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Archive for September, 2013

two beach housesPORT ISABEL– People will take to the street in front of the Port Isabel Lighthouse on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at 11:00 am in order to draw attention to the projected impacts of climate change on the south Texas coastline.  Members of the Lower Rio Grande Valley Sierra Club, the Environmental Awareness Club at UTPA, and other concerned citizens want to show coastal residents and beachgoers exactly what the projected three-foot sea level rise means for Port Isabel and South Padre Island and how extracting and burning more fossil fuels will only lead to a greater catastrophe. They join citizens who are gathering Saturday all around the U.S. to express their wish to protect the natural environment and preserve a livable planet for the next generation.

Participants will be wearing snorkels and scuba gear, life-vests and floaties with signs asking “can you swim?” to illustrate the threat of rising waters.  People who stop will be able to take their photo in a “carnival cutout” that shows just how high the Gulf waters are expected to rise.

Laguna Vista resident Rob Nixon said, “Sea level rise is the elephant in the room when it comes to the Valley’s coastal communities.  The fact is that we’re sure to lose much of our beach within the next 40 years, and with it some of our beachfront property.  Yet, ill-advised developments are still going forward, relying on taxpayers to foot the bill for the destruction that’s sure to occur.  By 2100, the remaining land on the island could be subject to being overwashed by the sea during storm surges, and our coastline could be unrecognizable.”

Conservative estimates place sea level rise in the Gulf at three-feet by 2100, which would submerge the beaches and low-lying land around the bay.  But scientists say that without curtailing emissions of heat-trapping gases, global sea level rise could be much greater, as 70% of the world’s fresh water is held by ice caps in Greenland and the Antarctic that are now melting.   Warming seas will expand, adding to sea level rise.  If we continue to burn dirty fossil fuels that warm the planet, our coastal communities could be washed away.

That is why Valley environmentalists are joining “Draw the Line,” a national day of action demanding that President Obama deny the permit for Keystone XL tar sands pipeline,  The pipeline would carry tar sands oil from the boreal forests of Alberta, Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast where it would be refined and exported.  Independent analysts, environmentalists, and the tar sands industry all agree that Keystone XL will increase emissions and is the lynchpin to the industry’s stated goal of increasing production from today’s 2 million barrels per day (bpd) to 6 million bpd by 2030.[1]  Over the project’s 50-year lifetime, Keystone XL would add between 935 million and 1.2 billion metric tons of carbon pollution to our atmosphere[2] at a time when the World Bank and International Energy Administration are warning that some 66 percent of known fossil fuel reserves must be kept in the ground if we are to have even a small chance at stopping the climate crisis and minimizing sea level rise.

Keeping fossil fuels in the ground is good for our Valley communities.  When we invest in clean energy and energy efficiency instead, we reduce energy costs, create millions of new jobs, clean up our air and water, ensure healthier and more prosperous communities, and combat climate change at the same time.

The National Call to Action, called “Draw the Line,” featured scores of creative events, with large rallies planned in areas already affected by climate change and demonstrations against pollution from big oil at refineries across the country.

A full list of events and photos are available at http://act.350.org/event/draw_the_line/ 


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