December 11, 2014

Sec. Kerry Strengthens Case Against Keystone XL at COP20

Lima — Communications Director Jamie Henn issued the following reaction to Secretary of State John Kerry’s speech at the UN Climate Talks in Lima, Peru:

“Secretary Kerry sure sounded like someone who was gearing up to reject Keystone XL. By invoking the precautionary principle and the need to transition to clean energy, Secretary Kerry has left himself no logical option except to recommend President Obama say no to to this dirty tar sands pipeline.”

Secretary Kerry didn’t mention the pipeline, but he made all the right arguments against it. He cited the global threat of climate change, the costs associated with dirty fuels, and the economic opportunity of a clean energy economy–and he called on citizens to make climate change an issue that elected officials cannot ignore. We’re doing our part, now he must do his.

It would be deeply hypocritical for the United States to call on developing countries to move away from dirty fuels, only to approve a pipeline that would carry 800,000 barrels a day of tar sands oil, the dirtiest fuel on the face of the planet.

Fancy words are worth nothing if they aren’t backed up with action. Secretary Kerry called on countries to put forward ‘clear’ and ‘concrete’ steps to show they were serious about addressing the climate crisis. Rejecting Keystone XL should be at the top of the US list.”

Secretary Kerry’s speech will also add momentum to the growing fossil fuel divestment campaign that has spread to hundreds of public institutions around the world:

“Secretary Kerry made a strong case for fossil fuel divestment, citing the hidden social costs of fossil fuels and the incredible opportunity of investing in a clean energy economy. His words will energize divestment campaigners in the United States and around the world.”