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  •  How does this fit in? (13+ / 0-)
    President Barack Obama will ask the State Department not to approve the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline unless it can first determine that it will not lead to a net increase in greenhouse gas emissions, a senior administration official told The Huffington Post.

    "Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation's interest," the president said in a Tuesday speech on climate change. "And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline's impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward."

    Sam Stein
    •  Ha! (14+ / 0-)

      As if trashing a broad swath of our country to ship foreign  oil overseas were in the national interest of the U.S. ;)

      "Let each unique song be sung and the spell of differentiation be broken" - Winter Rabbit

      by cotterperson on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:23:50 PM PDT

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      •  Exactly. (8+ / 0-)

        Your...uh... optimism seems to be growing on this issue since yesterday,  is it not?

        I know, "trust but verify..."

        I think Obama is trying to get where many of us want him to, and his words "no net increase" are the keys for him to make the right decision.

        Resist much, obey little. ~~Edward Abbey, via Walt Whitman

        by willyr on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:39:54 PM PDT

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        •  Which is why I don't trust him to not be parsing (13+ / 0-)

          his language carefully on Keystone. He could be arguing in some convoluted way that the reductions from coal-fired plants must offset the "gains" in carbon pollution from Keystone -- or be discounting the impact in Canada, and only counting it in the United States, etc., etc.

          His lawyerly hedging is notorious. I'll believe it when I see him/State turn down the pipeline (OR others like it -- another possible out). Until then, sure, great news about the power plants.

          "Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob." -- Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by Kombema on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:48:26 PM PDT

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          •  Notice that he says the pipeline and the project (4+ / 0-)

            not the oil that it will pump. I'm feeling pretty positive about this because it basically throws it over to Kerry to squash, but it isn't a guarantee.

            If debt were a moral issue then, lacking morals, corporations could never be in debt.

            by AoT on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:36:55 PM PDT

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            •  I'm a bit worried that the wording (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Kombema, mightymouse

              may suggest a calculation that assumes the tar sands oil will be extracted in any case, and the comparison for CO2 emission purposes will be between the stuff going to a refinery through a pipeline vs going to a refinery in rail cars.  Such a limited analysis would probably find that the pipeline is the low-emission option.

          •  Yep (0+ / 0-)

            Yeah, he gave himself a loophole the width of a mack truck to drive through on the issue. I mean how subjective is the word "significantly" when applied to the contributions of KeystoneXL to global warming?

            Let's hope he's just hedging, telling both sides what they want to hear to keep his support up in Congress for as long as he can before he shitcans the pipeline. Because if actually approves the pipeline based on the government's bullshit review that says the project will have no environmental impact whatsoever, he's going to look like the most transparent douchebag of all time.

        •  it's only hints (7+ / 0-)

          but he did seem to set a bar kxl cannot clear.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:50:29 PM PDT

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        •  "significantly exacerbate" ... (14+ / 0-)

          are key words enabling lots of weaseling, as desired.

          Also, if the analysis assumes that (a) the tar sands will be exploited and (b) the bitumen will be sent to refiners able to send overseas even if Keystone XL is not built, then the comparison becomes between rail transit and Keystone XL. On the margins, in terms of the transit impacts, the pipeline is better than (oops, not as bad as) rail.

          Blogging regularly at Get Energy Smart NOW! for a sustainable energy future.

          by A Siegel on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:04:09 PM PDT

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        •  Always be careful with what Obama says (6+ / 0-)

          it SOUNDS enouraging, but then again a lot of what he said in his campaigns was encouraging -- with the results being action in the opposite.

          Obama: self-described Republican; backed up by right-wing policies

          by The Dead Man on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:46:46 PM PDT

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          •  We have to hold his feet to the fire. nt (0+ / 0-)

            We all understand that freedom isn't free. What Romney and Ryan don't understand is that neither is opportunity. We have to invest in it.
            Julian Castro, DNC 4 Sept 2012

            by pixxer on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:57:51 PM PDT

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            •  Unlikely he’s made up his mind (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              pixxer, The Dead Man

              The debate here is just how detailed, transparent and adequate the analysis and disclosure of that ‘net increase in greenhouse gas emissions’ should be.  

              Presently, pervasive uncertainty exists as to how much disclosure NEPA requires in the climate change context.  See Reinhart, The National Environmental Policy Act: What Constitutes an Adequate Cumulative Environmental Impacts Analysis and Should It Require an Evaluation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions? 17 U. Baltimore Journal of Environmental Law 145 (2010); Stein, Climate Change Under NEPA: Avoiding Cursory Consideration of Greenhouse Gases, 81 U. Colorado Law Review 473, 531-32 (2010).

              For example, in the KXL SDEIS, the State Department , working with TransCanada et. al., is not required to quantify and report all foreseeable direct and measurable indirect GHG emissions, but rather is only required to generalize with respect to net effects on climate change(using an appropriate, applicable or relevant baseline) and to thereby identify whether the project posed significant net impacts.  

              To understand Obama's position or tact here, I think we need to go back to EPA's original comments on the SDEIS in July 2011 which raised concerns that probably contributed to the pipeline proposal’s rejection by the Obama Administration in early 2012  In the comments, EPA suggested that carbon lifecycle emissions relating to the extraction and refining processes, should be and necessarily are part of a complete disclosure, at least in a project that is predicted, in many circles, to have extremely significant impacts on the world climate. EPA Comment Letter

              EPA asserted that the State's failure to analyze GHGs associated with downstream extraction of oil sands crude was very problematic because that process is extremely GHG intensive compared to other types of oil extraction.

              EPA was wary about “comparing GHG emissions associated with a single project to global GHG emission levels” - a comparison that has apparently led the State Department to erroneously conclude that 'on a global scale, emissions are not likely to change' because of the project.

              EPA didn't suggest an alternative baseline against which the State Department should compare the project’s emissions, so we're left with this apparent hiatus as to how to proceed within the Administration.

              It seems clear now however that the President has thus far sided with EPA.

      •  Okay, good, that's great news. (3+ / 0-)
      •  Sure it can meet that standard (0+ / 0-)

        Remember the EIS argues as many do that the oil will be exploited and shipped regardless.  This means the pipeline contributes nothing to the carbon problem.  Obama could still break the other way with this excuse

        I think it a lot less likely, but it remains a possibility

        Touch all that arises with a spirit of compassion. An activist seeks to change opinion.

        by Mindful Nature on Wed Jun 26, 2013 at 08:00:14 PM PDT

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    •  It fits in perfectly (6+ / 0-)

      because the demand adheres to basic enviro reg requirements and there's no effing way the pipeline which will transmit shite that is significantly exacerbating the problem of carbon pollution can meet that requirement.

      National interests are affected by international interests.  What happens in Alberta doesn't stay in Alberta.

      If the statement is cute by half -- then the hypocrisy will be roundly hammered.

      " My faith in the Constitution is whole; it is complete; it is total." Barbara Jordan, 1974

      by gchaucer2 on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 01:32:29 PM PDT

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      •  solar powered bulldozers (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        AoT, kharma, blueoasis, b33mm3up

        or bio-diesel

        pipeline tubing is recyclable.

        grass replanted.

        educational sign programs.

        The pipeline just sits there, pumps powered by nearby wind farms?

        See, no pollution!

        This machine kills Fascists.

        by KenBee on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 02:18:58 PM PDT

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      •  Alberta and Canada in general (0+ / 0-)

        have their own interests . . . which they will pursue.  Global warming probably benefits Canada long term, and in the near term resource extraction is what they do for a living.  They're not going to shut down the tar sands operations regardless what happens with KXL . . . the only "threat" to that is potentially lower cost "tight" oil production in the US which will cut into Canadian sales to the US . . . which in turn simply increases pressure to sell to China instead.

        Keystone is a "deal" already made (in secret) . . . if Obama decides to renege on it there will be a substantial (and not necessarily obvious) price to be paid, and the "environmental benefits" will be few to none.  Symbolic gestures for domestic consumption do not produce any real "solutions".

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:59:29 PM PDT

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    •  How could it do otherwise? (0+ / 0-)

      400ppm : what about my daughter's future?

      by koNko on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 04:35:03 PM PDT

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      •  by not changing anything that matters (0+ / 0-)

        If cancelling Keystone simply moves the upgraders from Louisiana to North of Edmonton and pipes the syncrude to different refineries then letting KXL proceed does not "significantly exacerbate" anything.

        Nothing is gained if tar sand production is not curtailed . . . and what's doing that, at least at the moment, is tight shale extraction (a variety of fracking) in the US . . . which is not (quite) as dirty and energy intensive as tar sand extraction, meaning that the end product is a bit less expensive.

        Realistically none of this has anything to do with consumption . . . any "improvement" comes only from slightly cleaner extraction techniques.  The extra energy required for tar sand production comes mostly from burning what would otherwise be "waste", so until there's an international agreement putting a price on CO2 emissions (which the US has resisted so far) it's not all that significant a "cost" of tar sand production.

         

        Fake Left, Drive Right . . . not my idea of a Democrat . . .

        by Deward Hastings on Tue Jun 25, 2013 at 06:26:27 PM PDT

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