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Truth between the Lines: The “BREAKING: Keystone XL pipeline rejected!” announcement circulated by 350.org

Wrong Kind of Green

November 8, 2015

 

Wrong Kind of Green responses follow 350.org remarks in bold red text. Emphasis have been left as in the original 350.org text.

 

From: Bill McKibben and 350.org’s Keystone XL Team <350@350.org>
Date: Fri, Nov 6, 2015 at 11:17 AM
Subject: BREAKING: Keystone XL pipeline rejected!
Friends,

We just made history together. 4 years to the day after we surrounded the White House, President Obama has rejected the Presidential Permit for the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline! WKOG: Framing: This introduction implies symbolic state sanctioned protests are effective in the war against genocide.

This is huge. WKOG: This has had no impact on the production of crude oil which continues to break records.

A head of state has never rejected a major fossil fuel project because of its climate impacts before. WKOG: The fossil fuel project was not rejected for its climate impacts. This is simply political posturing as the pipeline is not needed. The sections of the Keystone XL pipeline that were needed were built and put into operation long ago (June 2010, February 2011). Alternate pipelines have been approved with little to no dissent from the non-profit industrial complex. The President’s decision sets the standard for what climate action looks like: standing up to the fossil fuel industry, and keeping fossil fuels in the ground. WKOG: The fossil fuel industry is alive and well (as there remains zero focus on consumption), the fossil fuels are not being kept in the ground. They continue to be produced and brought to the market by rail and alternate pipelines.

“Now, under my administration, America is producing more oil today than at any time in the last eight years.  (Applause.)  That’s important to know.  Over the last three years, I’ve directed my administration to open up millions of acres for gas and oil exploration across 23 different states.  We’re opening up more than 75 percent of our potential oil resources offshore.  We’ve quadrupled the number of operating rigs to a record high.  We’ve added enough new oil and gas pipeline to encircle the Earth and then some..” — US President Barack Obama, March 22, 2012 [Source]

Make no mistake: this victory belongs to us, the movement. President Obama’s courage today is a reflection of the courage shown by thousands of people who have sat in, marched, organized, (and opened a lot of emails) across North America against this pipeline. WKOG: Framing Obama as courageous is disingenuous (or delusional) at best. Those who deserve credit, gratitude and respect (those on the front lines) continue to be impacted by pollution, toxins, prostitution, drugs and the many negative aspects of oil booms and industry. This fight started with First Nations in Canada where the tar sands are extracted, and spread to farmers, ranchers and tribal nations along the pipeline route. Since then people from all walks of life have joined hands against Keystone, and the 830,000 barrels per day of destructive tar sands oil it would have carried through the country to be burned. WKOG: The victory does not belong to 350 et al., an arm of the elites by whom they are financed. Rather, the non-profit industrial complex co-opts the legitimate fight of those on the front lines only in to project faux credibility and faux legitimacy. The timing is both strategic and critical as this faux credibility is needed by 350 et al. as they take our hand and lead us to the future of assigning value to nature (payments for ecosystem services or PES) under the guise of climate solutions and a “new economy” as we approach COP21, Paris. Further, the “830,000 barrels per day of destructive tar sands oil it would have carried through the country to be burned” are being transported via rail having resulted in the deaths of 47 people in Lac Megantic, Quebec, Canada and two deaths in a separate crude via rail derailment (who join those on the front lines as the invisible). Crude via rail derailments, which have been staggering in number, has also caused untold destruction to our already deteriorating ecosystems.

Together, we have shown what it takes to win: a determined, principled, unrelenting grassroots movement that takes to the streets whenever necessary, and isn’t afraid to put our bodies on the line. WKOG: 350, a multi-million dollar international NGO is not a grassroots movement. This is yet another prime example of co-optation. Only those on the front lines have ever put their “bodies on the line”. The “win”, the “victory” belongs to industry whose rape and pillage continues uninterrupted with a public thinking they have “won”. To believe we have “won” without tackling consumption of fossil fuels and the western lifestyle (which is a detriment to the world), is a win for those who finance the non-profit industrial complex and depend on both expansion of capital and perpetual growth.

Politicians in Washington DC didn’t make this happen. Our movement did. We want to thank everyone who has been a part of this campaign — from calling Congress to getting arrested on the White House fence. WKOG: This move was strategic by both state and industry. It was not the state bending or bowing to the will of the people. This does not mean those on the front lines who fought do not deserve credit. They do. Yet reality and truth must be acknowledged if we are to truly win our struggles and ultimately end genocide. State sanctioned arrests are simply PR for organizations such as 350.org.

You can join us in appreciating everyone who made this day possible by co-signing our thank you card to the movement — we’ll deliver personalized versions of the card with your messages to everyone who has led or attended an action against Keystone XL since 2011. Click here to sign the thank you card to the #NoKXL Movement.

Powered by our organizing, the tide is turning against the fossil fuel industry — every major new project they propose is being met by organized opposition on the ground, and politicians are lining up to stand behind our movement and say that we must keep the vast majority of fossil fuels underground. WKOG: Powered by the organizing of the NPIC at the bequest of their funders, society is assisting in the expansion of capital while being led to believe the opposite. This is true in the case of “renewable energies” which are not clean, are carbon based and carbon dependent (to be used by the wealthy 1% creating 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions, which is to say, anyone who can afford to get on a plane). This is also true of the “new economy” now being implemented, whereby we assign monetary value to Earth’s remaining resources and assign corporations as the new “stewards” of our natural environment. To say “politicians are lining up to stand behind our movement and say that we must keep the vast majority of fossil fuels underground” as the United States leads in the destabilizing, illegal invasions and full out annihilation of sovereign states throughout the Middle East, Africa, and the globe, for oil, rare earth minerals and Earth’s natural resources, is nothing more than dangerous propaganda denying (and at the same time highlighting) racism and class.

Resistance is growing because the fossil fuel industry is more reckless than ever: from Texas where the Southern leg of Keystone XL pumps toxic tar sands, to Alberta where Big Oil foolishly plans to expand its mines, to California where they want to frack during a historic drought, to the enormous coal pits of Appalachia and Australia. WKOG: The intent behind marketing the idea that “resistance is growing because the fossil fuel industry is more reckless than ever” is to lead society to a third industrialized revolution, that of “renewable energy” in a world where growth has stagnated and capitalism, dependent on perpetual uninterrupted growth, is in trouble. Both a global transition to “renewable energies” and payments for ecosystem services create potential mass markets for capitalism to continue unabated. Note that 350 never mentioned the key sections of KXL that were built and in operation until it became common knowledge due to the perseverance of grass roots activists and those on the front lines. Also note that crude via rail was rarely if ever mentioned by the NGOS within the non-profit industrial complex (including 350.org) until after the Lac Megantic tragedy. One can safely assume this is due to the 26 million dollars (2003-2011) funneled into the Tides Foundation (which distributes funds to the tar sands campaigns) via the Buffett families NGO NoVo. Also note zero reference to the enormous lithium pits which are imperative to “renewable energy”.

We have more tools than ever to work with. A strong fossil fuel resistance is already taking shape across the globe. Since we began fighting Keystone XL, the movement for divestment from fossil fuels has grown into a global powerhouse able to move tens of billions of dollars and undercut the social license of the fossil fuel industry. Fracking bans have stopped drilling in towns, counties and now whole states across the country. Communities are seizing their energy futures by demanding 100% renewable power in record numbers. WKOG: Fracking bans were won by the hard work of grassroots groups who resisted the co-optation by the NGOS within the NPIC. NGOs serve their funders first and foremost. Recall that 1Sky (which merged with 350 in 2011) was a incubator NGO of Rockefeller Foundation which, with the United Nations Global Compact has launched a new framework to address climate change. The NPIC is assigned and financed to have society acclimatize and acquiesce to the solutions that protect power and capital. Solutions already designed and agreed upon that patiently await implementation by the elites.

And when world leaders meet in Paris later this year, they’ll do so knowing what our movement can do, and what climate action really looks like: keeping fossil fuels in the ground. WKOG: Bolivia, the G77 and other nations on the front lines of climate change demonstrated what “climate action really looks like” back in 2009 at COP15 when they demanded the radical emission targets necessary in order to keep their citizens alive. These positions were grossly undermined and made invisible by the non-profit industrial complex. In 2010 Bolivia’s Indigenous Peoples were again undermined by 350.org at The World People’s Conference on Climate Change hosted by the state of Bolivia. The declaration traduced by this conference was also buried by the non-profit industrial complex. Further, world “leaders” such as Obama, serve capital not people. They respond to force and threats to capital and growth, not passiveness and admiration. “Nobody in the world, nobody in history, has ever gotten their freedom by appealing to the moral sense of the people who were oppressing them.” — Assata Shakur

Today we can approach all of our work with new eyes. We know that we can fight, and we can win.

This isn’t just a victory for the climate movement — it’s a victory for everyone who believes in the power of organized people, from the streets of Missouri, to the border crossings of Arizona, to the hills of South Dakota and Nebraska. WKOG: Note that there is not a single reference in this announcement to the crude via rail 21st century empire built by Barrack Obama’s financial advisor and billionaire Warren Buffett (while all eyes were on the KXL). Note not a single reference to the consumption/lifestyles by those of privilege (350 target audience) as though the oil being produced simply has vanishes into mid air after it is produced and delivered to market. Nor does 350/McKibben address the capitalist economic system that perpetuates the consumption and enslaves us all. Via spectacle, 350 et al perpetuate society’s accelerating decline into a culture incapable of employing the critical thought process so desperately needed at this juncture.

Click. Like. But don’t think. It’s divisive.

Together, we’re on the path to real, substantive change.

With joy, and immense gratitude,

The 350.org Keystone XL pipeline fighting team:

Bill, Cam, Clayton, David, Deirdre, Duncan, Jamie, Jason, Joshua, Linda, Matt, May, Phil, Rae and Sara

 

2 Comments

  • Aryt Alasti on Nov 19, 2015

    Is it not the case that rail transport is more costly and has lesser capacity? Also, the publicity about Keystone and other pipelines no doubt contributed to an evolution of thinking amongst the voters in Canada, without which Trudeau wouldn’t have been elected.

    350.org has at least one staffer who’s from a Canadian First Nation, and who works closely with those communities. That’s the case in Pacific island countries as well. There haven’t been any protests from indigenous groups that I’m aware of about 350.org’s approach being unacceptable. I suppose they’re all brainwashed as well?

    How far do you suppose a campaign would have gotten telling people that since there’s no adequate means of supplying energy other than fossil fuels, you’ll just have to constrain your usage sufficiently so that the planet doesn’t cook?

    Tom Steyer has divested his own money from Farralon, and is no longer working for that company. Divestment activists know full well that there’s a lot of hedge-fund and private-equity investment in fossil fuels (including by college and university endowments), and furthermore, that much of reserves are held by sovereign companies unaffected by stock trading, but those owners *are* affected by a global dialogue about stranded assets and all the other climate issues, which would not be whatsoever in the consciousness of the public and politicians were 350.org and other such NGO’s not doing such an effective job of creating discourse. That’s the true purpose of the divestment campaign, often simplistically categorized as “shaming.” People aren’t quite as simple-minded as you would like to believe.

  • Jay Toups on Nov 09, 2015

    Well done, WKOG. I’ve never been a fan of the 350.org’s cherry-picked approach to “fighting climate change.” Fanning (and monetizing) the flames of public discontent while never taking the “flock” to task for their own wastrel behaviors as consumers has done little to stem the tide, either from the use of fossil energy, or the rampant externalization of society’s wastes to the environment, jettisoned from nearly every orifice, be it trash cans, toilets, tailpipes or smokestacks.

    Good work you’re doing, thanks. There’s lots of the wrong kind of green in the world and it tends to obscure the real work involved in regreening the planet. It is far more thankless work than whipping up sentiment against the “bad people.”