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The US's most widely read scientific publication Scientific American has confirmed what critics of the Keystone XL Pipeline have long contended, that the Keystone XL Pipeline would have a significant detrimental effect on Greenhouse Gas emissions accelerating the rate of Climate Change by burning the world's dirtiest oil.  

The article demolishes the fallacious assumptions that State Department report made on the environmental impacts of not building the Keystone XL pipeline could be dismissed because not building Keystone wouldn't stop Tar Sands oil from reaching overseas export markets (the intended markets for most of the Keystone XL Tar Sands oil). Industry documents show Keystone XL is being built for overseas export markets

Keystone XL Oil Pipeline Exacerbates Climate Change

By David Biello

Consultants hired by the U.S. State Department determined that completing the Keystone XL Pipeline that would transport tar sands from Canada to Texas would have no impact on greenhouse gas emissions, largely because they assumed that the tar sands oil would flow regardless. But the new report challenges that assertion, noting that the tar sands are stranded in Alberta and face few good pipeline prospects, either to Canada's west coast or via reversing the flow of existing pipelines to North America's east coast. "Other options like rail or truck are not feasible for the transportation of large quantities," said Elizabeth Shope, anti–tar sands advocate with environmental group the Natural Resources Defense Council, in a conference call with reporters, noting that such alternative transportation more than triples the cost of moving tar sands oil. "It's increasingly clear that without Keystone XL, the tar sands will not be able to expand at such a reckless pace."

The Scientific American article goes on to point out the enormous quantities of CO2 the Keystone XL pipeline would dump into the atmosphere.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimated that Keystone XL tar sands oil would result in additional greenhouse gas emissions of 27 million metric tons annually compared with conventional oil. Regardless, the tar sands represent a significant chunk of potential carbon emissions, and those from tar sands have increased in recent years—up 16 percent since 2009, according to CAPP. Keystone XL itself would exacerbate that—the U.S. State Department notes that the greenhouse gas emissions from just the pipeline's pumps would be 4.4 million metric tons per year, roughly the same as one average U.S. coal-fired power plant.
In a new report published yesterday in Mother Jones found close links between Environmental Resources Management the consultants who produced the report on Keystone's impacts and the Tar Sands industry.
EXCLUSIVE: State Dept. Hid Contractor's Ties to Keystone XL Pipeline Company

—By Andy Kroll

Here's what those redactions kept secret: ERM's second-in-command on the Keystone report, Andrew Bielakowski, had worked on three previous pipeline projects for TransCanada over seven years as an outside consultant. He also consulted on projects for ExxonMobil, BP, and ConocoPhillips, three of the Big Five oil companies that could benefit from the Keystone XL project and increased extraction of heavy crude oil taken from the Canadian tar sands.

Another ERM employee who contributed to State's Keystone report—and whose prior work history was also redacted—previously worked for Shell Oil; a third worked as a consultant for Koch Gateway Pipeline Company, a subsidiary of Koch Industries. Shell and Koch* have a significant financial interest in the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. ERM itself has worked for Chevron, which has invested in Canadian tar sands extraction, according to its website.

It now looks like Environmental Resources Management started with the assumption that Keystone XL should be built and then constructed a rationale to justify that conclusion.

Originally posted to Lefty Coaster on Wed Apr 17, 2013 at 10:44 AM PDT.

Also republished by DK GreenRoots and Climate Hawks.

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