Tom Friedman seems to think that Keystone is a bargaining chip. He says that Putin's seizure of Crimea should present our politicians on both parties an opportunity -- strike a grand bargain on energy that will end our dependence on foreign oil and bankrupt Putin.
The key ingredients for a new U.S. energy strategy, argues Hal Harvey, the C.E.O. of Energy Innovation, is, first, “to optimize affordability, reliability and clean together, rather than one at the expense of the other.” Second to “take advantage of new technology, we finally have the capacity to build an energy system we can be proud of, and by choosing this future, we will stimulate even more technologies that deliver energy that is indeed affordable, reliable and clean.” And, third, to “ensure that our natural gas bonanza actually ushers in a truly clean future.”
The problem is that this proposed "grand bargain" includes Keystone.
Here’s the deal Obama should offer oil-patch Republicans and Democrats. “You really want to open up the country to the exploration of natural gas? You really want to be free to export oil and gas to global markets — so long as it’s consistent with our national interests — and affect global markets in ways that could weaken Putinism? You really want the Keystone pipeline? Fine, I’ll give you all of it. And in return you’ll give me a bridge to a secure, clean-energy future for America.”
The problem is that protecting our planet and exercising good stewardship is non-negotiable. The State Department's own watered-down report said that Keystone would have a significant impact on Climate Change.
In this final environmental review, the State Department concedes the pipeline will enable the expansion of tar sands production in a scenario assuming lower oil prices and little or no growth in pipelines. In this scenario, the State Department has now conceded that the possible climate impact of the pipeline could be upwards of 27.4 MMTCO2e annually which is equivalent to the tailpipe emissions from 5.7 million passenger vehicles. While the State Department downplays the likelihood of this scenario, they clearly acknowledge the project could pose a significant climate impact. The International Energy Agency (IEA), futures markets, and the World Bank are all projecting lower global oil prices over the coming years. According to the environmental review, “[t]he total direct and indirect emissions associated with the proposed Project would contribute to cumulative global GHG emissions.”And there would be no impact on oil prices.
We spoke to other oil experts and received a mixed verdict on whether Keystone XL would make much of a difference on gasoline prices. “All else equal, more supply does put downward pressure on price,” said Jim Burkhard, managing director of global oil for IHS Cambridge Energy Research Associates, who has testified before Congress in support of the Keystone XL pipeline. But he hesitated to predict the impact.Even Trans-Canada's people disagree on whether the pipeline would have an impact on the pump. That is because Keystone is designed for export, not for domestic consumption.
Blake Eskew, senior vice president at the oil consulting firm Purvin & Gertz, Inc., said that Keystone “has the potential to affect prices somewhat, but it’s a fairly small impact.” He said it might be worth “a few cents” at the pump.
Global warming skeptic Anthony Watts engages in selective use of data when he claims that there is little warming over the last 30 years. But what he doesn't say in his post is that Arctic temperatures are rising at a much faster rate than the rest of the planet.
In the Arctic, temperature has increased at twice the rate as the rest of the globe, and could increase by another 8°C (14°F) by the end of this century. The warming atmosphere along with new weather pattern extremes is causing Arctic sea ice to melt at an alarming rate—12% per decade—that suggests the Arctic will be ice-free by 2030. The impacts of dwindling ice cover in the Arctic are far-reaching, from species endangerment to enhanced global warming, to the weakening or shut-down of global ocean circulation.And even one of Watts' own links bears out the dwindling ice cover. We might add that there is the possibility of massive flooding, forcing billions of people to evacuate. We might add that there is the possibility of diseases that we thought were eradicated coming back to life, as well as diseases we don't even know about right now. This country and this planet cannot afford that sort of risk.
“One of the things we’d noticed in our data was that the volume of ice year-to-year was not varying anything like as much as the ice extent – at least in 2010, 2011 and 2012,” said Rachel Tilling from the UK’s Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling, who led the study.Sorry, Tom -- protecting our planet is not negotiable.
“We didn’t expect the greater ice extent left at the end of this summer’s melt to be reflected in the volume. But it has been, and the reason is related to the amount of multiyear ice in the Arctic.”
While this increase in ice volume is welcome news, it does not indicate a reversal in the long-term trend.
“It’s estimated that there was around 20 000 cubic kilometres of Arctic sea ice each October in the early 1980s, and so today’s minimum still ranks among the lowest of the past 30 years,” said Professor Andrew Shepherd from University College London, a co-author of the study.