The protest against the Keystone XL Pipeline

A pipeline is going to be built between the Alberta tar sands and Texas to extract more oil from these sands. First Nations activist Clayton Thomas-Müller is protesting this pipeline for the devastating effects on the environment that the pipeline will have when it inevitably ruptures.

Since we know we’re already in deep trouble with regard to climate change, wouldn’t it be a better use of our time and money to, say, invest in solar technology for once? The indigenous peoples are fighting this pipeline for the damage it will cause. Among all the other things we owe them, we owe them proper stewardship of the land we’ve occupied.

Comments

  1. Snowshoe the Canuck says

    Although I am undecided about the Keystone project, I doubt that solar cells will be the panacea that some people claim. No technology is without associated risks or potential problems.

    Just wait until some people find out that most of the photovoltaic cells contain doping material such as cadmium, tellurium, gallium, indium and arsenic as well as other heavy, rare earth metals. Which must be extracted from minerals, refined, etc. I am in favor of more research into improving the efficiency of PV cells, but fossil fuels should not be excluded from use.

  2. Michael D. says

    Yeah I’d rather see some shiny cutting edge nuclear reactors built but I think that mess in japan killed that idea…

  3. says

    Snowshoe, there are lots of technologies that avoid the use of rare Earth minerals in solar cells now. It’s just a case of getting them to mass production status.

    Personally, I’m in favor of anything that gets us away from fossil fuels. I’ll accept nuclear if it’s the only choice, but I’d prefer not.

  4. says

    It’s not that WE don’t want to. It’s that fossil fuels is such a big industry and owner of politicians that what we wants doesn’t matter.

  5. Snowshoe the Canuck says

    There are alternatives. Fossil fuels has an advantage that has nothing to do with politicians being owned by Big Oil. We have th technology, it is proven and we know where the resource is.

    Geothermal is very good choice in some parts of the continent, but would it be sufficient for a densely populated area like the eastern seaboard of the US? The Alberta Geological Survey did a study on the potential of old deep oil and gas wells as a source of geothermal energy for electrical generation, but these wells are far away from any major (for Alberta) centres. I cant see many people in chicago voting for deep wells to be drilled in their neighbourhoods. The link to the AGS is http://www.ags.gov.ab.ca/publications/wcsb_atlas/a_ch30.html

    Photovoltaic cell technology doesnt require doping with heavy metals, it’s AFAIK, the most common, cheapest or most efficient types of cells currently on the market.

    It’s human nature to do things the easy way, the tried and tested way. But we have to change. I agree, we must wean ourselves off the fossil fuel technology. But we certainly can’t go cold turkey. I am in favour of tax breaks for new technology, we as voters must hold the politicians’ feet to the fire at election time

  6. Roland says

    There’s already a Keystone pipeline. XL is a second, expansion line. So why don’t they lay it next to the first one? They already own the right-of-way. But no, they want a different route, right thru the recharge area for the Oglalla aquifer. One spill and the aquifer is polluted. Cities and agriculture that depend on that aquifer are SOL. And it’s presented as take-it-or-leave-it, you’re-for-it-or-you’re-against-it. Typical corporate propaganda.

  7. john says

    Fossils fuelss are portable, cheap,and extremely effective. One tank of gas is the equivalent of two years of a persons labour. No easy substitutes available.

  8. says

    And yet, the entire Iceland economy is based on Hydrogen and Geothermal.

    Honestly ask yourself, “how often do I travel farther than 100 miles per day?” If it’s never (like me), then you don’t need gas.

  9. shouldbeworking says

    Iceland is geothermally active, being on the mid-Atlantic Ridge and not having a sedimentary basin worthy of the name that’s older than a few centuries. They still use fossil fuels for transportation.

  10. UrsulaMinor says

    I heard an interesting fact the other day;

    It basically goes like this – the early adopters of a technology are always the last to let go of that technology. The first nation to really get into generating power from coal was England during the industrial revolution – and they are one of the last nations to still depend heavily on coal power generation.

    North Americans are the early adopters of oil & gas technologies and we did it in force. The fact that we have this huge backlog of infrastructure is the real reason we are so dependent on oil – no matter how expensive it gets, it is still going to be the cheapest option 99% of the time.

    Until building renewables are cheaper than keeping current methods, there isn’t going to be a change. “Big Oil” isn’t powerful because of politics – its economics. They get political power from economic power, not the other way around.

  11. says

    Given all those assertions, UrsulaMinor, why does “Big Oil” get so damn much government subsidies other than to keep feeding the beast that is already making so damn much money and has us all over a(n oil) barrel?

    Yes, there’s a lot of infrastructure that would have to be rebuilt. Emissions standards would be a large enough thumb on the scale to force electric into viability, as would eliminating any subsidy for oil, prioritizing instead geothermal and solar/wind as stopgaps til we can get off fossil fuels altogether.

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