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‘Game over’ for climate stabilization?

Could the hope, by many thousands of young Americans who ringed the White House on November 6 be illusory that an oil pipeline project might be halted for good?
So dire they judged its threats to their future world that postponement of a permit for it, announced a few days later, had seemed to them a sane and just, indeed an inescapable decision.
In the post-peak era of extraction and trade in crude oil, the companies involved reap large profits.
Over the past decade, the top five oil companies made $900 billion in these, Exxon Mobil alone clearing $10 billion in a single quarter. An oil company perchance having to forego such hauls in profits, or even delay their flow, to let environmental threats from a proposed new pipeline be re-examined?
Was these protesters’ hope “drunk” in any such expectation, the TransCanada company may have asked when permit delay was announced by the White House.
During almost four years of planning the Keystone XL pipeline, begun under the administration of President George W. Bush, the company had insisted on routing it through the Nebraska Sandhills and Ogallala aquifer.
Four days after President Obama’s permit postponement, the LA Times reported that the “Keystone pipeline builder [proposed] changing the Nebraska route.”
Much more is at stake than even the considerable risks to water supplies and farmlands the pipeline would traverse.
The burning of fossil fuels being the principal cause of rising levels of greenhouse gases, the cutting of forests is the secondvmajor cause.
The old-growth, northern-latitude boreal forests in particular, and the equatorial rain forests, remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, sequestering and holding it in their trees’ live tissue, in wood, bark and branches, twigs andvroots, even in the slowly decomposing organic matter in forest soil and ground litter.
Their photosynthesis processes act as “scrubbers” for the planet, accumulating and binding large armounts of carbon for centuries.
When they are cut down, burned or otherwise seriously disturbed, “much of this carbon, even soil carbon,” say researchers who study forests’ carbon-sink capacities, “moves back to the atmosphere.”
Additionally to extraordinary amounts of energy and water used to make tar into crude oil, large areas of the Canadian boreal forest are being razed for ease of access to the tar-bearing sand layers underneath.
In a pastoral letter in 2009, the Canadian Catholic bishop whose dioese extends over this region urged that the “moral legitimacy of oil sands production” must be challenged, notably for its destruction of the boreal forest ecosystem and heavy release of greenhouse gases.
In an appeal titled “Silence is Deadly,” in June, the nation’s preeminent climate scientist and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Dr. James Hansen of NASA, stated that “exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.”
He warned that adding tar sands oil to our current fossil fuel consumption would make it “essentially game over” for humanity’s efforts and hope to preserve a livable planet.