Saturday, November 15, 2014

Why the U.S.-China Climate Deal Makes Keystone XL Pipeline an Even Worse Idea

In an unusual good-news, bad-news moment, we learned of the game-changing U.S.-China climate deal on the same day Senate Democrats announced they will bring up a vote on the controversial Keystone XL Pipeline.

Significantly, the China deal makes a global climate treaty in 2015 “very likely,” as the UK Foreign Office’s climate adviser has explained.  And that makes the pipeline a much worse idea, because it would compromise U.S. emissions targets and undermine the ultimate goal of a treaty, which is to stabilize carbon pollution at non-catastrophic levels.

Even before the deal, that KXL tar sands pipeline was a bad idea.  It would be a gateway to a huge pool of carbon-intensive fuel in Canada, most of which must be left in the ground — along with most of the world’s coal and unconventional oil and gas –- if humanity is to avoid multiple devastating impacts that may be beyond adaptation.

Until now, the “best” argument for KXL from a climate perspective was basically “we can’t stop tar sands oil from being exported, and, besides, we’re doomed, so it doesn’t matter.” Amazingly, that was pretty much what the State Department assumed in order to give KXL a pass in its absurd final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).  As Climate Progress has reported, State’s FEIS, released in January, had concluded that Keystone XL would be “unlikely to significantly impact the rate of extraction in the oil sands.”

That conclusion rested on the untenable assumption that all the oil carried by the pipeline would get out of Canada using other methods, which other analyses dispute.  You also had to believe that if we approved the pipeline, it wouldn’t speed up tar sands development with Canada building KXL and then still employing all of those other methods for exporting tar sands.  That also defied logic.

Finally, a 2014 Carbon Tracker Initiative study noted that in all of the scenarios in the FEIS of future U.S. CO2 emissions if KXL is approved, America fails to meet basic targets needed to stabilize global CO2 levels.  The study noted, “one key takeaway of this analysis is that the scenarios modeled in the FEIS appear incompatible with a 2°C carbon-constrained world.”

Read More at Why the U.S.-China Climate Deal Makes Keystone XL Pipeline an Even Worse Idea

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