Our View: Keystone cops

DKS Editors

Energy company TransCanada is planning a massive new pipeline, called Keystone XL, that would transport oil from Canadian tar sands into the United States. President Obama and new Secretary of State John Kerry have the responsibility of either giving it the green light or stopping it in its tracks.

Criticism of the pipeline derives from research into the 230 billion tons of carbon in the tar sands that would be burned and emitted into the air in order to get to the oil. That is a far higher amount of greenhouse gas emission than is typical in oil production.

We aren’t fans of Keystone XL because it sends the wrong message for what our energy future needs to be. Simply put, it doesn’t make sense to keep feeding our unhealthy dependence on nonrenewable resources of energy because doing so ignores the need for preparedness for when those resources are gone.

Besides, digging up fossil fuels damages the environment. That matters. We’d like this planet to sustain life for as long as it possibly can, which, for all we know, could be billions more years. So we must be delicate with what we do to it. It might not seem like a big deal if climate change raises temperatures by two degrees — after all, does a 55-degree day really feel any different from a 53-degree day? But those two degrees can be the difference between icebergs at 31 degrees that melt and raise sea levels at 33 degrees.

We know we can’t instantly eradicate all of our fossil-fuel energy usage. But the environmental risks are far too great for us to keep kicking the can down the road. Though it isn’t economical in the short term, we need to take a firm stand for clean energy — and we hope it isn’t too late.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.