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updated: 5/24/2013 10:09 AM

Use of fossil fuels hurts the poor most

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This is in response to Gerald Aleksy's May 9 letter criticizing a protester of the Keystone XL pipeline. Mr. Aleksy begins by claiming, "Many qualified scientists dismiss this global warming hysteria." I very much wish this were true, but the fact is that 97 percent of climate experts agree humans are causing global warming.

Mr. Aleksy goes on to express concern for poor, blue-collar workers who are hurt by high fuel costs. But the Keystone XL pipeline isn't the solution. Research has shown that the pipeline's major purpose is not to provide oil for the U.S., but to serve as an export pipeline fueling international markets.

The sharp rise in economic disparity in this country is a huge and growing problem, but the solutions are much more complicated than cheap fuel. In truth, climate change is the greatest social justice issue of our time, as it hits the poorest and most vulnerable in our societies the hardest. Recent studies show that Superstorm Sandy punished low-income people in New York and New Jersey, especially renters who are now at risk of being unable to find new homes. And as droughts destroy crops and food price rise, it is the poorest among us who feel it most.

Meanwhile, the fossil fuel industry uses its billions in profits to suppress the truth about climate change and stifle innovations in renewable energy. That's why I too went to D.C. to protest the Keystone XL pipeline. We owe it to our children to learn the truth about climate change and make the shift to clean energy.

Janet McDonnell

Arlington Heights

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