Release: Cancellation of Keystone XL

The following is a press release issued by Climate Justice Saskatoon on 20 January, 2021.

Climate Justice Saskatoon welcomes President Biden’s cancellation of Keystone XL and calls for economic transition

Climate Justice Saskatoon (CJS) welcomes today’s announcement by US President Joe Biden cancelling the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, together with other important climate-responsible measures.

CJS organizer Justin Fisher says: “The Biden administration is helping Canada dodge a bullet. A global energy transition is already underway and all our efforts should focus on that transition and ensuring that no worker or community is left behind. There is far more stability in that transition than in expanding a resource without a future market.”

Government and industry should face the climate emergency by transitioning the Saskatchewan economy. Smart investors are already focusing on clean energy and renewables.  Instead of pipelines, steel workers could be building wind turbines.  Oil workers could be drilling deep geothermal wells and cleaning up orphaned and abandoned wells.  Electricians, mechanics, plumbers, and carpenters could be deployed on a massive programme of energy efficiency and renewable energy installation.  Nationally, many Indigenous communities are already generating local prosperity as leaders in the new green economy.

New pipelines are built to enable an increase of bitumen and crude oil production.  Increasing oil production contributes to the climate crisis.  Furthermore, Indigenous communities bear serious consequences from pipeline development, often including the violation of their rights.  The Treaty Alliance has for many years been a strong leader in the resistance against new pipeline development.

Gail Stevens, another organizer with CJS, says: “If we are to mitigate the climate crisis, we must work to reduce fossil fuel consumption.  Climate leaders recognize the climate crisis as such.  Climate leaders do not build new bitumen and crude production capacity.”

The federal government has taken a step towards addressing the climate crisis by setting a net-zero greenhouse gas emissions target for 2050 in Bill C-12.  Canada cannot achieve that target if new bitumen pipelines are built.  

In November, the Canada Energy Regulator issued its annual “Canada’s Energy Future” report.  It treats two scenarios in detail – neither of which comes close to achieve Canada’s 2050 net zero target.  Nevertheless, in their Evolving Energy System scenario, neither the Keystone XL pipeline nor the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion would ever be required to transport predicted levels of production for export.  Truly science-based imperatives in energy policy would further remove any justification for those pipelines. So far, Canada’s two most climate polluting sectors – oil and gas extraction, and transport – have been allowed to steadily increase emissions.  The facts are undeniable: we cannot continue to expand fossil energy resources and meet our net-zero target.  Cancelling the Keystone XL pipeline is the best decision for Saskatchewan, Alberta, and the world.  Though some may not recognize it now, in time all will acknowledge that Biden helped us on the path toward climate justice and an economy fit for the 21st century.

Image credit: shannonpatrick17 via Wikimedia Commons

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