Five Corners demonstration protests Keystone pipeline

Five Corners demonstration protests Keystone pipeline

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From left: Alden Besse, Chris Rigger, and Chris Fried of the group 350 Martha’s Vineyard Island protest the Keystone XL pipeline.

Braving sleet and snow Monday, about 12 people from the environmental group 350 Martha’s Vineyard Island (350 MVI) held an hour-long vigil at the Five Corners intersection to demand that President Barack Obama reject the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline.

The $5.4 billion pipeline would carry crude oil from tar sands in western Canada to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

The Vineyard demonstration was one of hundreds of similar rallies across the country Monday urging President Obama to reject the pipeline.

“We’re trying to get the word out so that people will know that there are many people on the Vineyard who are concerned about the environment,” said Chris Fried, a member of 350 MVI. “It’s a huge project to build and maintain such a pipeline with the potential of doing some very serious damage. We don’t think that the Keystone pipeline is a necessary pipeline.”

Pipeline supporters say it will create thousands of jobs and move the U.S. toward North American energy independence.

The project needs a “presidential permit” from the State Department, because the pipeline would run across the U.S. border from Canada.

Comments

  1. First, Chris, a dozen is not “many” on an island of 17,000. And every environmental oversight group has approved the Keystone Pipeline project as benign to the environment. But I applaud the effort, given the weather, more proof that “global warming” is not a true concern.

    1. It is definitely counter-intuitive to be out protesting climate change where warm weather is predicted in the future and you are in the middle of a snowstorm. But this account from Co2now.org explains the relationship between weather and climate… So here it is.

      The IPCC explains… Climate Change & Weather

      IPCC FAQ 1.2

      What is the Relationship between Climate Change and Weather?

      “While many factors continue to influence climate, scientists have determined that human activities have become a dominant force, and are responsible for most of the warming observed over the past 50 years….As climate changes, the probabilities of certain types of weather events are affected. For example, as Earth’s average temperature has increased, some weather phenomena have become more frequent and intense (e.g., heat waves and heavy downpours), while others have become less frequent and intense (e.g., extreme cold events)…”Climate is generally defined as average weather, and as such, climate change and weather are intertwined. Observations can show that there have been changes in weather, and it is the statistics of changes in weather over time that identify climate change. While weather and climate are closely related, there are important differences. A common confusion between weather and climate arises when scientists are asked how they can predict climate 50 years from now when they cannot predict the weather a few weeks from now.

      Meteorologists put a great deal of effort into observing, understanding and predicting the day-to-day evolution of weather systems. Using physics-based concepts that govern how the atmosphere moves, warms, cools, rains, snows, and evaporates water, meteorologists are typically able to predict the weather successfully several days into the future. A major limiting factor to the predictability of weather beyond several days is a fundamental dynamical property of the atmosphere. In the 1960s, meteorologist Edward Lorenz discovered that very slight differences in initial conditions can produce very different forecast results.

      FAQ 1.2, Figure 1. Schematic view of the components of the climate system, their processes and interactions.

      This is the so-called butterfly effect: a butterfly flapping its wings (or some other small phenomenon) in one place can, in principle, alter the subsequent weather pattern in a distant place. At the core of this effect is chaos theory, which deals with how small changes in certain variables can cause apparent randomness in complex systems.

      Nevertheless, chaos theory does not imply a total lack of order. For example, slightly different conditions early in its history might alter the day a storm system would arrive or the exact path it would take, but the average temperature and precipitation (that is, climate) would still be about the same for that region and that period of time. Because a significant problem facing weather forecasting is knowing all the conditions at the start of the forecast period, it can be useful to think of climate as dealing with the background conditions for weather. More precisely, climate can be viewed as concerning the status of the entire Earth system, including the atmosphere, land, oceans, snow, ice and living things (see Figure 1) that serve as the global background conditions that determine weather patterns. An example of this would be an El Niño affecting the weather in coastal Peru. The El Niño sets limits on the probable evolution of weather patterns that random effects can produce. A La Niña would set different limits.

      Another example is found in the familiar contrast between summer and winter. The march of the seasons is due to changes in the geographical patterns of energy absorbed and radiated away by the Earth system. Likewise, projections of future climate are shaped by fundamental changes in heat energy in the Earth system, in particular the increasing intensity of the greenhouse effect that traps heat near Earth’s surface, determined by the amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Projecting changes in climate due to changes in greenhouse gases 50 years from now is a very different and much more easily solved problem than forecasting weather patterns just weeks from now. To put it another way, long-term variations brought about by changes in the composition of the atmosphere are much more predictable than individual weather events. As an example, while we cannot predict the outcome of a single coin toss or roll of the dice, we can predict the statistical behaviour of a large number of such trials.

      While many factors continue to influence climate, scientists have determined that human activities have become a dominant force, and are responsible for most of the warming observed over the past 50 years. Human-caused climate change has resulted primarily from changes in the amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, but also from changes in small particles (aerosols), as well as from changes in land use, for example. As climate changes, the probabilities of certain types of weather events are affected. For example, as Earth’s average temperature has increased, some weather phenomena have become more frequent and intense (e.g., heat waves and heavy downpours), while others have become less frequent and intense (e.g., extreme cold events).

      The chaotic nature of weather makes it unpredictable beyond a few days. Projecting changes in climate (i.e., long-term average weather) due to changes in atmospheric composition or other factors is a very different and much more manageable issue. As an analogy, while it is impossible to predict the age at which any particular man will die, we can say with high confidence that the average age of death for men in industrialised countries is about 75. Another common confusion of these issues is thinking that a cold winter or a cooling spot on the globe is evidence against global warming. There are always extremes of hot and cold, although their frequency and intensity change as climate changes. But when weather is averaged over space and time, the fact that the globe is warming emerges clearly from the data.

    2. Are you suggesting that “many” people on the Island DO NOT care about the environment James? I suggest you read the story again.

      1. As I mentioned, the Keystone Pipeline has nothing to do with the environment. It just bring petroleum down to the Gulf refineries. No hazard happens, just like the Alaska pipeline. When the oil companies suggested the Alaska pipeline, environmentalists freaked out. The pipeline was built anyway, with careful regard to the reindeer and the permafrost. No damage has happened. The Keystone pipeline will do nothing about the demand for oil and gasoline. If we don’t get it from our neighbors in Canada, we’ll get it from our (almost) enemies in the Middle East. Which do you prefer?

        1. “As I mentioned”… No. You mentioned nothing of the sort. You ‘misquoted and misinterpreted’ the story.

  2. I believe you can be concerned about the environment and not believe the Keystone XL Pipeline represents a significant risk. Protest without valid research is troublesome no matter which side of an issue you support.