Coming on the heels of Superstorm Sandy, President Obama finally acknowledged The Climate Elephant in the Room on election night, saying to the nation: “We want our children to live in an America… that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet.”
The president will soon have a chance to show his climate mettle by denying TransCanada a permit to build the northern leg of its Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. But this is not Obama’s Keystone test.
If Barack Obama truly means what he says about protecting our children from climate destruction, he will put an immediate halt to the construction of the southern leg of Keystone XL already underway in Texas. The President knows full well that if he fails to intercede in TransCanada’s brutal assault on East Texas, Keystone XL will open the floodgates to tar sands exploitation in Canada, igniting what Bill McKibben has called a “fuse to the biggest carbon bomb on the planet.”
The burden is now on the President to prove his “all of the above” energy policy does not include enabling the assault of U.S. citizens and the fraudulent seizure of private property. Will he muster the political courage to stand up to TransCanada’s corporate thuggery and defend America from this imminent economic, public health and national security threat? Not without the American people demanding it, but that is how democracy works.
This makes Obama’s Keystone test all of our test, and it is being administered right now in the Piney Woods of East Texas: pass or fail.