Keystone Pipeline Will Impact Climate Change, State Department Reports
…So the State Department has dug more deeply into the issue of greenhouse gases (pdf) as well and announced today that the Keystone XL pipeline would increase greenhouse gas emissions. Oil from Alberta’s tar sands is one of the most polluting kinds of oil, the report notes, thanks to the energy cost of producing it in the first place as well as the pet coke and other byproducts that end up getting burned as well. The State Department also noted that just running the pipeline for a year once built would result in the same greenhouse gas pollution as roughly 300,000 cars over the same time span, and that the oil carried by the pipeline could add as much as 27 million metric tons of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere each year, most of that from its ultimate use as fuel.
As one of the scientists opposing the pipeline put it:
Even the very conservative estimate of my climate scientist colleague Andrew Weaver, which by some gentle critiques leaves out extra fossil fuel emissions resulting from tar sands extraction, is dire: extracting and burning all of the Keystone-targeted oil would likely result in approximately 0.4C of additional warming. Add that to the observed 1C warming and the additional 0.5C committed warming, and we’ve only got about 0.1 degrees Celsius to spare before we hit that dangerous limit.
Indeed, given the underlying uncertainties, those estimates could well lock in 2C warming – if not more. This is why my colleague James Hansen has characterized approval of the pipeline as tantamount to “game over for the climate”.
Yesterday Obama vetoed the project:
Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Bill, The Third Veto Of His Presidency
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama formally vetoed legislation authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline on Tuesday, the latest development in what has become an ongoing standoff between him and congressional Republicans over approval of the controversial pipeline.
Even with the bill vetoed, Keystone is expected to be a recurring theme for Republican leadership. There are not enough votes to override the veto at this point, however.
Environmental groups, which have been urging the president to veto the bill and reject the pipeline permit altogether, celebrated the veto. “This misguided Keystone XL bill, pushed by the fossil fuel industry, has met its just and expected doom,” Rhea Suh, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in a statement. “The president got it exactly right by vetoing it.”
Too little, too late, but a victory the environment (and for sanity) none the less. Bravo Obama!