As leaders at COP26 decry the devastations brought on by climate change, they continue to allow new oil pipelines to be built at home.

By Ryan Black

Enbridge recently completed the Line 3 pipeline, which will carry up to 760,000 barrels of tar sands oil per day. Now, the company is looking to build a pipeline from Houston to Corpus Christi, TX to meet the ramped-up capacity of the Line 3 pipeline. These plans clearly contradict Enbridge’s continued insistence that Line 3 is a replacement pipeline.

The Line 3 tar sands pipeline is already an unconscionable expansion of fossil fuel infrastructure at a time when the science is clear: we need to reverse the carbon economy’s growth before it’s too late. Line 3 will result in more carbon emissions than the entire state of Minnesota currently produces, roughly equivalent to building 50 new coal-fired power plants.

pipeline under construction

Enbridge’s announcement that they will further expand their tar sands transportation infrastructure comes at a time when world leaders and grassroots activists are gathered in Glasgow for COP26. Leaders are discussing plans to address climate change, including the phasing out of fossil fuels. Any new pipeline on the Texas coast will no doubt be met with resistance from Gulf South communities, many of whom have been hardest hit by fossil-fueled climate disasters.

Activists Strengthen Calls For Climate Action After COP26

As world leaders wrap up the COP26 conference, climate activists are expressing frustration with their unwillingness to directly confront the fossil fuel industry and are strengthening their calls on the Biden administration to take necessary executive action to address the escalating global crisis.

“So far, the White House has made a series of moves to appease the fossil fuel industry — from continuing to approve new drilling and fracking permits to the failure to intervene to stop the dirty Line 3 and Dakota Access pipelines. The White House has also embraced industry scams such as carbon capture and blue hydrogen, which will only prolong our dependence on fossil fuels.” Mitch Jones, policy director at the national advocacy organization Food and Water Watch, said on Friday.

Build Back Better Includes Coal Subsidies

Biden’s signature legislation, Build Back Better, includes nearly 100 investments in climate action, but progressives know it falls short in addressing some aspects of climate change.

Jones critiqued one of the clear issues: “…the administration’s remaining legislative agenda on climate… would even include subsidies to the coal industry, in the form of lucrative tax breaks for carbon capture schemes that are essentially non-existent.”

Unfortunately, Carbon capture technology is an expensive and inefficient climate solution promoted by the fossil fuel industry.

Jones continued, “Everyone can see that the climate provisions of the Build Back Batter Act have been substantially weakened — and there are still doubts about its final passage nonetheless. But it’s important to understand that the fate of climate action does not rest on a handful of recalcitrant Senators or world leaders. There is plenty that President Biden can and must be doing to promote a safe and livable future. Biden must use his executive authority to stop the expansion of fossil fuels, reject industry-friendly scams, and put the full force of his administration behind a transition off fossil fuels.”

With Enbridge set to construct yet another oil pipeline, activists are increasing the pressure on the Biden Administration to take serious action — especially before, as many expect, the GOP wins the House back in 2022, likely ending all chances for substantial climate action for the next several years.