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View Diary: KXL will carry as much carbon as all the cars on the West Coast, plus Michigan, NY, and Florida. (55 comments)

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  •  Opposed to KXL, but (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    divineorder, PatriciaVa, elwior

    how do we respond when people point out that the producers of tar sands oil are already finding alternative means of bringing it to market? Will blocking KXL put any serious brakes on the production of this oil?

    There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

    by BeerNotWar on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:12:18 AM PDT

    •  Important env effort even if approved (11+ / 0-)

      James Hansen says that if KXL goes through, it is over for the climate.

      It is thus something very important

      But the protest against it is part of the gathering forces across the globe to slow down resource extraction

      The env is the biggest issue ever facing mankind

      As David W. Orr pointed out - climate requires new levels of governance. economics and morality

      Need to get people out of denial and out to the streets

    •  727M tons of coal shipped by rail in 2012 (4+ / 0-)
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      6412093, nextstep, Roadbed Guy, elwior

      And each ton emits 2.9 tons of CO2.

      So, 2108M tons of CO2 emitted b/c of US rail each year.

      In comparison, the Keystone Pipeline...

      – The 181 million metric tons of (CO2e) from Keystone XL is equivalent...

      So, compared to rail, Keystone's CO2 contribution would be "just" 6% of the CO2 emissions from coal transported by rail.

      Should we also call for a ban on coal being transported by rail?

      Learn about Centrist Economics, learn about Robert Rubin's Hamilton Project.

      by PatriciaVa on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:39:39 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In an issue oriented campaign - no (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PatriciaVa, elwior

        Focusing public attention on multitudes of rail cars is no where near as glamorous, and would dilute the effort.

        .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

        by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:54:29 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  There are many fronts that are being fought (5+ / 0-)

        simultaneously to slow down, stop, and ultimately reverse our fossil foolishness and its dire consequences for our environment.  Right now the fight to stop KXL from going forward as far as the public input is concerned has a time limit.  The expiration date for public comment is April 22nd.  Everyone needs to weigh in.  

        I live in a home that looks down on the train tracks that will ship the coal to deep water port locations along the west coast for shipment to Asian markets.  I've been and will continue to fight agains this fossil foolish crazy plan too.  A while back it also had a public comment period where the fight for energy sanity was focused because of the time limit for public input.  

        Now the focus is on KXL.  Submit your comments now and encourage all you know to do the same.  

        If we really want to straighten out all this crap we really need to think about shit - Holy Shit.

        by John Crapper on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 09:03:44 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  that's precisely why (11+ / 0-)

        we're working hard to stop proposed coal ports on the Pacific, and why activists a year ago on's Connect the Dots days blocked the tracks in British Columbia. By all means help here too.

        •  I live in Portland PO (3+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          tacet, aliasalias, elwior

          and the first thing Democratic Gov. John Kitzhaber, did after he was elected is declare OR is open for business. They are shipping coal down the Columbia to send to China. There is a big brouhaha going on about the plans to ship coal by rail to the ports some owned by Goldman Sachs.

          This is insane as where the tar sands or coal are processed and burned it makes no difference to mother nature. Democrat's lawmakers and executives may not be in denial but they sure as hell feel that it's worth destroying the planet for their freaking inevitable free market screw to both people and the planet.    

    •  Keystone is the largest pipeline or porposed (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      John Crapper, cosette, elwior, mightymouse

      Pipeline. Politically does it make sense to go after the smallest pipeline?

      As a long time issue and political organizer, a Camp Wellstone Alumni I understand about focusing an issue oriented campaign, having wide ranging or small potatoes targets does little to galvanize activists or public opinion.

      Not going after the biggest target dilutes the effort.

      .................expect us......................... FDR 9-23-33, "If we cannot do this one way, we will do it another way. But do it we will.

      by Roger Fox on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 08:52:48 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Other options are not done deals (7+ / 0-)

      Don't believe the hype -- alternative pipelines coming from Alberta to bring tar sands to the Canadian East or West coasts are facing major opposition in Canada...they are perhaps as likely or even more unlikely than Keystone XL being built.  So the idea that there will be some other pipeline bring the tar sands oil to the coast if KXL isn't built is not necessarily true.

      On rail taking tar sands, check out this blog from Anthony Swift (NRDC):

      Additionally, industry experts (as well as Big Oil itself) have said time and again how important KXL is to tar sands expansion.  Check out these links for some of those quotes:


      From NWF:

      •  Anthony Swift more or less seems like (0+ / 0-)

        an idiot - can't he at least compile a coherent argument?

        For example he makes an anti-rail argument by linking this pdf that closes with this summary slide:

        Gibson’s existing rail business for moving crude / other products is sizable and positioned to grow significantly. Potential growth areas:
        - Additional truck to rail transloaders
        - Hardisty area unit train facility
        - U.S. Gulf Coast unit train receipts

        Rail should be a sustainable option for moving crude oil for the short, medium and long term:
        - Advantages of rail will make it an ongoing transportation option
        - Ability to move heavy oil should reduce amount of forecasted
        condensate import required for oil sands
        - Some locations where pipelines may never be built (e.g. Alberta to

        •  Factual Disagreement is Appropriately Articulated (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          without also simultaneously offering a gratuitous insult when engaging others on the steward-to-steward communications protocol.

          •  Did you actually click on the link (0+ / 0-)

            and read his material?

            It truly is idiotic - that is a fact, not a gratuituous insult.

            Brings to mind the time Greenpeace proposed banning chlorine  - one of the most abundant natural elements - from planet earth.

            Or maybe he's not being idiotic, just flat out lying.  Maybe I should have called him that instead?

            Bottom line - don't you find it just a tad embarrassing, if not downright irksome, when environmentalists put out totally sketchy information that discredit the entire movement?

            •  Yes I do (0+ / 0-)
              "Bottom line - don't you find it just a tad embarrassing, if not downright irksome, when environmentalists put out totally sketchy information that discredit the entire movement?"
              Yes, it is a movement founded by a scientist, John Muir, for this kind of approach to campaigning and declarations to be happening.

              But, the only way to influence these groups is a steward to steward consult, which should leave out the insults....

              If you're trying to teach stewardship conduct, you have to do it by practicing stewardship conduct (and declarations).

      •  Another counterargument is (0+ / 0-)

        that returning the rail cars loaded with diluent seems to be a major issue, and a potential game changer in this realm.

        For example here's a patent  just granted for rail cars to do just that

        If you read through that, you'll probably be boggled that being able to apply 9th grade math to "real world" problem is patentable, but whatever.

        The key thing is that once diluent is being returned to Northern Alberta by rail instead of by pipeline, that will free up those pipelines to run in the reverse direction - thus adding even more capacity than just realized by the expansion of rail.

    •  deconstructing the "won't matter" claim (6+ / 0-)

      State has 2 arguments on this.

      First, they argue that a NO on KXL won't matter, cause there's other ways to get the would-be pipeline content to refineries and therefore to tailpipes and smokestacks.

      Second, they argue that tar sands production, and even some expansion, isn't actually even a climate problem, pointing to an International Energy Agency report that has the tar sands expanding significantly, even with strongish climate policy (although there's a lot less expansion than in their weaker climate policy scenarios).

      Let's look at the second argument first. It's of note that State did not choose to point out that an MIT report instead shows no room for tar sands expansion, and production reducing rapidly, under strongish climate policy.

      Further, the IEA report explicitly assumes that growth in tar sands output is made possible by new technologies that reduce emissions.  If you assume that tar sands production (other fossil fuel use) will be able to cut emissions per unit of energy by a lot, well then, yes, there might be some room for continued production. But the notion that there is something in the very flow of time that will inevitably cure all ills is irrational, and not a good basis for an environmental impact assessment. The MIT report in turn explicitly shows how sensitive the results are to this assumption.

      Neither report studies climate policy sufficient to give us an 80% chance of staying within globally agreed-upon climate limits.

      This brings us to the commonsensical conclusion that barring at-present speculative technological advances, there is no climate room for increasing current tar sands production, let alone increasing takeaway capacity (which currently exceeds production).

      At this point, we can go back and look at State's first point, the fatalistic assertion that a NO on KXL won't matter, cause there's all this other potential takeaway capacity. While a no on kxl would slow down expansion, the alternative potential takeaway capacity is indeed massive. But each alternative faces its own challenges.

      Further, it is bizarre to look at a hypothetical post-NOKXL decision world as one in which everything else is equal. If the United States executive branch finds that the Keystone XL pipeline is not in the national interest, the executive branch would presumably pursue additional policy measures coherent with an understanding that there is no climate room for the tar sands, with strong climate policy. This pursuit should greatly reduce the alternative potential takeaway capacity, not to mention count as a step toward international leadership on climate.

      The claim that a NO on KXL won't matter is based on speculative assumptions about new technologies that reduce emissions and a failure to consider tar sands projections under climate policy strong enough to give an 80% chance of staying within the 2 degree limit. These failures in analysis are the preconditions for the fatalistic framework that State uses to assess the effects of a NO on KXL.

      •  Thanks for the info (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm not being contrarian, I really haven't located a good counterpoint to the argument that alternative means of transport will allow nearly as much tar sands oil to reach market. They may also not involve the US at all. I get the point that KXL is a galvanizing event for the movement, but we don't look serious if it's not actually as a critical as we say.

        I'm in the northwest so I'm personally very concerned about the coal ports. They are years away, but I'm contacting the relevant officials here. I've been a donor to Washington State Commissioner of Public Lands Peter Goldmark and I've let him know where I stand. These ports will be terrible for our state just on increased traffic disruption and coal dust alone. The fact that we get blowback in terms of mercury pollution from China and increased carbon makes them completely untenable.

        There's a difference between a responsible gun owner and one that's been lucky so far.

        by BeerNotWar on Tue Apr 16, 2013 at 10:22:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They want to use the Keystone XL to attain their (0+ / 0-)

      goal of tripling output by 2030.  They won't be able to output as much without it;  that's why they are so invested in getting this thing approved and built.

      If we had an appropriate oil spill tax on dilbit given the costs to clean it up, it would not be as lucrative of a solution.  We should have an excise tax on it of at least $5 per barrel.  We also should be investigating the impacts on health after a spill and the danger to fresh water supplies.

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