BILL MOYERS: Welcome. In our last broadcast I promised you more of David Simon, and I’ll keep that promise down the road, but right now, because of the news, my guest is a journalist turned activist who is often asked, how can you remain so optimistic and so energized when you’ve taken on nothing less than the threat of global catastrophe? It’s a question he’s even heard from me, and more than once, because I’ve known him for years now as both colleague and friend. After all this time, Bill McKibben’s stamina and soulfulness continue to amaze me.

We met over a decade ago on a canoe trip together for the making of my series America’s First River, about the history of the Hudson and the struggle to save it from industrial pollution.

BILL MCKIBBEN: in America’s First River: In the fall, and the winter, and the spring, it’s pretty lonely, beautiful place.

BILL MOYERS: I had read his classic work on our environmental crisis, he called it The End of Nature, a prophetic summons for a profound philosophical shift in order to save the earth from suicide. It established McKibben at the forefront of efforts to cope with the potential cataclysm of climate change.

I asked him to join the board of the Schumann foundation -- I was the president of it -- which promoted environmental and independent journalism. But as he continued to publish books and articles he grew impatient with the pace of public awareness and change. So in the tradition of muckrakers of old, he resigned from the board to combine his writing with activism. With the foundation’s support he became the Schumann distinguished professor in residence at Middlebury College in Vermont. Soon after, he founded the grassroots climate campaign,

STEPHEN COLBERT in The Colbert Report: And my guest, BILL MCKIBBEN:--

BILL MOYERS: You’ve probably seen him in the news since then. Maybe at one of the 15,000 rallies the group has coordinated in 189 countries, or on a nationwide bus tour to campuses across America, or in this demonstration last year when McKibben and others were arrested after chaining themselves to the White House fence to protest of the Keystone XL pipeline.

That pipeline would carry vast amounts of tar sands oil, over 800,000 barrels every day, from Canada down through the American heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast, which opponents say would release dangerous amounts of carbon into the atmosphere and accelerate the warming of the earth.

Last week the State Department released a review of the pipeline’s impact that both opponents and supporters say helps their side. And that brought BILL MCKIBBEN: to New York City for yet another rally calling on the Obama administration to say no to the pipeline once and for all.

BILL MCKIBBEN: We need people like Barack Obama to start standing up finally.

BILL MOYERS: BILL MCKIBBEN: joins me now, welcome.

BILL MCKIBBEN: Good to be with you.

BILL MOYERS: So what does it mean that the State Department said last week that there’s no evidence that there’ll be an environmental impact from the pipeline. And the White House has said indirectly that, well, the oil will get out one way or the other with or without this pipeline?

BILL MCKIBBEN: The White House and the State Department especially I think would like to approve it because big oil really wants it. They've spent hundreds of millions of dollars. But their story is unraveling. The idea that it would make no difference is crazy. It's a pipeline that would carry 800,000 barrels of oil. In the last two weeks, the head of TransCanada itself has said, if we can't build this pipeline, then the expansion of the tar sands is called into question.

Yeah, they'll be able to get some oil out of there, but they've only gotten 3 percent out so far. This is one of these places where we can put the brakes on if we act now. If we did that, then there's a chance that these international negotiations that ran aground at Copenhagen in 2009 might be able to be resuscitated. That we might be able to get back on some kind of track. But somebody's got to take the first step.

Barack Obama ran for president in 2008 saying, in my administration, the rise of the oceans will begin to slow. He said it's time to end the tyranny of the oil industry. A lot of people believed him when he said those things. And now they're going to find out whether or not they were right to believe or not.

BILL MOYERS: You've said on other occasions that one of your objectives was to try to help the president do the right thing. And that's why you were arrested and others were arrested. Do you have any indication from, sources in the White House, friends of yours in the movement that he’s heard you?

BILL MCKIBBEN: I'm the last person to ask for inside information in the White House, I fear. I don't think I've been there since the tour in sixth grade. I was arrested locked to the gate outside, but that doesn't give me any inside information. What we've been able to do is build a movement, okay, from the outside. It started with indigenous people in Canada and the U.S.

Groups like the Indigenous Environmental Network. It expanded to include ranchers and farmers along the pipeline route. Groups like the Bold Nebraska. And then it grew to include this climate community, people all over the country who understand and are scared about rapid effects of climate change that we can talk about.

They came together for the largest civil disobedience action in 30 years in this country about anything. And that was enough at least to make Keystone an issue. Without it, it would long since have been built without any peep from the Obama administration.

BILL MOYERS: There’s a marvelous story in Maclean’s magazine about a Republican rancher in Nebraska who actually triggered the first opposition because he was concerned about his water.

BILL MCKIBBEN: Concerned about his land that this, you know, pipeline was going to cross. And it crosses the Ogallala Aquifer. It's interesting. Many of those ranchers and farmers didn't care at all about climate change three or four years ago. But now when I go out to Nebraska, they say, you know, now we understand a good deal more. We watched our drought, record drought in 2012 across the Midwest.

It made, you know, difficult to grow food in the richest farmland on the planet. And we understand now why that's happening. So this is how movements grow. The only question is whether it can grow quickly enough. We're up against a time-limited problem with climate change. If we don't solve it soon, we will not solve it. So far, we've raised the temperature of the Earth 1 degree Celsius.

That's been enough to melt the Arctic, it's been enough to trigger crazy weather already, that drought across the Midwest, now a drought that's gone to California where there's no rain at all. The scientists said that this may be the deepest drought since 1500’s anyway in California. And in the 1500’s, there weren't 38 million people living in California. The news came that 2013 was the 37th straight year above-average temperatures.

That means that if you're below the age of 38, you've never seen a year that's cooler than average. You've never seen a year like the world that we grew up in, you and I, and like the world that all human beings grew up in, in the 10,000 years of the Holocene. We've moved out of that now. And the question is, how far out of it we're going to move.

We raised the temperature one degree. That's made, well, it’s made the oceans 30 percent more acidic. But the same scientists who told us that would happen tell us that we're going to raise it four or five degrees before the century is out if we keep on our current trajectory.

BILL MOYERS: So when you and Sue came to town Monday and the weather was chilled and the snow was falling and the ice was forming, you didn't think nature was taunting your predictions--


BILL MOYERS: --about global warming?

BILL MCKIBBEN: No, at this point, I appreciate so much whenever we have a snowstorm or a winter because I know not to take it for granted. And I know that at the same time that it was cold down in the middle of the United States, they were seeing absolute record warmth breaking every record up in Alaska.

We know that California's in record drought and we know in the U.K., they just came through the wettest month they've ever recorded with flooding so bad that it's causing every kind of problem. All around the world we see this climate chaos taking hold. And as I say, that's in the early stages of this fight, of this change. That's why we've got to get a hold of it now. If we do, it's not that we can stop global warming. It's already warmed 1 degree and it's going to warm some more. But maybe we can keep it from getting entirely out of control.

BILL MOYERS: You're up against time as a factor, but you're also up against an enormous financial and political colossus. I mean, I have read that if we stored, if we listened to the scientists and stored 80 percent of the carbon in the ground, we would have to write off assets worth 20 trillion dollars.

BILL MCKIBBEN: Certainly companies would be hurt. But you know, the future on the other side of fossil fuel for normal people is bright. Once you've got a solar panel on your house, what do you know, your electricity comes for free. I mean, nobody can meter the sun. That's what's so scary to the Exxons of the world.

They've got a great deal now. They've got, well, they're the richest companies on Earth. Exxon made more money each of the last four years than any company in the history of money, you know? And it's because they do not have to pay for the damage that their carbon does in the atmosphere.

They, unlike any other company, get to throw out their waste for free, you know? If they didn't, if they had to account for it any way, we'd already have moved to sun and wind. And the things that everybody knows are the energy sources of the future, the only question is, will we let Exxon and Chevron and Peabody Coal keep making those record profits for the five or ten more years that would break the back of the planet's climate system?

BILL MOYERS: Let's face it, the way we finance fossil fuel is the heart and soul of much of our political system. You don't have a lot of support in the political world.

BILL MCKIBBEN: This is the richest industry on Earth. That means it's the most politically powerful industry. That's why the U.S. has stood aside, Barack Obama who theoretically is a good environmentalist, stood aside and, in fact, opened up the Arctic to drilling. Opened up huge swaths of offshore America to more oil drilling.

Opened up the Powder River Basin for more coal mining. You know, this is, these are tough guys to cross. The American Petroleum Institute told the president two years ago, you do what we say on Keystone or there'll be political trouble. We'll find out how scared he was.

BILL MOYERS: You said a moment ago that theoretically, Obama cast himself as an environmentalist, and certainly during the 2008 and the 2012 campaign, he was right out front his pronouncements. But then he made a speech during the 2012 campaign, in Oklahoma, where the pipeline connects with the southern leg of that line and runs all the way out of the Gulf Coast. Listen to this excerpt from the speech President Obama gave in 2012.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years. Over the, that's important to know. Over the last three years, I've directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states. We're opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore. We've quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high. We've added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some.

BILL MOYERS: If that's not drill baby, drill, what is it?

BILL MCKIBBEN: That was a shameful speech. And it came with shameful action. The president said, well, we'll delay and study some more of this northern leg of the Keystone pipeline, but I'm instructing my administration to expedite approval for this southern leg, from Oklahoma down to Texas. We'll get the permits in record time. And indeed, they have. As of last month, there was oil flowing through that southern leg of that pipeline.

That's why people don't trust him on this issue. He's done some good things, but his record is mixed at best. And he will be remembered at the moment, as the president who produced more carbon than anybody thought possible, unless he begins to act now with real power.

BILL MOYERS: Do you concede that the White House may have a legitimate different view from you on this? They say the real villain in global warming is carbon emissions from coal-fired plants. And that the E.P.A., the Environmental Protection Agency, is already closing down these polluters, closing them down. The pipeline, they say, is not as important--


BILL MOYERS: --as McKibben says.

BILL MCKIBBEN: This is an important, coal-fired power plants are very important. And the environmental movement, including has worked very hard. The reason that the Obama administration has put forward these regulations on coal in the last year is because the environmental movement did a wonderful job, led by the Sierra Club, of taking 100, plans for 150 coal-fired power plants and fighting every single one of them. And most of them will never be built.

And it's good that the Obama administration is pounding the nails now into the coffin that the environmental movement prepared. That's good. But that doesn't mean that we don't have to work on oil and natural gas and everything else. We need to get off fossil fuel. And we need to do it with lightning speed. And there's no sign of that. Just the opposite. In fact, even with coal, the Obama administration is burning less in this country, but U.S. coal exports have hit all-time highs.

BILL MOYERS: Knowing that you read Rolling Stone where you wrote your article 18 months ago that went viral, here's the latest by Tim Dickinson, How the U.S. Exports Global Warming, "The greening of American energy is both real and profound.” But, “Even as our nation is pivoting toward a more sustainable energy future, America's oil and coal corporations are racing to position the country as the planet's dirty-energy dealer, supplying the developing world with cut-rate, high-polluting, climate-damaging fuels. Much like [the] tobacco companies did in the 1990s," when they couldn't go any further in this country.

BILL MCKIBBEN: And in this case, there's no question about second-hand smoke. Carbon dioxide, wherever you emit it, Beijing or Boston, has exactly the same effect on the planet's temperature. So shipping this stuff overseas is exactly the same as burning it here at home. We're doing the same thing with natural gas. They're trying to build L.N.G. export facilities along the--


BILL MCKIBBEN: Liquefied natural gas. Along the Pacific Coast, people are doing a magnificent job of fighting these proposals for coal ports. But so far, the Obama administration’s been no help in trying to head off those developments. They've given into the fossil fuel industry by and large. And as a result, America is digging up more carbon than it's ever dug up before.

BILL MOYERS: What do you see as the consequence of the positions and the actions and the decisions he has already made?

BILL MCKIBBEN: He's laid the infrastructure to keep the fossil fuel boom going for another 40 or 50 years. The crucial 40 or 50 years as far as physics and chemistry are concerned. If we keep building out coal and oil and gas the way that the Obama administration has so far encouraged, then his good efforts around coal-fired power plants and automobile mileage won't mean anything in the long run. He wants to have it both ways, mostly the fossil fuel way. And we need him to actually stand up for to the environment.

BILL MOYERS: You mentioned Copenhagen, the Conference of nations that came together to try to come up with an agenda to confront global warming. You saw the report about the National Security Agency--


BILL MOYERS: --it turns out, thanks to Edward Snowden that the N.S.A. was bugging--


BILL MOYERS: --everyone.

BILL MCKIBBEN: No, look, this was the great foreign policy failure of the first Obama administration. When the Copenhagen Summit collapsed, the headlines and newspapers in Europe next day were calling it the Munich of our time and, you know, just the greatest diplomatic failure ever.

At the time we didn't really understand just how crummy the whole thing was. It was when Snowden revealed that the State Department had, or the N.S.A. had bugged everybody there and was giving their work product, as they call it, to the State Department. Then we started to understand as the Danes said, the Danes were hosting the meeting.

And on behalf of the E.U. they put forward at the last minute a rescue plan for this conference designed to bring people together around in agreement. And the Danes said, it was as if the Americans new beforehand what we were going to propose and just sat back and did nothing.

BILL MOYERS: So how would they have used it? To create a blueprint for the U.S.'s own agenda there? For how it would react to these proposals--

BILL MCKIBBEN: Sure, we didn't want to have any kind of binding agreements there. The Obama administration had decided that it was going to work on healthcare, not on climate change. And it was downplaying international action. There's a long history of the U.S. stalling the international efforts. I mean, we never signed the Kyoto Treaty, you know, time and time again.

And this was one more of them. And the fact that we went ahead and bugged everybody there, I mean, it's pretty much a demonstration that these were not, you got to have, if you're going to negotiate something this hard for everyone, you’ve got to do it in good faith. Think about the Indians or the Chinese coming there. They use far less energy per capita than we do, you know?

For them, dealing with climate change is much harder than it is for us, because they have to figure out how they're going pull people outta dire poverty without it. Now, they can do it, and they're starting to. The Chinese put in more solar power last year than any country any time in any year, okay? But you know, this is hard for them. We weren't even willing to play fair.

BILL MOYERS: Why are you now urging students and meeting students and organizing students to ask their universities and colleges to disinvest in the stocks they own?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Because we're tired of only playing defense against the fossil fuel industry. It's important to stop pipelines and coal export facilities and all those things. But it's like the little Dutch boy trying to stick his, we’re running out of fingers and there are too many holes, okay? We also need to play offense. And divestment is a powerful way to do that. It's worked one time, really in a big sense. And that was around South Africa 25 years ago when lots of colleges and cities and churches and foundations sold their shares in companies doing business with the apartheid regime.

When Nelson Mandela got out of prison, one of the first places he came was California to thank students in the UC system who forced the sale of about $3 billion worth of apartheid-tainted stock. Well, it was Mandela's great accomplice, Desmond Tutu, who helped launch this new divestment effort. He said in this great video, he said, if you could see what climate change is doing to Africa, the famine, the drought, you’d know why we'd ask you to pick up this tool again.

Africa is suffering unbelievable damage. Africa burns less than one percent of the planet's fossil fuel. Even if they turned off every engine and every light bulb and every other thing in Africa, it wouldn't make any difference. We need to take responsibility. And the people at institutions like universities, they need to provide some leadership. Those are the places where we've learned about, you know, the danger that we're in.

BILL MOYERS: You're up against a wall of apathy, hostile opposition, money, power, and time, as you say.

BILL MCKIBBEN: I find as I travel around, that most people understand that we're in a serious fix. Eighty percent of American counties have had some kind of climate disaster in the last two or three years.

Two years ago, the New York City subway system filled with salt system, you know? Sandy was the lowest barometric pressure ever recorded north of Cape Hatteras. How many warnings do we want?

The world is changing. Things are possible now that weren't before because we're changing the climate.

I mean, it feels like God's doing his level best to tell us the fix that we're in, one crazy episode of weather after another. These are the alarms from a system that's beginning to swing out of control. We're supposed to be Homo sapiens. Intelligence is supposed to be our mark. We've been given the warning by our scientists who have done a terrific job at reaching consensus on a different problem in physics and chemistry. They've told us that we're in deep trouble. They've told us what we need to do, get off fossil fuel. The question now is whether we're actually going to respond to that.

And it's like a sort of, well, it's like a kind of final exam for the question, was the big brain a good adaptation or not, you know? We're going find out in short order. And each of these things that comes up like the Keystone pipeline is a kind of pop quiz along the way. And so far we're failing more of them than we're passing.

BILL MOYERS: Should more people get arrested?

BILL MCKIBBEN: Civil disobedience is one tool in the activist toolbox. You don't want to use it all the time because like any tool, it gets dull. But there are moments when you have to underline the moral urgency of the problem that we're in. The wonderful thing here is no one needs me to tell them. This isn't the kind of movement that we used to have where we had a great leader at the center of things or whatever.

The movement we're trying to build looks more like we want the energy system to look like. Millions of solar panels on millions of roofs, all interconnected and tied together in the same way. That's what this political, this kind of fossil fuel resistance spread out around the world, almost as sprawling as the fossil fuel industry itself.

And for many, many sides and in many, many ways, through money, through political pressure, through sometimes civil disobedience. We've got to come at these guys. And people are figuring that out. Not because I'm telling them what to do, because it becomes clearer all the time as people get engaged.

BILL MOYERS: BILL MCKIBBEN:, thank you for joining me.

BILL MCKIBBEN: What a pleasure.

BILL MOYERS: At our website, there’s much more on climate change and the Keystone pipeline debate. There’s a public comment period going on right now -- it’s important that you tell the government what you think about the pipeline before President Obama makes his final decision. We’ll show you how.

That’s all at I’ll see you there and I’ll see you here, next time.

Bill McKibben to Obama: Say No to Big Oil

February 7, 2014

After the State Department issued a long-awaited environmental impact statement on the controversial Keystone XL pipeline last week, environmentalists and those opposed to the 1,179-mile pipeline have intensified their push for the Obama administration to reject the project.

This week, Bill Moyers talks with Bill McKibben, an activist who has dedicated his life to saving the planet from environmental collapse, about his hopes that Americans will collectively pressure Obama to stand up to big oil.

“Most people understand that we’re in a serious fix,” McKibben tells Moyers, “There’s nothing you can do as individuals that will really slow down this juggernaut … You can say the same thing about the challenges faced by people in the civil rights or the abolition movement, or the gay rights movement or the women’s movement. In each case, a movement arose; if we can build a movement, then we have a chance.”

Producer: Candace White. Segment Producer: Robert Booth. Interview Editor: Rob Kuhns. Intro Editor: Sikay Tang.

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  • Anonymous

    The Keystone pipeline should be cancelled, because a tar sands spill into the Ogallala Aquifer will destroy the drinking water for millions.

  • Joan Harris

    There is one more entity that may trump all the others when all is said and done. NAFTA may have the final decision; not the President.

  • Anonymous

    Stop research Tarsands and research Oilsands… I work here and we do a great job! Environmental, ethical, responsible. Exclusive Man Made Climate Change is not a fact… the weather is always changes!
    the fearmongering must stop… we need to be responsible, not stupid!

  • Anonymous

    we provide you with 3 million barrels a day already, we just want to send it in a brand new pipeline! It is NOT new pipelines that are your problem, it will be reliance on old failure pipelines that will hurt your country…. as we wait for something better to move us and make our lives… so far renewable energy is NOT going to cut it.

  • Jim S.

    While the decision on building the Keystone pipeline is pointed directly
    at the Executive Administration, especially now giving weight to the State Department recent report,
    and as usual everyone reading interprets the report with their own
    blinders on, into the mix, it would be very interesting to find out
    exactly how many citizens are contacting their direct representatives,
    their congressional hirelings House and Senate, and especially in the
    States the pipeline will pass through, in the opposition. Putting the
    pressure on the Congressional members, with the proof and reality of
    needed, who ultimately make the policies decisions and can and should
    work with the Executive administration and decisions made!

    The Keystone Pipeline Project will Not add tens of thousands of jobs,
    building it nor refining or shipping/transportation needs. The refining
    and shipping/transportation capacity is already in place, if added need
    that will be minimal, and so are those jobs. Building will create jobs
    only in the hundreds and those will be mostly short term as it goes
    through each state, only a few will continue to be employed during the
    whole project or lengths of, most will be temporary for shorter lengths.
    Not even manufacturing needs for will boost job growth. Alternatives
    like solar and add in wind, hydro including tide technologies, etc.,
    will create, and already would have, tens of thousands of jobs including
    in manufacturing. And add in the innovative engineering to advance
    those as well as developing a new grid system, especially smart grids,
    to eliminate huge outages in storms and more and thousands of more jobs
    are created. Oil and Coal workers would easily bring their experiences,
    hard work ethics, skills and knowledge in the trades, along with the
    many construction trades professionals, into the alternative clean
    energy industry, which in most cases would be safer jobs as well.

  • Jim S.

    The representatives of the people, in the special interests pockets and representing them instead, want everyone focused on laying blame away from them. That’s on All issues like this!!

  • Anonymous

    Besides the climate effects, potential water pollution, etc., no one seems to talk about decimating 34 million acres of Canadian land. This is a huge cost that we don’t pay “up front”. The oil companies claim that alternative energy is “subsidized”, but the indirect subsidies given to the carbon industry are gigantic, in comparison.

  • Anonymous

    NAFTA gives politicians cover, so their fingerprints aren’t all over decisions that favor controversial decisions.

  • Anonymous

    This discussion is simpleminded. The USA is the top3 producer of CO2… Why? Because you have over 1000 coal fired power generators that produce 40 times more CO2 than the entire oilsands industry, you mountaintop mine coal, all destructive and hypocritical you complain about 15% as you emit 4000% more charging you electric vehicle! We are innovative, we reclaim the land, we have new processes that reclaim tailings ponds, we recycle water, we are stewarding wildlife, we employ many Americans and a majority of the companies here are American! I can see the pyramids from space! So what? Mines are reclaimed and reforested, if you think you are getting a better deal from Middle East or Nigeria or Venezuela then shame on you! Our regulations and reporting is bylaw, whereas they have none. Pipelines are the safest way to trans

  • Joseph A. Mungai

    Our tax dollars, in the form of subsidies, go to big oil and Obama just signed a bill to cut food stamps. There’s a war on the poor and our planet.

  • Carolyn

    Thank you, Bill. . .I miss the hour format but I understand. I would rather have your presence for 30 minutes than not at all.

  • Steve Woodward

    There is, and it’s coming, as Bill pointed out in his introduction.

  • Steve Woodward

    Every dollar this foundation gives Moyers and Company is a dollar not invested in these fossil folks. Besides, what’s Bill supposed to do, go off the air until all these foundations divest?
    I, for one, would prefer that he stay on the air, giving voice to people like Bill McKibbon and Vandana Shiva. This kind of journalism is such a rarity these days.
    Perhaps you should write the foundation itself, and while applauding their support for this show, encourage them to clean up their portfolio.

  • Steve Woodward

    So the only choices we have are coal, tarsands oil, or middle east wars? Let’s not forget solar, wind, conservation, better planning and infrastructure.
    We could eliminate fossil fuel use in ten years if we had to, or if we decided we wanted to.

  • Steve Woodward

    Those of us who are adult enough to wrap our heads around the real impacts of climate change don’t want your damned oil. We want solar panels on all of our roofs powering our electric cars and modern public transport. We want well-insulated homes and cities and towns where we can walk or bicycle to work, and to the store,and to breathe clean air and drink clean water (and beer).

  • Steve Woodward

    Yeah, right, there is no man-made climate change. I, along with at least 95% of all the climate scientists on the planet, beg to differ. Wake up and smell the coffee (Oh, that’s not coffee, that’s the smell of a planet being fried by greed and ignorance.)

  • Anonymous

    did you see the video? Coal has already been opposed and continues to. Bill Mckibben criticized the exporting of coal by US and appreciated the protests on this in the pacific. The tar sands and many other sources of high carbon need to be kept in the ground. We need to stop fighting like children for the fossil fuel candy, we need to reduce our extravagant consumption of fossil energy and move to low carbon living arrangements.

    The companies who are extracting fossil fuels can start to direct their investments into low carbon future, but they don’t want to because they are not moral in character, they are merely corporations trying to make a short term profit. The corporation itself will not “suffer” like a human being as the effects of climate change unfold more vigorously, but real human beings will and those who are on the wrong side will suffer even more, they will suffer spiritually because of supporting the wrongdoing. So all employees working for these corporations need to start looking for alternative paths to save themselves.

  • Anonymous

    most people who own electric cars charge them using solar and wind power. The important thing is we need to reduce our consumption of energy by building and living in more walkable/bikable communities and using public transit.

  • Anonymous

    glad you can support your family, and hope none of them get cancer from the waste products of refining.

  • Alexander Smart

    Bill, With all respect, the only energy choice, which will save the day, is the energy associated with extra terrestrials, anti-gravity and zero point source! Forget the rest. too little too late!

  • Anonymous

    coal production is down 25% since 2007 thanks to our efforts and solar is up 600% since 2007 thanks to our efforts. and we are trying to prevent the folly of ever deeper sea drilling and arctic drilling. we can work on all manifestations of the carbon hydra at the same time. you just think it’s all about you.

  • Steve Woodward

    Oh, for God’s sake, child: No one is coming to save us. We have all the energy we could ever need, shining on us every day, if we would but use it wisely and justly.

  • Steve Woodward

    Just think how many jobs would be created by an all-out effort to get off fossil fuels, Jobs that wouldn’t disrupt the climate, or kill the Gulf, or poison the air and water.

  • Steve Woodward

    You’re absolutely right. And if we continue recklessly burning fossil fuels at the present increasing rate, we’ll expect more frequent and more powerful tornados.

  • Steve Woodward

    You’re right.
    The $40 billion or so we give every year to the most profitable corporations in the history of the planet would go a long way toward jumpstarting a clean energy revolution. Instead of a war on the poor, we could eliminate poverty. Instead of a war on the planet we could behave like her reverent guests, and hand over stewardship of a cleaner, healthier world to our children

  • Anonymous

    I’ve got an idea. Let’s build a pipeline for corrosive and abrasive sludge across the heart of an aquifer the size of the Great Lakes, where the soil is highly absorptive sand and the water is really close to the surface. Then, like we do with all pipelines, let’s forget about entropy and ignore maintenance. Let’s see what happens. Bet it’ll be fun.

  • Cvprimerica

    Obama will show his real colors. If he is forced by those big oil corporations, at least it should be denounced.

  • Cvprimerica

    Anyone should be able to understand that jobs on solar energy are better than jobs on pipelines. Besides, solar energy will no create the end of our civilization as we know it.

  • Billiard

    Such a shame…Obama is a hypocrite. It seems our political leaders of the USA are nothing more than weak minded individuals.

  • Billiard

    What a simple mind this person has…and obviously watches far to much TV. Perhaps it’s time folks are not allowed to be hypnotized by their magic black box and made to take a stake in our future, instead of regurgitating statements made by their favorite TV performers.

  • dildenusa

    I respect Bill Mckibben as an environmental leader and activist. However he has bought into the idea of the tin foil hat left that every dwelling in the US will have photovoltaic solar panels on their roofs and this will magically save the Earth. Excuse me, but communities above 60 degrees north or south latitude are dark for 3 to 6 months of the year. The rest of the year the weather is so poor that houses will still have to connect to an outside power source. And don’t think that photovoltaic solar panel “farms” in the desert southwest are going to save us. Photovoltaics are fine on a small scale but trying to upscale to the 100 megawatt scale with photovoltaics doesn’t work. Who is going to pay to put a system on the roof of my house? I’m a senior living on social security, nothing else, and the cost of a viable long lived photovoltaic system is in the $20,000 range per house. Is congress going to pass a law mandating this? Who will pay for this? Homeowners who can barely come up with the mortgage? I applaud Bill and his reality thinking. Let’s keep it real. Keep the tin foil hats on the far tea party right.

  • Anonymous

    There is no showdown coming folks. The pipeline will be finished. It is already mostly built and Blue Dog Obama will not stop it.

  • Anonymous

    There’s no reason to worry about the planet. The planet will do just fine without human beings. There have already been five great extinctions of life and 99% of all creatures that have ever lived on the earth are extinct. The earth will probably breathe a sigh of relief when we’re gone.

    However, I am glad that I am too old to live through the coming extinction of man. It won’t be pretty and it won’t be swift. Rome falling to the barbarians or Europe overrun by Vikings or the Black Death were picnics by comparison.

  • Kai Mikkel Forlie

    Allow me to respond simply. You don’t necessarily need solar panels. But what we all need to come to terms with is the fact that we cannot expect the same standard of living (mostly in terms of stuff) that we currently have moving forward. Given your declared age, you will remember living in a much lower energy world. Its that world where we must return. We know more now, we have more efficient tools at our disposal, but all of this means dramatically more human energy (taking the place of fossil energy), basically the end of private automobiles, the end of industrialism, vastly expanded mass transit (with an eye towards sailing ships and human and horsedrawn modes), vastly more people per square foot of real estate (no more two people households occupying in excess of ~500 square feet), a return to organic agriculture, the dramatic curtailment of globalism, very possibly the end of information technology, the rise again of localism, a return to self-sufficiency and ultimately (and most importantly) a much smaller human population, etc.

    The out-of-control portion of our love affair with fossil fuels has only encompassed a couple of hundred years at most and given the finite supply, it was never going to last. The overwhelming reality of our situation is that our world is going to change dramatically as we confront the looming low energy future, the only question is whether or not we are going to take proactive steps to prevent the total collapse of our economy and our society in the interim. We’re only talking about returning to the lives of my great grandparents here. It was not so long ago but we need to relearn all they knew and apply to it our current times. Slow food, slow economy, slow lives – this is our future and there’s no getting around it.

    Mr. McKibben is too kind to the president. Make no mistake, our commander-in-chief has clearly placed the security of his industrialist friends and their unsustainable systems above the long-term welfare of the country and its people. Government is and will continue to be of little help in the coming years. Its up to each of us to take direct action in our lives to align our actions with our beliefs. As consumers and/or workers we have a remarkable amount of power to change our current predicament. Some examples:

    If you have a car and are at all able-bodied stop driving it. Get a bike (and ride it!). Take a bus or train. Move closer to your work. Change jobs if you work for a place that promotes and or relies heavily on fossil fuel inputs. Start a garden. Take your home off-grid. Buy shares in a CSA (community supported agriculture). Move your money to a local credit union. Divest your own stock portfolio from exploitative industries AND globalized corporations that rely on them. Live with less. Move to a smaller home. Stop travelling by airplane. Buy pre-owned/used whenever possible. Stop purchasing non-fair trade goods manufactured in countries devoid of environmental and labor protections. Sell or giveaway your tv. Take on more projects around your home yourself (its not that hard) rather than paying others to do them. Start or become involved with a local bartering network. Stop working so many hours. Exercise. Eat better (boycott fast foods and prepared foods). Stop having kids. Make your own pet food. Join or start a local food coop. Insulate (or super insulate) your home. Turn off your lights. Install ultra-low-flow shower heads and aerators. Re-purpose a barrel (or six) into rainwater barrels. Get rid of your lawn (and internal combustion lawn mower!). Heat only a portion of your home and close the rest off during cold months. Get a housemate (or two). Pay off your mortgage as quickly as possible. Donate your time and.or your money to those pushing for change. Buy or fabricate an ecological toilet. Subscribe to the notion of deep conservation of water and energy. Sell all the stuff that you don’t honestly need or use. Befriend your neighbors (all of the them). Demand that your town/city/district/school board/union, etc. do all of the above. Run for elected office. Attend meetings open to the public. Demand change everyday and everywhere. We all need to live our principles.

  • joe kenwood

    For the green movement to think that solar panels and windmills can even come close to meeting our energy needs they are in dire need of a reality check….like the government’s great idea to ban incandescent lighting….think of the total energy consumed to produce the device… not to mention chemicals used in the production of alternative light sources…

  • John LightRider

    The oil that we are talking about from the tar sands is not oil for cars, of which we should be transitioning to electric vehicles powered by electricity comes from solar & wind. There are more & better jobs in the renewable energy industry every day. We must move away from fossil fuels as quickly as possible. Going to Renewable Energy will provide more jobs, a healthier Enviorment/ cleaner air/cleaner water, all the power we need and help slow climate change. The dumbest thing about all this is the fossil fuel industry could be leading the way & making the shift by investing & installing Renewable Energies profiting & staying perminantly on top of the Energy industry,BUT they seem dead set on wasting Billions lobbying Against what they know will have to happen and continue to polute, spill & contaminate our world.We must all do everything we can to respect the IPCC reports findings & make the world a better place for everyone. The Best part is we can dive the Worlds ecpnomy & eliminate poverty all at the same time creating a more peaceful World too! I have not heard of any wars over Solar or Wind on land. The jobs in the Fossil Fuel Industry are not gping to dissapear quickly & the workers cam be trained to work in the Renewable Energy Industry Easily.

  • Norma

    Ditto Ed?… Physics is eternal. Excellent interview and a step toward one point of resolution with the environmental issues we are all sharing. Each of us being a cell in this Universe and some trying to “put this cancer in remission while sharing and uniting toward a healthy outcome cure”. Unity is a way this Can be resolved.

  • dildenusa

    Dude, your preaching to the choir.

  • dildenusa

    So if I understand this correctly, I should sign over part of my house to some corporate entity so they can make money selling electricity. And I suppose this corporate entity, out of the goodness of its heart, is going to reimburse me a fair amount for the use of my roof. Wait, I see a conflict here. Since when are corporate entities fair? Isn’t what this is about is fighting against omniscient, omnipotent, corporations?

  • Catherine Kuehl

    Why don’t we seriously address the elephant in the room, overpopulation on this small planet? Over 7 billion people, and the number is rising. How could this NOT affect climate change?

  • Catherine Kuehl

    Stop traveling by airplane? Sorry, we do this maybe once a year to visit my husband’s ailing parents. We have to drive to visit my family, there’s no bus service from here to there. The need to find work results in people living apart from their families. And btw, my husband did run for public office in Wisconsin, but a Democrat can’t get elected to the Assembly from this district. It should all be as easy as you say, but real life can get in the way.

  • Gary

    The conversation about the Keystone Pipeline was interesting. The reality is that the world is committed to using fossil fuels at this time. This pipeline is much safer than transporting oil by rail.
    It seems to me that the conversation with McKibben concentrated on the problem rather than the solution. Bill did comment that China has solved a dependency on fossil fuel with solar. That is talking about solutions.
    If we totally ignore the problems of pollution, the reality is that fossil fuel is finite. However, solar is infinite.
    They need to concentrate on the solutions to the dependency on fossil fuel and provide them to the world. As indicated, China is already working on this. I think we should take the same course.
    The hysteria at this time is that a pipeline is a great threat. The reality is that our country is like a cobweb of pipelines. So, let’s move on to promoting the solution and finding a alternative to reduce/remove the threat.

  • Pam Driscoll

    The biggest problem is infighting. USborn is a person employed by the fossil fuel industry. I’m sure if he/she is a regular person, there would be no problem working for a solar panel manufacturing plant- or a wind energy production facility, geothermal, bio-gas, whatever. A stable job that supports his/her family’s basic needs; that’s all people want. Healthy and secure.

    We need to invest in and subsidize clean renewable energy systems that are decentralized- not toxic filthy fossil fuels. The powerful fossil fuel industry is doing everything in their power to misinform, distract and pit us against each other. The planet is losing it’s ability to support life. It’s that simple. Plants cannot grow in unstable conditions as well as animals and ocean life. We are changing our climate, poisoning our water, air and land and destroying wildlife habitat creating the sixth mass extinction…all for the profit of a 100 billion aires….yes, we are over-populated. But if we were wise and in balance with nature, we could transition through the “bottleneck” period where resources, weather, humans and all other life are squeezed. Don’t be fooled; these are critical times for life on Earth.

  • Activists Diary

    Yes, but those living in the U.S. – while only 5% of the world’s population, use 25% of the world’s resources. And, as someone who worked in the international population arena, you do realize that this country has often been hostile to efforts to encourage family planning in many other countries, right? If you want to help overpopulation, don’t vote Republican in this country and reach out to your lawmakers on these issues and let them know what you want your tax dollars spent on.

  • Kai Mikkel Forlie

    No doubt. But FWIW I stopped flying several years ago, right around the time I sold my car. I’ve been riding a bicycle and walking ever since. Skype is a great way to stay close with family and if I want to see them in person I plan a bicycle trip or take the train (or both).. I guess my point in writing what I wrote was to point out that we all have to make sacrifices. Families in a low energy world either live nearby to each other or they don’t see each other for long periods of time. We need to jettison those things we’ve come to take for granted. The vast majority of the world’s population has never and will never step foot aboard an airplane. The same is true for a large portion of the population when it comes to a private automobile. What may seem normal now (flying or driving) is not realistic nor is it sustainable. I think the following widely referenced fact puts everything into perspective. The energy potential stored in one barrel of oil (42 gallons) is the equivalent of a single horse laboring a standard 40 hour work week (eight hours a day, five days a week) for more than 10 years. This is the reality of our situation. We have squandered this enormous potential on creating a population that cannot be sustained without oil. And the age of oil is rapidly coming to an end. Its irresponsible and incredibly shortsighted to think that its in any way normal or acceptable to fly in an airplane to visit one set of parents or drive in a private automobile to visit another. Such actions in our future low energy will be prohibitively expensive (as they should be now) if not obsolete. Only a little more than a hundred years ago it was very common that if a person wanted to visit someone in another state they WALKED there. We’re headed right back to that time in terms of long distance transportation options and to think otherwise is to deny the reality of living on a finite planet with a resource hungry and unsustainable human population. I am not trying to scare anyone, I’m just trying to impress on folks what is normal in terms of human history. The oil age, when it peters out in the next ~100 years (if even that long), will represent a blip in the human history books. We need to come to terms with the fact that we’ve been mislead into thinking that the way it is now can somehow last forever. The opportunity to make oil last for a long time was squandered decades ago on cheap plastic sweatshop trinkets and trips to the mall in the car. That ship has sailed, so to speak.

  • Reiner Wilhelms

    There is little hope that Obama could be approached with rational arguments on this issue; and I really doubt that he is much concerned about his public image. He might just ignore that even more people who drive around with old Obama/Biden 2008/2012 stickers will finally scrape them off in disgust and embarrassment.

    The central problem is that Obama is a member of the church of the free market fundamentalists, and that he follows their principles even if there are all the signs that this ideology will bring the planet over the cliff.

    He is very intelligent, and no one tell me he does not understand that opening up new ways to access tar sand oil and shale gas as well as expanding hydro-fracking will result indeed in some replacement of coal by somewhat less carbon intensive fuels, but with the immediate result that the price for coal drops. Further, putting in place a few meek and toothless regulations and a few pennies of carbon tax on coal burning power plants, while doing nothing to reduce mining and shipping of coal overseas, results in a new lucrative scheme: Avoid paying the carbon tax at home, and send the coal to China, and of course also the refined oil products made from tar sand. Now we need in addition cheap oil to power the freight ships that transport the substance with the greatest carbon print, namely carbon itself, over the Pacific.

    Why: Because the “free market” wants it that way – always following the path of least resistance. The glorious side effect is, jobs jobs jobs and a lot of green paint, making America only the second biggest polluter, whow! The net result: Even more people working in the fossil fuel industry, hydro fracking, building pipelines, working in refineries, working in the oil export, all results in further cementing the reliance on fossil fuels. On balance it’s more burning of coal and oil plus the added burning of oil for coal transportation.

    But it is forbidden to disobey the orders of the free market. Obama is brainwashed by this dogma and carries it out in a particularly smart way. He is the smartest president yet to succeed in increasing pollution and accelerating global warming, and at the same time he succeeds in selling this as environmental policy. One could almost pity him if he was as stupid as his predecessor. That guy didn’t listen to science because he thought the good book had already all the answers. Obama is scientifically literate and listens to science but only if it is not in contradiction with the gospel of free market fundamentalism.

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  • ccaffrey

    The reason we MUST address the use of fossil fuels now is that we are quickly reaching thresholds beyond which the world CANNOT recover. There is imminent danger in continuing our current course. There have been solutions proposed for decades. They have been opposed at every turn by monied interests taking over our elections and deceiving the public. It is no accident that the Koch brothers have already spent over $100 million in the 2014 races! China, one of the world’s worst polluters, if they have made a change to solar have done so because it was ruled so by a single dictator. I also question the common notion that transportation by rail is a safer way to transport oil. While a train derailment will be quickly noticed and addressed, buried pipelines, NOT checked and maintained in any regulated fashion can leak oil for long periods of time, often into underground water sources before they are detected. The damage can FAR exceed that of train spills.

  • ccaffrey

    It’s not “our oil”. And it will not be used for “our” energy. Job creation is minimal. Risk is HUGE! The reason it is being pushed to be built south is because the Canadian people in their wisdom blocked them shipping it to the east or west coast of their own country! There will be thousands of miles of pipeline carrying the most corrosive oil possible…that sinks. Leaks in existing laid pipelines have already been found. These lines will travel over aquifers and have great potential for leaking into water supplies. Oil is NOT our most valuable resource. Water is!

  • ccaffrey

    I saw this and agree more people really need to watch this! It is an amazing transformation of desert land! Do you know anyone working on this in the States?

  • Tommy Carrig

    Some real Global Pollution that is visible –The Asian Brown Cloud
    Many people can’t connect with creatures they haven’t seen in the wild and the effects of pollution on their habitat. If all the groups could coordinate under one political umbrella we could replace the politic. Advertising would help create a movement. Butterflies and Bumble Bees and their plight could bring it closer to home. Please Watch this one and pass it on.
    Save the ____

  • ccaffrey

    I agree with you about missing the hour show but will respect that, as Bill nears 80, he must decide where to devote his energy. I would rather have his voice of wisdom around for as long as possible; so if he feels he needs to cut back on the length of the weekly show, I respect that. I note that he is not depriving us of content however! There is an increase, I think, in essays, morning commentaries and links to excellent materials. Whatever you need to do, Bill, is ok….just PLEASE don’t go away!! We really need you!

  • Joe Taranto

    Well Done Bill Mckibben it was a great media release as i see it the vision of the future is solar energy, Because it`s free and it does not poison the air that we breathe or the water That we drink or the farm land we grow our food!

  • Catherine Kuehl

    I haven’t voted republican in a very long time. And I am aware that the average American’s carbon footprint is much larger than, say, the average African’s. I wanted to keep my comment brief, but I do thank you for including those facts.

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  • TheOldspeakJournal

    i love Bill McKibben, but i find his peddling of “solutions” to “save the planet from ecological collapse” disingenuous, and misleading. To compare our response to this existential threat to civil rights, gay and abolitionist movements is absurd. We’re mired in pathological anthropocentric madness. There are no solutions. The time for action has long passed. Any efforts to avoid extinction needed to be implemented 40 years ago.

    “Today we are operating on atmospheric concentrations of
    greenhouse gases from the 1970s. In the last 29 years we have emitted as
    many greenhouse gases as we emitted in the previous 236 years.” In
    other words, the four-decade lag between emissions of greenhouse gases and consequences of those emissions is not complete. But it’s on the way, and there is nothing to be done today to undo what we did during the last 40 years.” -Bruce Mellon, Truthout

    The person folks need to be paying more attention to is Guy McPhereson he has a brilliant comprehensive summary dating back to February 2003 from the folks at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. The reality is abrupt and dramatic changes in climate aren’t out of the question. We need to prepare for extinction in the near term. Our techonology brought us to this point and it will not save us.

  • Anonymous

    If you want to consider global warming the subject of overpopulation needs to be included. More people more pollution.

  • Bernadene

    tax the fossil fuel industry to pay for solar panels on all dwellings. it will happen.

  • gloria

    Dear Mr. President,
    I voted for you twice! Please don’t disappoint me–My kids and YOUR kids need you to do the right thing. We have alternatives at our fingertips begging to be used in place of fossil fuel. I am saying NO to the big oil companies–please join me! Gloria

  • William W Haywood

    I have told the government, and I have written Obama 6 times, and I have emailed Murray and Cantwell many times, telling them to get us on the road to energy renewal and get us off of fossil fuels, but they do not listen. Obviously they do not, or cannot, because they have been bought out, do anything about this. This is where We, the People, come in. It is our job to do what our representative form of government cannot accomplish, and it is our duty to make this government democratic, and make it work for each and every one of us. Since our administration, and our congress, and our Supreme Court and Lower courts cannot get the job done, it is now up to us! Every one of us!

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  • Mike Peterson

    Good on you, Catherine. In the words of Isaac Asimov, noted Sci- Fi writer and futurist, who wrote the following over FORTY years ago: “You can either decrease the birth rate, or increase the death rate…” The word now is MUST!

  • Lainy

    Who is going to clean up the mess when the pipeline ruptures or in the end when it is not needed any more?? I am sure the oil company will go bankrupt and resume business under a different name and the citizens will be expected to clean up after them and I for one am sick of paying to wipe there asses while they walk away with billions. Seems like every where we turn, we are hung with cleaning up after the rich. That is not what we are here for!

  • MJA

    To stop the pipeline all we have to do is stop using oil. It is not up to Obama, it is up to you and me. =

  • Donna Brooks

    With the money we have squandered on Iraq and war and military contractors, we could have put solar panels on every home, business, & public building in the country, creating hundreds of thousands of jobs. People don’t realize the absurd amount a trillion dollars is. What we lack is visionary leadership that is not controlled by money & big business. We should have mobilized LONG ago, the way the WWII generation did, when they had recycling drives and asked people to plant victory gardens. We could have a mobilization to modernize and improve our passenger rail systems, again creating countless jobs while improving life at home and using less energy than air and car transportation. And the WASTE that goes on in this country is appalling!! Everything is wasted,—food, energy, money, water, paper, soil, land, clothes, items made to use only once and be thrown away, even buildings that sit empty while we build more. Our society is insane.

  • Robert Bernstein

    The audio podcast of this broadcast with Bill McKibben is broken. Only the first couple of minutes are in the file. Can you please fix this?

  • Angela P. Woodrat

    Absolutely! It’s the elephant in the room that nobody wants to discuss because heaven help them if THEY have to sacrifice. You are a hypocrite if you oppose the Keystone pipeline and reproduce–you are not only doubling your carbon footprint; each child goes on to have their brood, and on and on exponentially. It has to stop. Besides, the childfree life is WONDERFUL!

  • Angela P. Woodrat

    I already scraped my Obama sticker several years ago because of this very subject. He may be intelligent, but he shows no leadership on this issue. Until we get money out of political elections, Big Oil and Friends will continue to buy our “representatives” in government.

  • Angela P. Woodrat

    The childfree community asks each other all the time: “WHY have a baby?” The alternative–to be childfree–is the only environmental action worth doing and it improves your life. I am the end of my family line and happy about it.

  • Angela P. Woodrat

    We will go extinct some day, but we don’t have to take everyone with us. The destruction of wild places and Earth’s biodiversity not only destroys all that is beautiful, but reduces the potential for evolution to develop into new life forms.

  • Angela P. Woodrat

    or has their head in the tar sand

  • Anonymous

    There was a time when humans were scarce and command was issued to go forth and populate the “four corners of the Earth”. We can now say that has been accomplished and we need to slack up.

  • Denise

    I am more concerned about the thousands of rail cars and trucks that carry fuel over our roads and tracks every day and the accidents they are having numerous times – this is FAR more dangerous than the keystone pipeline

  • Denise

    The Keystone project is going to happen – it is a much better option than continuing with the truck and rail car transportation of fuels – let’s face it, the public will never stop using fossil fuels, so let’s get this pipeline built before another rail car explodes and burns down another town.

  • Denise

    That will never happen

  • TJ

    It will happen – all resources will have been consumed and we destroy everything in our path to get every last drop. If we don’t turn things around starting now, really, now, we will live the inevitable.

  • Daniel James

    If you understand that climate change is an existential
    threat and human inaction is making it worse and worse, then please understand that representative democracy only represents the will of the people when they are collectively engaged in a common cause; otherwise the big money calls the shots. The Global Freedom and Justice Movement is committed to transcend the divisions that divide people to unite the people of goodwill in a common cause for freedom, justice and environmental responsibility. How? Through three simple, yet profound principles: nonviolence, freedom and
    justice, and environmental responsibility. If the people of goodwill the world around will adopt these principles, we can unite and change our world. This is the answer missing from Occupy Wall Street, the Arab Spring Revolutions and now Ukraine. Learn more at

  • larry richardson

    to say nothing about a million innocent people dead

  • Patty Williams

    The same people who have cleaned up the oil pipelines in alaska. It is rare. Trains however derail all of the time. Could be your neighborhood next.

  • Patty Williams

    You voted for that Liar twice? The isiot who is allowing ISIS terrorists walk freely into our country after flying “home”? Shame on you!

  • Patty Williams

    Gee I wonder how hundreds of people from other countries arrived at the summit? I wonder why thousands of pounds of garbage was discovered after the 100,00 people protested? Did Santa fly them and leave all of that garbage? What a bunch of liars. save the earth, lets fly and drive suvs. Lets leave garbage everywhere!

  • Louis Stephen Carrozzi

    All that effort to pump sludge out of the ground, when we have a giant, self sustaining nuclear fusion reactor in the sky that drives most life on Earth, and dumps enough energy in 1 hour on the planet than the entire human race uses in a year. Why again are we pumping sludge out of the ground?

  • Louis Stephen Carrozzi

    But technology isn’t the only force on this planet. if we enlisted the biosphere to help us (which we don’t, we destroy it), we would have a fighting chance to skate by. What we are doing right now ensures that will never happen.

    Maybe a giant outbreak of ebola might not be a bad thing after all…

  • Louis Stephen Carrozzi

    I disagree. One of the most devastating periods for the planet occurred during the Permian Extinction which wiped out 70% of all life on the planet, far before the dinosaurs ever showed up. It was not a permanent situation. The continents moved, the climate changed, and life came back in force.

    We need to do 2 things: Let the bioshpere grow back, and get rid of US. The planet will fix itself, if it can. WE are the biggest thing preventing that from happening.

    Life is one of the most resilient features on our planet.

    Take a look around at nature, and then consider the fact that 99% of everything that ever lived on the planet is now extinct. Yet our planet is full of life!

    The day we have no future is the day we have no vision for one.

  • Sue

    More Blather from the Left. It is sure good that the left utilizes abortion. There certainly was a Movement November 4th.

  • Bob Lyman

    Okay, let’s have some facts. If the Keystone XL project were being built entirely in the United States, it would have been permitted and built long ago. The United States has over 200,000 miles of crude oil and refined petroleum products pipelines in place. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, another 7000 miles of oil pipelines were built in the U.S. last year and many more are planned for the future.

    The State Department recently issued a report in which it concluded that there would be no significant environmental impact to most resources along the proposed route from western Canada to refineries in Texas. The report also said other options to get the oil from Canada to Gulf Coast refineries are worse for climate change.

    Canada produces 1.8 % of global GHGs. All current oil sands production accounts for 6.5% of Canadian emissions. The emissions associated with the oil that would be transported by the Keystone XL project represents about 20% of production from the oil sands. If you multiply those figures (i.e. 1.8 x .065 x .2), you can calculate that the production of oil for the Keystone XL project would constitute 0.02%, or 0.0002, of global emissions. In other words, it is one five thousandth of annual global emissions. How much is one five-thousandths? If you were considering a 100-yard football field, moving one five-thousandth would move you three-quarters of an inch.

    In other words, if the Keystone XL project were not built, and the oil industry in Canada decided to not produce the oil, global emissions would drop by an insignificant amount. Of course, Canada will produce the oil.

    Some in the environmental movement have claimed that, if Canada does not sell as much oil to the United States, Americans will be forced to cut back on consumption. As the source of the oil has made no difference to how much Americans use oil in the past in the past, I will leave you to judge whether this claim makes sense.

  • Bob Lyman

    Within North America, there are about 200,000 miles of pipelines that transport crude oil and other petroleum liquids from where they are produced to markets where they are consumed. These pipelines have been a vital part of the continent’s energy infrastructure for many decades (oil production began in the 19th century). Pipelines, in fact, have long been demonstrated to be the safest, most reliable, economical and environmentally favourable way to transport crude oil and refined oil products throughout the continent.

    The integrity of pipeline construction and operation has been a major focus of attention by regulatory bodies and the petroleum industry for decades. Standards such as the “International Organization for Standardization (ISO) 15649: 2001 Petroleum and Natural Gas Industries Piping” is an international standard that specifies the requirements for design and construction of piping for the petroleum industry, and the American Petroleum Institute and Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers have sponsored
    supporting industry initiatives in this area.

    Data on oil spill trends are kept rigorously in Canada and the United States. The annual number of pipeline spills has decreased by 500% over the last 30 years, according to U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) data. The amount of oil spilled is less than 3 million gallons per year,
    compared to the 130 billion gallons per year of oil that is consumed. In other words, the oil spilled is 0.002 % of the oil consumed. To be sure, that
    is not zero, but it is a remarkably low amount.

  • Bob Lyman

    Well, you can start to get off fossil fuels if you believe those who claim that humans are causing catastrophic climate change. In fact, this is nonsense, but if you believe it, you can stop using cars, buses, trains and airplanes as well as electricity in most states and go back to horse-drawn buggies and whale oil for lamps. Your call. Just do not try to force such economic insanity on the rest of us.

  • Bob Lyman

    In Ontario, Canada, we have had a very bad experience with solar panels. You see, the solar industry lobby has convinced the provincial government that, to “save the planet”, they should pay above-market rates for solar panels. So Ontario consumers are forced to pay Feed in Tariffs of 40 to 80 cents per kilowatt hour in 20-year guaranteed contracts, compared to conventional energy that costs 4 to 8 cents per kWh. This is wonderful for the green lobby but it has raised the cost of electricity to the point at which many people on modest incomes cannot afford it, and it has sharply over cut the reliability of the electrical energy system. Dumb and dumber.

  • Bob Lyman

    I have news for you. Based on the last 15 years of data from surface monitoring stations and the last seventeen years of data from satellite measurements of temperatures in the earth’s atmosphere,there has been no increase in annual average temperatures. That’s right. Further, if you consider the actual data on global temperature movement since 1990, the warming trend is just under 0.75 degrees per century. At this rate, it would take about 267 years to get to the two-degree target the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has set as an upper limit. That does not constitute an emergency
    requiring costly global action.

  • Bob Lyman

    Solar energy is the most expensive source of electrical energy by far. In Most countries it costs anywhere from five to twenty times the costs of conventional energy generation. In addition, it only produces when the sun shines, not when people demand electricity, so it has to be backed up by conventional energy generation plants that operate well below capacity. This means that consumer pay twice, once for the expensive solar and again for the backup. This is driving electricity rates through the roof in the countries that have adopted policies to force the use of solar energy. In fact, if consumers were free to choose, hardly anyone would buy electricity from solar plants. Using solar is, in effect, a huge tax on the average family.

  • Bob Lyman

    97% of scientists agreed that human activities could have some effect in terms of global temperatures. Almost 100% of scientists reject the view that the current rate of warming will lead to catastrophic effects.