WASHINGTON – Ten Nobel Peace Prize Laureates today urged U.S. President Obama to deny the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, citing the moral imperative of protecting some of the world’s most vulnerable populations from the devastating effects of climate change. The Laureates include Archbishop Desmond Tutu, former President Jimmy Carter and landmine activist Jody Williams.
“You stand on the brink of making a choice that will define your legacy on one of the greatest challenges humanity has ever faced – climate change,” the Nobel Laureates write in a letter sent to the President, and Secretary of State John Kerry. “History will reflect on this moment and it will be clear to our children and grandchildren if you made the right choice…. We urge you to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.”
This is the first time Jimmy Carter, U.S. President from 1977-1981, and 2002 Nobel Peace Prize recipient, has joined Nobel peace prize winners in raising his voice in opposition to the controversial pipeline. Several Nobel Peace Prize winners—including landmine activist Jody Williams and Archbishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa— have previously written to Obama urging him to reject the controversial pipeline.
In their letter, the Nobel Laureates assert that Keystone XL is the linchpin to driving massive expansion of tar sands oil, some of the dirtiest oil on the planet. That, in turn, would add billions of tons of new carbon pollution to the atmosphere and worsen climate change.
Rejecting Keystone XL would have a significant and meaningful impact on reducing carbon pollution because tar sands oil won’t necessarily be developed without this pipeline, they write. It also would send a powerful message to the world.
“As you near a decision on the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline, please do not underestimate its importance. A rejection would signal a new course for the world’s largest economy. You know as well as us the power of precedence that this would set,” the letter states. “This leadership by example would usher in a new era where climate change and pollution is given the urgent attention and focus it deserves in a world where the climate crisis is already a daily struggle for so many.”
The Nobel Laureates note they stand in solidarity with the two million voices who have sent comments to the U.S. State Department in opposition to Keystone XL. In addition, this month more than 200 business owners, and more than 100 scientists and economists also have sent letters to Obama and Kerry pressing for rejection of the project.
To read the full letter, click here:
The groups issuing this release are: Environmental Defence, Nobel Women’s Initiative, Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club.
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For more information, or to arrange an interview, contact :
Naomi Carniol, Environmental Defence, 416-323-9521 ext 258 ; 416-570-2878 (cell); ncarniol@environmentaldefence.ca
Zuzia Danielski, Nobel Women’s Initiative, 613-569-8400, ext 114; zdanielski@nobelwomensinitiative.org;
Elizabeth Heyd, Natural Resources Defense Council, 202-289-2424, eheyd@nrdc.org;
Mark Westlund, Sierra Club, 415-977-5719, mark.westlund@sierraclub.org