350 South Florida enthusiastically welcomes President Obama’s decision today to finally reject the Keystone XL Pipeline. Even without Keystone, South Florida will experience dramatic impacts due to climate change and sea level rise in the near future. But the decision by the President and the State Department sends a powerful signal that our nation and the rest of nations of the world as a whole must begin to move away from fossil fuels and toward renewable sources. Likewise, leaders in Tallahassee should heed the scientific data as well as the popular will and common sense of the vast majority of the people of Florida with policies that work toward a sustainable future and away from disastrous dirty energy projects like Keystone XL.
Yes, we celebrate the Obama Administration's rejection of Keystone. But let's remember that this single effort, which essentially began in 2010, took the extraordinary efforts and mass arrests of activists 5 years to accomplish, combating both the politics and the policies of the administration the whole time. We simply do not have any more time to waste on politicians and political parties who should have been on the right side of this issue long ago.
Keystone XL may be dead, but the "All Of The Above" policy that drives increased oil and gas production toward our civil collapse is still very much alive, as evidenced by the President's speech. It's the policy that's the problem. And just as with civil rights movement of the 60's, a "go-slow" policy like All Of The Above that doesn’t address the issue head-on is just not acceptable from any political party now, just as it was not then.
Just this past week, the South Florida Regional Climate Compact revised its official projections about sea level rise. Those experts are now saying that we can expect a 6-10 inch increase in sea levels in South Florida by 2030. That’s nearly double their last estimates. What that means is that as things are today, we can expect ~at the minimum~ a complete devastation of the South Dade agricultural area in the next 15 years. You can’t grow crops in salt water. As the President said in his address, “"Ultimately if we’re going to prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable, but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we’re going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them. … If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it's too late, the time to act is now, not later, not someday; right here, right now."
That means no more go-slow attitudes and outright denials for the sake of political expediency and short-term profits. We need to begin to address all the issues that accompany sea level rise in South Florida. We need to talk about affordable housing, and public transportation, and living wages, not just pumps and elevated parking for people with luxury cars and condos. Will Broward and Palm Beach Counties welcome our climate refugees from South Dade? Where are people going to go? Yet we continue to spend more money on animal control than we do on climate change.
To quote President Obama:
“If we want to prevent the worst effects of climate change before it's too late, the time to act is now, not later, not someday; right here, right now."Nature Always Wins.