On Monday, people gathered across the nation in over 200 vigils to urge President Obama to reject the northern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline, and I have to say, I’m fucking tired of explaining why the pipeline is a hugely fucking bad idea. Climate scientist James Hansen said it all when he said that exploiting these tar sands and building this pipeline would be “game over” for the climate.
Ok, do I need to go into detail? Fine, but I’m tired of being nice about it. The southern leg of the pipeline has already been built and, in fact, began shipping oil in January, running from Cushing, Oklahoma to the Gulf Coast. The northern leg would expand that pipeline, running from the Midwest to Alberta.
(The following is based on actual events)
“But Alyssa, we use oil all the time. Don’t you like being able to drive places? Get over it you hippie!”
Well, you simpleton demon spawn, this pipeline would carry diluted bitumen, a viscous petroleum mixture – also known as tar sands or oil sands, a petroleum slush of sand, clay, and hydrocarbons that is so thick and sticky that it will not flow through pipes unless heated or diluted with lighter hydrocarbons. In order to make liquid fuel from the bitumen, a process of steam injection and refining are necessary, generating more greenhouse gases. Studies have found that oil-sand crude is up to 22 percent more carbon intensive than regular crude oil. Just to get to the tar sands, pits must be dug to reach it or it must be blasted to the surface to be extracted, using more water and energy, and emitting more greenhouse gases into the air, as well as releasing toxic metals into the surrounding watershed.
Are you still listening, cretin? There’s more. Just this week, a study was published regarding emission levels of polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) – a carcinogen (that means cancer-causing) – released during the extraction process and found that it was two to three orders of magnitude higher (100 – 1,000x greater) than was previously thought. In lakes surrounding the Alberta tar sands area, high levels of PAHs were found, levels that have been rising since large-scale production of the oil sands began in the late 70s.
“But Alyssa, I heard that this pipeline won’t hurt the climate or any of that crap.”
That’s because the company that was selected to perform the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) – Environmental Resources Management (ERM) – had actually worked with TransCanada previously, you crusty botch of nature. Documents uncovered by Mother Jones revealed that ERM’s second-in-command on the EIS had worked on projects with TransCanada as an outside consultant three times previously. Additionally, Politico uncovered further ties that the company had actually lobbied for a trade group that included a TransCanada subsidiary and is also a member of several industry groups that have urged the government to support the pipeline project. So, you churlish git, that’s called conflict of interest – a clear bias toward an industry and thus not an objective scientific report. Also, I will repeat myself – climate scientists say that this pipeline and exploiting the tar sands will be disastrous for the planet.
“Well, I disagree. I don’t think it will be bad for the climate.”
You goddamned ignoramus! When did you get your environmental science degree? Are you a climate scientist and have you been studying the anthropogenic (that means human-caused) effects on climate change for the past 30 years? When you go to the dentist, do you tell her you “disagree” that you have a cavity? No! That’s why we have goddamned experts! Not to mention that understanding that a new oil pipeline will have an adverse climate impact is simple logic. Burning fossil fuels emits greenhouse gases, leading to climate change. This pipeline will transport more oil – dirtier oil – to be burnt. Therefore, this pipeline WILL CONTRIBUTE TO CLIMATE CHANGE!
Ok, fine. Derp. But what about jobs? This will give us so many jobs! Do you hate working Americans?
Ok, turd-wanker, I’ll play this game for a fucking second. How many jobs will the pipeline actually create? Well, about 2,000 construction jobs that will last for a year, at most two, followed by about 50 permanent jobs. If you placed your energy pushing for jobs in building our dependence on renewables – something that would require many and more jobs to revamp our energy structure – you would get far more people back in the work force. What’s more, a study just released found that nearly five times more jobs, and many more long-term jobs, would be created if we simply fixed and updated our existing pipelines that are already in use.
Jobs are jobs and you’re a communist if you don’t support jobs.
Yes, communists hate jobs. And I hate having to explain to you – you insufferable ratbag – why this argument is logically incoherent! The false dilemma of having to choose between jobs and the environment; the idea that they are mutually incompatible is absolutely ludicrous! When did the push for jobs and the labor movement become so complacent? The jobs are there for completely revamping our country’s energy sector, if only we push for it. That would provide lasting jobs and cleaner energy. A win-win. Why would labor be willing to accept 2,000 short-term jobs and call that a success? Success is not employing a few people for one year at the expense of our entire fucking planet! We should be pushing for more and better. If a few meager jobs are all we’re pushing our government for, then they’ve already won. They will get the pipeline to line their pockets with money from the oil lobby, and they will get the complacency of you because you think winning 2,000 jobs is somehow a real win for labor.
But you’ve got to weigh the pros and cons. The pros are a few people can pay their mortgage for a year.
And the cons, you short-sighted prat, are global climate destruction.
But the environmental lobby is…
Just shut up. Don’t tell me the environmental lobby is somehow even in the same ballpark in terms of political power or influence. Oil companies make money in the billions. Sierra Club and other similar groups make only in the millions. Oh yeah, and they’re not for profit so…
But we need jobs and big business to keep our economy running!
You know what, you poor schlemiel, I feel almost sorry for you. The system is set up to make people like us fight each other over basic needs. Pitting the greens against labor is just one tactic to make us so divided that we can’t fight the true problem in this country – that big money bankers, fossil fuel companies, and the like are the ones running our country and no matter who we vote for, corporate interests will be the only interests looked after. Sure, the government lets you think that you have a say in who represents you in the White House. Every four years, we get to decide if we want to be led by a taint or an asshole and the masses dutifully choose which one they’d rather lick. So, poor schlub, I say let’s band together. The combined resources and people-power of all of the activist groups, the disenfranchised of the nation, those that want to see a country that is just and free from government and corporate tyranny, those that wish to put an end to poverty and unemployment yet still wish to inhabit a world filled with green spaces and a diversity of plant an animal life with thriving ecosystems – together we can overthrow the plutocracy! Together we can put an end to the oligarchy and create a system that is of the people! Really, don’t we all just want the same thing: to be free and to carry out our lives harmoniously. Let’s band, together, my simpleton comrade! What do you say?
Whatever. You’re a socialist.
Also published on CounterPunch.