising-sea-levels-should-we-let-the-ocean-in-a-50704953/a-50704953" target="_blank">coastal floods</a> that used to hit once a century will strike many cities every year, according to a 2019 report on oceans by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the gold standard on climate science. This could force dense cities on low-lying coasts to build higher sea walls, like in Indonesia and South Korea, or evacuate entire communities from sinking islands, like in Fiji.</p><p>It's not a case of replacing infrastructure, said Matthias Garschagen, a geographer at Ludwig Maximilian University in Germany and IPCC author, who was not involved in the UNEP report. "The case for nature-based solutions is often misinterpreted as a battle... but they're part of a toolkit that we've ignored for too long."</p>
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