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We are addicted to oil and coal.  We are also addicted to food and water and other things that seem quite normal.  We are the species that not only consumes food and water, and breathes the air, but that also consumes ancient hydrocarbons as part of our very existence.  

The keystone pipeline is a way to maintain the oil part of that addiction for decades.  If we don’t build the keystone XL pipeline, it may be possible to continue to feed that addition using Canadian tar sands oil by shipping the product by train, using existing pipelines, or by building a pipeline to a Canadian coastal region where newly built refineries can process the oil, or from where it can be shipped to other regions where it will be processed.  However, those alternatives are expensive, messy, and politically difficult.  In the end, the best way to feed our addiction is to build the proposed pipeline and related infrastructure.  

Keeping our addiction going is important.  We need this oil to heat our homes, generate electricity, and power our vehicles.  There will be other effects.  The earth will warm, the oceans will acidify. These effects will cause glacial ice to melt and raise the sea levels and coral reefs to die off.

The part about the glaciers melting is especially interesting.  The Canadian tar sands oil is really one part of a much larger deposit of hydrocarbon fuels that became trapped at  the bottom of a great ocean, over one or a few periods of a few million years each, during which that ocean was dead from a few meters depth to the bottom.  Under those conditions, a great biological engine powered by the sun operated at the surface of the ocean, producing biological molecules in various organisms which continuously died off and settled to the bottom of the sea, mingling with silt, sand, and clay (but mostly silt and clay) eroded from great mountain ranges that are now long gone. Some of this biological material became the great oil fields of the Saudi Arabian peninsula.  Other material became trapped in less accessible form such as the Canadian tar sands.  

By releasing this biological material we gain two great benefits: 1) We get to heat our homes, run our industries, and power our vehicles; and 2) We have the opportunity to restore our planet’s atmosphere to that of days gone by, prior to the time when huge amounts of CO2 were transferred from the air to the bottom of the sea by the aforementioned biological engine at the surface of the sea.

As this CO2 is released, and the atmosphere warms, the seawater that has been increasingly trapped in huge, water hungry glaciers since that sea existed will be returned to where it belongs, in the ocean.

The thing is, we are going to need this energy, the energy produced by the tar sands oil, to power some major changes in our own infrastructure. As the sea level rises, a very large percentage of the human population, which at present lives in cities along the edge of the ocean, will have the opportunity to abandon their tired old cities and move to newly built quarters inland.  The roads, rail lines, and sea ports will be abandoned and we will have the opportunity to build a new transportation infrastructure.  Power plants that are near the sea now will have to be dismantled or covered in concrete and newer power plants constructed near the newly built cities.  This is an amazing, wonderful opportunity to totally rethink what a city looks like, what a house looks like, what a factory looks like.

Yes, it is true that there are some nations, some cultures, that will lose their place.  Pacific island nations and low lying countries like Bangladesh and The Netherlands will be inundated and either cease to exist or become very small and wet.  But the people who live in those places will find new homes in ethnic enclaves in the higher-altitude nations.  I hear Kiribati Cuisine is wonderful but it is so hard to get; in the new post Keystone world, there will be Kiribati restaurants distributed in hilly regions around the world, and the colorful people of Bangladesh will grace our new cities everywhere.  No one can say that we don’t love the Dutch and we will welcome them wherever they are forced to move by the rising sea.

There is one detail of the Keystone XL Pipeline project that I would change. The current plans have the end of the pipeline near the Gulf Coast in Louisiana with another terminus in Texas.  That’s fine, but the engineers designing this pipeline should put big valves “upstream” a ways so that a new outlets of the pipeline can be easily built in areas that are now inland but that will eventually be on the coast of the rising sea.  That only make sense.

Also, I propose that we honor the historical and natural process of the Great Carbon Cycle in another way.  Today we call the sea near New Orleans the Gulf of Mexico, and the great water between North America and Europe the North Atlantic, but really, these regions are the remnant, much reshaped by geological process, of the great Tethys Ocean.  Tethys is the name of the ocean in which this oil originally formed.  As the sea rises to its former glorious heights, filled with the liberated H2O from Greenland and Antarctica, I propose we rename it Tethys.  It is fitting that we do so.

In fact, for the time being, as we await the Great Inundation,  as a matter of respect for history, I recommend that we rename the Keystone XL Pipeline similarly.  Henceforth it should be known as the Tethys Pipeline.  

Sorry about the corals, by the way.



#NOKXL Blogathon: April 12 - April 22, 2013






Poster Credit: Oil Change International and 350.org

#NOKXL Blogathon: April 12 - April 22, 2013



You Can Make a Difference

On March 1, 2013, the United States State Department released a Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS) for the Presidential Permit application for the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.  The SEIS evaluates the potential environmental impacts. The purpose of this campaign is to obtain one million public comments in opposition to building this environmentally-destructive pipeline.  We hope that this blogathon will make submission of public comments easier.

This effort is being coordinated with Bill McKibben of 350.org and in coalition with the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, League of Conservation Voters, Natural Resources Defense Council, Oil Change International, and Bold Nebraska.  


A victim of the recent tar sands oil spill in Mayflower, Arkansas, this bird says it all.  
Photograph being used with permission from Fast For The Earth.

We have an exciting line up of prominent lawmakers, environmental activists, and Daily Kos diarists.  Each one of them will be posting a diary in opposition to the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline. Some guests will be including a brief "sample comment" that readers can copy and submit at the State Department website.  The diaries and "sample comments" can be used as your comments! Readers who have specialized knowledge and skills relating to the pipeline, tar sands, climate change, or the petroleum industry may, of course, choose to create their own comments with additional details.  

Comments written by you are reviewed by our government with no media filter.  Three of our coalition partners will keep track of the number of comments submitted to the U.S. Department of State.

Please submit your comments through one of the below links:

  • "A Million Comments Against Keystone XL" - 350.org will deliver your comments directly to the State Department and has a system set up so that you can customize your comment.
  • "Tell President Obama: Reject Keystone XL!" - Sierra Club has a sample public comment that allows you to personalize your message.
  • "Tell the State Department: #NoKXL" - Oil Change International has a very helpful template to formulate your comments.

    The deadline for submission of public comments is April 22, 2013.

Let your voice be heard.  Our Daily Kos community organizers are Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, boatsie, rb137, JekyllnHyde, Onomastic, citisven, peregrine kate, DWG, and John Crapper, with Meteor Blades as the group's adviser.

Diary Schedule - All Times Pacific

More helpful details are in this diary - DK Blogathon Hosts Eco Coalition in #NOKXL Public Comment Campaign by Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse.  Use hashtag #NOKXL to tweet all diaries posted during this blogathon.

  • Friday, April 12

1:00 pm: #NOKXL Blogathon: Your voice on the Keystone XL pipeline matters by DWG.
3:00 pm: Daniel Kessler, Media Campaigner for 350.org. (will be rescheduled)

  • Saturday, April 13

11:00 am: Keystone XL: a pipeline THROUGH the US, not to it by dturnbull, Campaigns Director of Oil Change International.
1:00 pm: #NOKXL: Dilbit in the Pipeline by Agathena.

  • Sunday, April 14

11:00 am: Keystone XL: Wildlife in the Crosshairs by Target Global Warming, Peter LaFontaine is the Energy Policy Advocate for the National Wildlife Federation.
1:00 pm: #NoKXL: The Future Is In Our Hands; Say No To The XL Pipeline Disaster by beach babe in fl.
3:00 pm: #NoKXL: Guess What's NOT in POTUS' Budget! (Rhymes with Shnipeline) by ericlewis0.

  • Monday, April 15

Note: All diaries for this day were rescheduled due to the Boston Marathon bombings.

  • Tuesday, April 16

8:00 am: KXL will carry as much carbon as all the cars on the West Coast, plus Michigan, NY, and Florida. by Bill McKibben, Founder of 350.org.
12:00 pm: #NoKXL: InsideClimate News Wins Pulitzer for Coverage of Kalamazoo River Dilbit Spill in 2010 by peregrine kate.
2:00 pm: Reject Keystone XL; Our Focus Should Be on Investing in a Sustainable Energy Future by Representative Barbara Lee (D-CA13), Member of the United States House of Representatives.
2:00 pm: #NoKXL: (un)Ethical Pipeline? by A Siegel.
3:00 pm: #NoKXL — The Pipeline To Oblivion: Memes From The Climate Letter Project by WarrenS.

  • Wednesday, April 17

11:00 am: My government doesn't believe in climate change by Tzeporah Berman, Canadian Environmentalist and Co-Founder of Forest Ethics.
1:00 pm: Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Member of the United States Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works.
3:00 pm: Greg Laden.


Please remember to republish these diaries to your Daily Kos Groups.  You can also follow all postings by clicking this link for the Climate Change SOS Blogathon Group. Then, click 'Follow' and that will make all postings show up in 'My Stream' of your Daily Kos page.

Originally posted to Climate Change SOS on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 03:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots, Climate Hawks, Meatless Advocates Meetup, and Holy $h*tters.

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