Local Author Explores Climate Change, Energy and the Keystone XL Pipeline in New Book

A decision on the fate of the northern section of a pipeline that would transport oil from Canada to the United States isn’t expected for months, but advocates and opponents of the project are still staging demonstrations. A new book by a local author ties in local efforts to raise awareness about climate change with the larger issues surrounding the development of Canadian tar sands and the Keystone XL pipeline.

Sam Avery’s book “The Pipeline and the Paradigm” looks at the issues behind climate change and the U.S. demand for fossil fuels in the context of the pending decision on the northern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline. The pipeline would send oil from the Canadian tar sands through the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico; proponents tout the jobs and energy independence it would bring, but opponents point to the local environmental effects and the implications for climate change.

Avery is an environmental activist and a solar installer in Louisville. He says there’s no disputing the immediate economic effect of the Keystone XL pipeline. But he argues releasing the oil trapped in Canada’s tar sands will create such havoc on the climate that the economic argument is less valid.

“With the Keystone XL pipeline, all of the reasons in favor of it are economic,” he said.” We hear about ‘oh, it’s going to provide jobs, it’s going to provide 840,000 barrels of oil every day.’ These are all good things. But it is a very narrow view of our position in the natural world.”

Avery says one sobering fact he learned when researching his book is that the common assumption that the economy will dictate the end of fossil fuel use is false.

“Where we thought we were running out of fossil fuels, now we have three to five times as much as we need to ruin the climate,” he said. “And what that means is, that totally changes the picture for what we have to do as individual citizens.”

Avery will read from his book and sign copies tomorrow night at 7 p.m. during a Sierra Club meeting at the Clifton Center.

Erica Peterson

Erica Peterson reports on energy and the environment for WFPL.

@ericampeterson

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