Harvard freshman Alli Welton shows how confused our children are.
Welton writes in the Crimson:
According to the International Energy Association, we have five years to seriously slow fossil fuel development, or else all hope of stopping irreversible climate change will be lost. And the IEA is a conservative body, using standards for safe levels of atmospheric CO2 concentration that are often considered too high.
With five years at most to stop climate change, we cannot afford to develop fossil fuels further. Supporters of KXL like to say that it is just one more pipeline and its negative impact on the climate is worth 5000 temporary jobs. Some critics of the anti-KXL movement like pointing out that it would take 1000 years to fully develop the tar sands, arguing that Hansen’s “game over” quote doesn’t apply and KXL isn’t actually that important to climate change.
These arguments all miss the point. We don’t have 1000 years to wait for the tar sands to be completely developed—we have five years until the window of opportunity to combat climate change is “closed forever”, according to Faith Birol, chief economist of the IEA. No pipeline, KXL or otherwise, is “just another pipeline” at this point. Every piece of fossil fuel infrastructure that we build locks us into decades of deadly pollution that we cannot afford.
We have to reverse the trend, stop developing fossil fuels, and power the world using clean, safe energy sources. This vision is not stupid or unrealistic. Engineers at Stanford and UC Davis have found that it would be possible to provide the entire world’s energy needs from clean, safe sources by 2050, keeping energy costs similar to those today. This is not a question of technology or economics—it is a question of political will…
Do you really want to live in a country where corporate fossil fuel dictators steal your health, corrupt your democracy, and destroy your communities and safety for their profits? I don’t. Join me in the movement to win back our country and build a better future.