Keystone XL — Americans are divided

Dozens of national and regional groups have been fighting the Keystone XL pipeline, saying it could contaminate groundwater and will ratchet up carbon emissions, hastening climate change. But the general public may not feel the same. A recent poll showed most still believe the pipeline will create “significant” jobs and help provide oil to the US.

Reading Keystone XL tea leaves: Is a pipeline in our future?

What the President said yesterday about the Keystone XL pipeline sounded sensible and straightforward. But what did the POTUS really mean in his climate action address? Roll the words around, toss them into the 24/7 Internet news cycle mixmaster, and you’ve got massive speculation. Obama could be indicating yes, or no, to Keystone XL.

Obama unveils climate policy: Don’t fear the future, seize it

President Barack Obama delivered a pointed speech on climate change today, which suggested that the Keystone XL pipeline will not be automatically approved and drilled down on the biggest source of carbon emissions, power plants. The highlight of The President’s Climate Action Plan, unveiled before an audience at Georgetown University, will be a move by the EPA to set limits on carbon…

Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein arrested in Texas while protesting Keystone XL pipeline

Dr. Jill Stein, the Green Party candidate for president, has been arrested in Texas while helping protesters of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Stein, who was being detained at the Wood County Jail, was helping resupply members of the Tar Sands Blockade who’re encamped in the trees trying to stop the path of the pipeline through East Texas.

Before being detained by local authorities — joining dozens of protesters who’ve been arrested for civil disobedience against the pipeline project — Dr. Stein issued a statement linking Keystone XL to the climate change that’s causing havoc with the U.S. economy and environment.

Disney takes a page from The Lorax — announces a new paper policy

Disney, recognizing its heavy paper footprint as the world’s largest publisher of children’s books and magazines, has announced it will be changing its paper policies to try to stop the degradation of rainforests in Southeast Asia.

The change comes as a victory for indigenous Indonesians, rainforest wildlife and the atmosphere, which are all being harmed by the vociferous consumption of rainforests by logging in Indonesia.

Tar Sands Blockade members force another work stoppage in Texas

Landowners and activists have again forced a temporary work stoppage on the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas.

This morning three members of the Tar Sands Blockade group latched themselves to tree-clearing machinery, stopping work crews from creating the path for the transcontinental pipeline.

It was not immediately known if police had been called to the scene, as they were to a similar scene of civil disobedience by the group in late August.

Tar sands blockade in Texas and Oklahoma unites land rights and environmental activists

It’s often assumed that Texans, like the majority of their lawmakers, favor oil drilling and the expansion of the oil industry.

And it’s often true. But a small, scrappy group of protesters that has risen up against the construction of the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline in Texas and Oklahoma are showing that such stereotypes are just that.

Their protests began last week, with small groups brandishing protest signs at work sites, where pipeline operator TransCanada has begun laying the Southern portion of the 1,700 mile transcontinental pipeline from Alberta to the Houston area.

2011 was officially the 9th warmest year on record

Warmer than average global surface temperatures in 2011 added up to make the year the 9th warmest on record, or since 1880, when modern record-keeping began, according to NASA.

The finding, according to NASA scientists at the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS), confirms that the Earth’s temperatures are warming overall, with 9 of the 10 warmest years occurring since 2000. The only 20th Century year in the top ten was 1998. (2005 and 2010 tied for the hottest year(s) on record.)

GOP senators try to force-start Keystone pipeline, despite Obama’s order for additional review

ess than a month since the Obama Administration delayed the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline for at least a year, a group of GOP senators is trying to force the project to begin anyway.

The partisan showdown is led by Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), minority chair of the Foreign Relations Committee. Supporters include 37 other senators, including those from Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas, which would host segments of the 1,700 mile pipeline.

Climate change more urgent than ever, as Congress cools on taking action

Sadly, as the threat of climate change worsens, U.S. lawmakers move further away from practical solutions.

Last week, NASA reported that 2010 was the second hottest year on record, capping the warmest decade in modern times. Climate change continues, despite our currently frozen fingers as we clear the windshield of ice and snow (these big snowstorms in fact could be part of the pattern of climate change’s more erratic and severe storm systems).

This news of temperatures continue their upward march is no surprise to climate scientists who’ve measured the atmospheric carbon dioxide that’s a key creator of the greenhouse effect here on Earth. Atmospheric CO2 once measured around 250 parts per million before the industrial revolution. Now, after 160 years of burning fossil fuels on an industrial scale, we’re at 390 ppm, well above the comfort zone of 350 ppm and on our way to levels that could be terribly unhealthy for humans. Scientists have set an upper limit of 450 ppm of CO2, above which is a vast unknown and before which, are a series of tipping points that could render the whole discussion moot.

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