Letter: Paper took wrong stance on Keystone XL pipeline

As a former resident of New Orleans back in the city for the holidays, who left in the aftermath of the flooding caused by Katrina, I was surprised by The Advocate’s stance on Monday, Dec. 30, in wanting to hurry along the Keystone XL pipeline. You saw this as merely a race between the U.S. and China to secure the oil sands resources from our “cousins” in Canada with the “clock ticking.”

There is a countdown going on, however, on a much bigger and more alarming scale than simple pipeline building. The scientific literature on climate change is absolutely clear. We are racing toward environmental catastrophe with our eyes wide open. All serious scientific literature is pointing toward this; even children’s publications are discussing climate change. One would have to be actively ignoring all scientific evidence to avoid discussing the approaching consequences of our unflinching and narrow-minded devotion to fossil fuel extraction.

James Hansen, who directs the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, has described the Canadian oil sands extraction project as “game over for the planet.”

Louisiana is directly affected by this. Oil and gas extraction already has caused massive and continuing coastal land loss, and there is much more to come as sea levels rise, including the loss of New Orleans and other key coastal U.S. and world cities in the future unless we change course immediately.

What should The Advocate’s ethical role representing Louisiana in today’s world be? Your newspaper, as an educator of the people of Louisiana and advocate for our children and grandchildren, should be to fight tooth and nail to promote the development of alternative sources of energy and to campaign for the immediate end to fossil fuel extraction. You should be pushing Louisiana politicians to call gas and oil companies to account for the damage they have caused and to urge the U.S. to be a leader in renewable fuels for the future. Other countries, such as Germany and, ironically, China, are devoting huge resources to this quest and are surpassing U.S. leadership in the field. The clock is ticking indeed — on our planet. If you are to be a serious newspaper, we should be hearing all about this.

Alex Colledge

elementary/middle school administrator