Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Kerry's State Department Ignored Obama's Climate Action Plan

USA CO2 Emissions. Click to enlarge.
In 2009, President Obama made a commitment to reduce U.S. greenhouse gases by 17 percent by 2020.  The Obama administration put this forward as the U.S. share of a global effort to limit climate change to no more than two degrees Celsius - the target scientists tell us may be safe. Achieving this target, which has been unanimously agreed on a global level, is central to the success of President Obama's Climate Action Plan, announced in June of last year.

It is therefore shocking to realize that the State Department completely failed to take this target into account when evaluating the climate impacts of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The State Department's Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Study (FSEIS) of the Keystone XL pipeline used three future U.S. energy scenarios developed by the Department of Energy.  None of these scenarios modeled a world in which the United States meets its stated goal of limiting climate change to less than two degrees Celsius (3.6 F), despite the fact that even these flawed models revealed that the carbon impact of the pipeline could equal as much as 5.7 million cars each year.

In fact, all of the scenarios used by the State Department result in emissions that put us on a path to 6 degrees C (11 F) of global warming according to the International Energy Agency (IEA).  IEA Chief Economist Fatih Birol described 6 degrees as nothing short of "a catastrophe for all of us."

Kerry's State Department Ignored Obama's Climate Action Plan

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