Re: “Crowd Protests Against Pipeline,” the June 5 News-Press article.
How unfortunate that Andy Caldwell insists on clinging to the predictable, tiresome oil industry responses to calls for climate action. The handwriting is on the wall: The fossil fuel era is coming to an end. Oil companies are grasping at straws to protect their profits. Even such conservative institutions as the International Energy Agency are now calling for a halt to new fossil fuel development.
The IEA, formed in 1974 to provide a steady supply of oil to the industrialized world, recently released a special report in collaboration with the International Monetary Fund stating unequivocally that, to keep global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius, we must reach net zero emissions by 2050. The IEA pathway to NZE calls for an all-hands-on-deck approach from every level of government AND an end to new fossil fuel development.
Other experts urge a focus on critical targets for emissions reductions by 2030. It is clear that taking the necessary steps to address climate change will help grow the economy and create good jobs, despite the pathetic oil industry claims to the contrary. Are our elected officials listening?
The fact is that there are sufficient oil and gas reserves in existing production to give asset managers heartburn about “stranded assets,” i.e., fossil fuels that cannot be burned without destroying the planet. We can’t have a healthy economy without a healthy planet. Are the pension funds listening?
Across the globe, from a Dutch courtroom, where a judge ordered Shell Oil to reduce its emissions, to the boardrooms of New York, where Exxon and Chevron shareholders called for their companies to take climate change seriously, news reports indicate a deepening recognition that the climate crisis is an existential threat to both the planet and the economy.
Mr. Caldwell’s feigned concern that ending pipeline expansion will harm poor people is disingenuous at best. There is increasing awareness of the harm perpetrated on our most vulnerable populations by the oil industry over the past century. From refineries in Richmond to cancer alley in Louisiana, emissions and spills have poisoned the air and soil in BIPOC communities across our country and abroad.
Sorry, Mr. Caldwell, we don’t need new pipelines. We don’t need more wells or fracking or tar sands projects.
If our grandchildren are to have a habitable planet, we need all our institutions, public and private, to mobilize as never before to swiftly reduce emissions and usher in the era of climate justice and renewable energy.
Society of Fearless Grandmothers-Santa Barbara