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Two Victories and One More to Come

Significant events precede the United Nations Climate Conference

By Andy McCormick

As the world moves toward the UN Climate Conference to be held in Paris from November 30 to December 11, President Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline, Shell pulled out of the Arctic Ocean and Eastside Audubon began divesting from fossil fuel investments.

Obama Rejects Keystone XL

In early November President Obama rejected the Keystone XL Pipeline saying that the tar sands oil which it would transport is not needed in the mix for future energy production. He also said that the time to act is now and that we have to begin to make decisions that will keep fossil fuels in the ground. Climate scientists by far agree that if all the fossil fuel still buried, if it could be extracted at a reasonable cost, would produce enough carbon dioxide to create such severe climate change that the earth would change in profound ways making life as we know it impossible. President Obama responded to the seven years of protest and education by conservationists to reject the pipeline.

Shell Pulls Out of the Arctic Ocean

After a year of planning, repairs to its drilling platform ship, and spending billions of dollars, Royal Dutch Shell has decided that drilling for oil in the Arctic Ocean is no longer for them. President Obama’s support for the Shell permit was opposed by Burrowing Owl, by Mick Thompsonconservation organizations, but now seems to have worked in favor of the environment. Shell was not prohibited from drilling there, but has decided on its own that it is not worth the time and money. They also knew that they would be hindered by protesters as they were in Seattle and Portland by demonstrators who blocked the ship with kayaks and hung from a bridge in Portland.

EAS Divesting from Fossil Fuels

Eastside Audubon Society submitted a resolution to the Audubon Council of Washington (ACOW) advising all 25 chapters in Washington State to divest from fossil fuels to support the campaign led by That organization has as a goal to keep the saturation level of carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere to 350 parts per million (ppm). CO2 is now averaging 400 ppm. Keeping the level down to 350 ppm will keep the average global temperature from rising above 2 degrees Centigrade and help keep global climate change at manageable levels. Preliminary reports from Audubon chapters indicate the resolution will pass. It will be placed before the ACOW at its December telephone conference meeting.

Photo: Burrowing Owl, by Mick Thompson. This bird's habitat will be significantly affected by climate change per the Audubon's Bird and Climate Change Report.

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The mission of Eastside Audubon is to protect, preserve and enhance natural ecosystems and our communities for the benefit of birds, other wildlife and people.