Nobel Peace Prize Winners Urge Obama to Reject Tar Sands Pipeline

His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, and seven other Nobel Peace Prize winners have written to President Obama calling on him to reject the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

This letter is yet another sign that the world is waiting for President Obama to make the right decision on the pipeline.Image removed.

From these global luminaries to the community leaders along the proposed pipeline route to the prominent climate scientists who have researched the dangers of producing tar sands oil to the more than 1,250 people who were arrested in the sit-in at the White House, people have made it clear that the pipeline is a dangerous move in the wrong direction.

After his announcement last week that he was abandoning stronger limits on air pollution, the president needs to send a clear signal that he values the planet’s future. He can do that by rejecting Keystone XL.

The pipeline would transport dirty tar sands oil—fuel that has three times as much global warming pollution just from its production process as conventional crude. In their letter, the Nobel laureates reminded President Obama of the pledges he made on the campaign trail to combat climate change.

“The night you were nominated for president, you told the world that under your leadership—and working together—the rise of the oceans will begin to slow and the planet will begin to heal.

You spoke of creating a clean energy economy. This is a critical moment to make good on that pledge, and make a lasting contribution to the health and well being of everyone of this planet."

I remember when President Obama received the Nobel Peace Prize. I was thrilled that the Nobel Committee explicitly cited Obama’s efforts to address climate change in their announcement.

And in the president’s first public comments after learning about his award, Obama said, “We cannot accept the growing threat posed by climate change, which could forever damage the world that we pass on to our children -- sowing conflict and famine; destroying coastlines and emptying cities. That's why all nations must now accept their share of responsibility for transforming the way that we use energy."

The Keystone XL pipeline and its dirty tar sands oil cannot coexist with this vision.  

You can send your own message to the president at


Photo credit: Jan Michael Ihl.