Thursday, February 21, 2013

Keystone And The Long Fight

I would recommend reading a recent piece by David Roberts on Grist.  Mr. Roberts takes on critics who say that the environmental movement's focus on the Keystone XL pipeline is "unreasonable".  Although I have worried that the White House may consider Keystone as an easy escape from taking other bold positions to cut fossil fuels and protecting wildlands -- reject Keystone but then compromise on other fossil fuel policies -- I think Mr. Roberts lays out an excellent case for why we have to stake out bold positions, even if it means earning an "unreasonable" label. 

Our wildlands face a serious threat from climate change and continued human destruction.  This calls for "rapid, systemic change," as Mr. Roberts highlights.  This has its own special relevance in the desert -- beyond the need to cut fossil fuels and stem climate change impacts, we also need to demand more from the renewable energy industry.  We need to keep large-scale projects away from pristine desert habitat, and push for the aggressive deployment of distributed solar generation in our cities or on already-disturbed lands.  The most sustainable path probably is not the easiest path, but it will have the least regrets (unless you are a utility company executive!).


Rooftop solar panels adorn a building at the visitor center for the Desert National Wildlife Refuge in Nevada.

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