Joe Biden: The XL Keystone Cop

Joe Biden’s been in office only a few days but already he’s picked a fight with his nearest neighbour. The XL pipeline, designed to carry oil from the Alberta Tar Sands to Oklahoma and beyond, has been a bone of contention for years.

In March 2012, then US President Barack Obama  gave the go-ahead for the southern section of the pipeline from Cushing, Oklahoma, saying, “Today, I’m directing my administration to cut through the red tape, break through the bureaucratic hurdles, and make this project a priority, to go ahead and get it done.”

Three years later, in February 2015, he changed his mind and vetoed a bill for further construction of the pipeline.

Two years later, Donald Trump reversed that veto and the pipeline was suddenly on again.

On his first day in the White House, newly-elected President, Joe Biden, signed an order revoking the permit and all construction within the USA was terminated.

There can be little doubt among responsible people that Biden’s decision was the right one. In these times of climate emergency, and the urgency to reduce and eventually eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, any potential to increase those emissions has to be prohibitive.

Two thirds of the world’s population now believe there is a global climate emergency.  The Guardian reports today:

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) questioned 1.2 million people in 50 countries, many of them young.

While younger people showed the greatest concern, with 69% of those aged 14-18 saying there is a climate emergency, 58% of those over 60 agreed, suggesting there is not a huge generational divide.

Even when climate action required significant changes in their own country, majorities still backed the measures.

In nations where fossil fuels are a major source of emissions, people strongly supported renewable energy, including the US (65% in favour), Australia (76%) and Russia (51%).

This report gives a clear mandate to governments everywhere to get on with the job of reversing climate change by eliminating greenhouse emissions and returning this planet to the green and pleasant land it was before human greed decimated its natural bounty.

Jason Kenney, the Premier of Alberta, doesn’t agree. He wouldn’t, would he? The Canadian province of Alberta has long been happy to rip apart the landscape, decimate the environment, and destroy native American lands in its quest to make money.

Jason Kennedy called Joe Biden’s axing of the pipeline, “a gut punch.” He’s demanding Canadian  Prime Minister Justin Trudeau take action against the US by imposing economic sanctions. The problem for Jason Kennedy is that he’s put all Alberta’s eggs in one basket. Who would know how much he has personally invested in the pipeline?

With the end of his new pipeline blocked at the US border Albertans are going to be rightly unhappy when their jobs are no longer there and no other industry to replace them.

Should we feel sorry for Jason Kennedy? The time may well not be far off when people like him, who continue to deny the climate crisis solely in pursuit of their own self-interest, become the new traitors, outcasts in a world where pure self-interest, without thought for the welfare of others or the wellbeing of the planet, becomes unacceptable, or even criminal.

Bring it on!