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Global women leaders urge President Obama to reject Keystone

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Tar Sands Solutions - September 23rd 2013

Dear Mr. President, 

We the undersigned delegates to the 2013 Womens Climate Summit are writing to urge you to reject the TransCanada Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

We were inspired by your second inaugural address, when you promised that “We will respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that failure to do so would betray our children and future generations.”  We were further encouraged when you said, at Georgetown University on June 26, "Our national interest would be served only if this project (Keystone XL] does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution." This is a profound and important criterion for defining national interest, and we congratulate you for recognizing that US interests – like those of every country on earth – are served by tackling of climate change through the reduction of carbon emissions.

We know that no single project causes or constrains climate change. But there is no single project in North America that is more significant than Keystone XL in terms of the carbon emissions it would unleash. As tar sands industry experts and government officials have observed, Keystone XL is crucial for increasing the size and profitability of the tar sands industry in Alberta. The amount of additional carbon that Keystone fuel would release is the equivalent of all the fuel saved by the new efficiency standards for heavy trucks. To offset just the additional emissions from KXL compared to conventional oil, Americans would have to drive 60 billion miles less per year for 50 years. In other words, many of the gains the US has made in reducing oil consumption and the leadership you have shown on climate would be reversed by approval of the pipeline.

The Canadians among the undersigned can attest to the fact that the Government of Canada has no plan to mitigate these additional emissions. In fact Canada has abandoned its climate commitments, has left the Kyoto Agreement and will miss its target of 17% emissions reduction. A country cannot claim to reduce emissions by increasing them, as Canada plans to do with the tar sands of Alberta. In order to do its part to avoid catastrophic warming of over 2 degrees Celsius, Canada must stop its reckless expansion of the tar sands. Keystone XL will encourage such expansion by locking in at least 50 years of dependence on this dirty fuel.

We know that it will be hard to stand up to pressures from the oil industry; that there will always be a reason why any given project is not the right place to take a stand. But if not now, when? A pipeline rejection would be the first occasion we are aware of when a head of state evaluates a long-term infrastructure project on the basis of its climate impact. This is the kind of leadership we long for, and we believe such leadership will unleash other similar decisions around the world.

Climate change affects everyone and everything, but as women and as citizens of the US, Canada and many other countries, we know that the world’s most vulnerable are suffering and will continue to suffer for the failure to act on climate. As women who are already seeing the tragic impacts of climate change on families, on indigenous peoples, and on entire countries, we urge you to choose a better future by rejecting the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

Most respectfully,

Dr Vandana Shiva, Founder Navadanya, India

Maude Barlow, National Chairperson, The Council of Canadians, Canada

Jody Williams, Nobel Women’s Initiative, USA

Tzeporah Berman, BA, MES, LLD (honoris causa), Author, Co-Founder ForestEthics, Canada

Crystal Lameman, Beaver Lake Cree, Canada

Melina Laboucan-Massimo, Lubicon Cree, Canada

Daryl Hannah, Activist and Actor, USA

Lidy B. Nacpil, Coordinator Jubilee South Asia/Pacific Movement on Debt and Development, Philippines

Katherine Lucy, CEO Solar Sister, USA

Hi wot Hailu, WECAN, Ethiopia

Sascha Gabizon, WECF International, Netherlands

Melanie DeMore         local activist                 USA

Malia Nobrega          President, Waikiki HCC         USA,HI

Lucy Mulenkei          community activist             Kenya

Subhashni Raj          PhD student/activist           Fiji

Noelene Nabulivon      Committee Member, DAWN.com     Fiji

Laura Turner Seydel    Chair Captain Planet Fdn.      USA,GA

Kelly Rigg             Executive Director of GCCA  Netherlands

Jody Williams          Chair,Nobel Women's Initiative USA

Sally A Ranney         Co-Founder IWECI               USA

Maira Irigaray         Environmental Activist         Brazil

Osprey Orielle Lake    Co-Founder IWECI               USA

Elle Silverstein Coren Activist                       USA

Alana Conner           Earth Citizen                  USA,CA

Miriam Anne Frank                                     Germany

Gloria Flora           Sustainability Advocate        USA

Sascha Gabizon         Director WECF               Netherlands

Marta Benavides        Director Singlo XXIII       El Salvador

Patricia Glazebrook    Women for Climate Justice      USA

Kyle Van Dyke          Sustainability Activist        USA,NJ

Bronte Hogarth, Social Media, 1Million Women, Australia

Amanda Nesheiwat, Environmental Coordinator, Secaucus, NJ USA

Nia Padilla, Student Conservation Association Leader, Staten Island, NY, USA

Brendan Landry, Student at Ramapo College, Pomona, NY, USA

Alexa Margues, Environmental Educator at Meadowlands Environmental Center, Kearny, NJ, USA

Brour Fadoua, Moroccan Youth Climate Movement/Arab Youth Climate Movement, Morocco

Donovan Falls, Ramapo College, Mahwah, NJ, USA

Bridget Burns, Advocacy and Communications Director, WEDO, USA

Nathalie Eddy, Coordinator, Global Gender & Climate Alliance

Thilmeeza Hussain, Founder, Voice of Women, Maldives

Hindou Oumarou Ibrahim, Chad

Rucha Chitnis, India

Dr Janice Turner, Lenape Tribe, Delaware, USA

Alison Rose Levy, USA

Suzanne York, USA

Pasang Dolma Sherpa, Nepal

Lynn Israel, USA

Lene Holm, Kalaallit Nuuaat, Greenland

Jacqueline Patterson, USA

Colleen Ross, VP National Farmers Union, Canada

Kosha Anja Joubert, President, Global Ecovillage Network, South Africa

Jaskiran Dhillan, Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Education Studies, The New School University, Justice for Girls Advocate, Canada/USA

Sabine Bock, WECF Director, Germany

Casey Camp, Ponca Nation, Oklahoma, USA

Liane Schalatek, Associate Director, Heinrich Boell Stiftung, USA

Natalie Isaacs, 1Million Women, Australia

Shelley H Cohen, Amerseco/NWF, USA

Svitlana Slesarenok, Black Sea Women's Club Leader, Ukraine

Nadezhda Kutepova, Human Rights Defender, Russian NGO The Planet of Hopes, Russia

Emily Saari, Global Call for Climate Action, United States

Tania Hack, Communications Associate, New Zealand

Rosemary Olive Mbone Enie, Cameroon/Tanzania

Neha Misra, Solar Sister, India

Andrea Santy, WWF, USA

Reetu Sogani, India

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