-By Joe Romm
January 29, 2013- The Senate confirmed John Kerry as a Secretary of State by a vote of 94 to 3. I believe this is a turning point in the fight to stop the Keystone XL pipeline.
Once again, I do not think that a man who had dedicated his Senate career to fighting catastrophic climate change would start his term as Secretary approving the expansion of one of the dirtiest sources of fossil fuels in the world.
Keystone is a gateway to a huge pool of carbon-intensive fuel most of which must be left in the ground — along with most of the world’s coal and unconventional oil and gas – if humanity is to avoid multiple devastating impacts that may be beyond adaptation.
How precisely could Kerry lobby other countries to join an international climate treaty — perhaps his primary goal as Secretary — after enabling the accelerated exploitation of the tar sands? Yes, you can say that the United States already has no standing to cajole other countries into climate commitments when we’ve expanded oil and gas drilling as well as coal exports. But none of those were Kerry’s decision, whereas Keystone is.
Kerry starts as Secretary of State with a clean slate. But approving Keystone would be like dipping that slate into the dirtiest, stickiest tar imaginable — it could never be cleaned again. Certainly the three Senators from Big Oil who voted against him – Ted Cruz (R-TX), John Cornyn (R-TX), and James Inhofe (R-OK) — must think he isn’t going to be the friend to Texas Tea.