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#RejectAndProtect encampment
In a New York Times Earth Day story, the usually excellent Coral Davenport grossly misrepresents the Keystone XL tar-sands pipeline’s true impact on global warming, and questions the wisdom of pipeline opponents like the activists now encamped on the National Mall.

The pipeline is intended to ship upwards of 830,000 barrels of tar-sands crude a day for a 40-year lifespan. The pipeline will add 120-200 million tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent to the atmosphere annually, with a lifetime footprint of 6 to 8 billion tons CO2e. That’s as much greenhouse pollution as 40 to 50 average U.S. coal-fired power plants. Furthermore the Keystone XL pipeline is recognized by the tar-sands industry as a key spigot for the future development of the Alberta tar sands, which would emit 840 billion tons CO2e if fully exploited.

National Journal
Coral Davenport
Interviewing Washington insiders who have offered various forms of support for the Keystone XL project, Davenport claims instead that “Keystone’s political symbolism vastly outweighs its policy substance.” To support the claim, Davenport then erroneously underestimates the global warming footprint of the pipeline by a factor of ten. Davenport’s crucial error is to contrast the actual carbon footprint of existing fossil-fuel projects — such as US electric power plants (2.8 billion tons) and tailpipe emissions (1.9 billion) — to the impact of the pipeline’s oil being dirtier than traditional petroleum, without explaining that she was switching measurements:
Consider the numbers: In 2011, the most recent year for which comprehensive international data is available, the global economy emitted 32.6 billion metric tons of carbon [dioxide] pollution. The United States was responsible for 5.5 billion tons of that (coming in second to China, which emitted 8.7 billion tons). Within the United States, electric power plants produced 2.8 billion tons of those greenhouse gases, while vehicle tailpipe emissions from burning gasoline produced 1.9 billion tons.

By comparison, the oil that would move through the Keystone pipeline would add 18.7 million metric tons of carbon [dioxide] to the atmosphere annually, the E.P.A. estimated.

[There are two side errors in the passage: Davenport uses “tons of carbon” where she means “tons of carbon dioxide equivalent”. One ton of carbon is the equivalent of 3.67 tons of carbon dioxide. All of her numbers refer to tons of carbon dioxide-equivalent. Secondly, the estimate was not made by the E.P.A. but by a State Department contractor hired by TransCanada; the E.P.A. cited that analysis but did not make the calculations.]

What the oil-industry contractor for the State Department actually calculated is that the oil that would move through the Keystone pipeline would add 147-168 million metric tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere annually, 1.3 to 27.4 million of which (the estimate of 18.7 million is from the draft assessment) are because tar-sands crude is dirtier than other petroleum sources. Those 18.7 million tons are the “incremental” or “additional” footprint of the pipeline, not the full 160 million-ton footprint.

Based on this order-of-magnitude measurement-switching error, Davenport incorrectly concludes that “the carbon emissions produced by oil that would be moved in the Keystone pipeline would amount to less than 1 percent of United States greenhouse gas emissions, and an infinitesimal slice of the global total.”

In fact, the carbon dioxide emissions produced by oil that would be moved in this single pipeline would amount to 3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and half a percent of the global carbon footprint. Only thirty-two countries have larger annual footprints than this single tar-sands project.

Climate scientist John Abraham made this point in The Guardian last week. “People who think Keystone is a minor issue don’t understand science and they sure don’t understand economics,” he wrote.

Jason Bordoff
How on earth could Davenport and the pipeline supporters she cites — Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, Kevin Book of the fossil-industry consultancy ClearView Energy Partners, former Obama White House climate advisor Jason Bordoff of Columbia University’s Center on Global Energy Policy, Adele Morris of the Brookings Institution, and fossil-industry lobbyist David Goldwyn (a former advisor for Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and also a Brookings fellow) — make this basic and outsized mistake?

Putting aside any possible political and economic motivations to support the intentions of the global petroleum industry, the intellectual failure rests on an obvious error made subtle through convolution.

Whether one is looking at actual or incremental footprints of carbon-infrastructure projects, the results should be equivalent from a policy standpoint, although the numbers would be different. Why, then, does the incremental analysis used by the EPA and the State Department’s oil-industry contractors appear to give the absurd result that the Keystone XL impact is “infinitesimal”?

The methodology of incremental footprint analysis assumes a baseline of future projected carbon pollution, and then looks whether a given project would increase or decrease the baseline. The validity of incremental-footprint analysis thus depends on the baseline.

In line with scientific warnings, President Barack Obama and the U.S. State Department have committed to limiting global warming to below 2°C above pre-industrial levels. In the International Energy Agency’s 2°C scenario, global oil consumption would fall by 50 percent from current levels by 2050, within the intended operating lifetime of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The Keystone XL final environmental impact statement instead assumes that global oil demand will increase over that time period. The baseline used is the Energy Information Administration’s 2013 Annual Energy Outlook, which projects that global oil consumption will increase by 30 to 40 percent by 2040. In that scenario, the world would be on a pathway for rapid and catastrophic global warming of 4 to 6°C (or greater) by 2100.
No matter the analysis, the Keystone XL pipeline is incompatible with climate security. The global-warming impact of constructing Keystone XL is only “infinitesimal” if you assume catastrophic global warming is inevitable and that the signed climate pledges of the United States government are worthless.

Perhaps Ms. Davenport should ask Levi, Book, Bordoff, Morris, and Goldwyn if that is their assumption.

Originally posted to ClimateBrad on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:00 AM PDT.

Also republished by Climate Change SOS, DK GreenRoots, Kitchen Table Kibitzing, and Gulf Watchers Group.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Cue the claims that without the pipeline... (34+ / 0-)

    ...the tar sands will be fully exploited anyway and that stopping it would make no never mind.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:14:14 AM PDT

    •  With one hand Obama Taketh, with the other He (12+ / 0-)

      Giveth.

      Obama has approved the Kinder Morgan Cochin Pipeline Project which will allow the condensates from gas fracking to be shipped to the Alberta tar sands to be used a diluent which allows the bitumen to be pumped. There is a shortage of this diluent so the price is currently higher than WTI in Canada which makes fracking even more profitable. Canada only produces 145,000 bbls/d out of the 350,000 it currently requires. The shortfall is made up from US suppliers.

      •  More thoughts about diluent shortage in the tar (4+ / 0-)

        sands project.

        Until this problem is solved, there is no way that the Keystone XL pipeline can be filled. At 30% diluent ratio, the Keystone pipeline will require up to 250,000 bbls/d additional condensates moving north (depending upon the future availability of local sources).

        Postponing the Keystone XL simply allows the gas/oil industry to get it's ducks in a row. The Kinder Morgan Cochin pipeline, which will supply about 100,000 bbls/d, is just one of those ducks.

    •  You're Right, MB (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      expatjourno

      And I can assure you that shipping oil via Churchill, Manitoba and Hudson Bay is far more environmentally safe than via Keystone.

      •  Why is it that so many people who keep... (12+ / 0-)

        ...saying opposition to Keystone XL is a waste of time don't believe Canadian officials and oil company executives who themselves say that that pipeline is key to speeding up development of the tar sands?

        Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

        by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:23:00 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why Is It That So Many People - (0+ / 0-)

          Who keep saying they favor working people ignore core material economic aspects? Redistribution is fine and needed; however, history suggests that economic growth is most strongly correlated with improved material conditions for the poor and working poor. Degrowth leads to more extreme economic stratification.

          There was once a time when Democrats actually supported working people.

          http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

          •  If that's directed at me, you've missed the... (6+ / 0-)

            ...mark about a light-year.

            As even a cursory look at my posts here and my writing all the way back to when I started 47 years ago, as well as my political activism that has nothing to do with writing, I've always favored working people.

            But I don't happen to be one of the folks who views the economy and the environment as two separate entities. Nor am I one of those who claims to support the needs of working people while ignoring (if not laughing at) the impact of the externalities of certain economic practices, such as the tens of thousands of people killed and hundreds of thousands sickened every year by the burning of fossil fuels, not to mention the consequent climate change that will displace and kill millions in the coming years.

            Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

            by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 05:58:17 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Astoundingly off base comment by johnny (6+ / 0-)

              If anyone here combines an integrated approach to economics, environment and advocacy for workers better than you do, I would like to know who that is.

              Pollution and environmental problems always hit the workers harder than the owners. And tar sands exploitation is destroying the land that Canada has taken from the people of its first nations. People living near the tar sands are exposed to toxic air and poisoned water. I think johnny is sincere, but he's off base about Keystone XL, too.

              “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

              by FishOutofWater on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 06:54:25 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Thank You Fish, But I Am On Base - (0+ / 0-)

                First, a significant majority of Americans has consistently supported KXL over the past 5 years - with margins ranging from 2-to-1 to 3-to-1. Although support is skewed heavily in the GOP direction, even a majority of Dems support Keystone according to the latest Pew poll. The only demographic that clearly opposes KXL is Dems with incomes over $100,000.  Dems under $50,000 support 54% to 34%.

                http://www.people-press.org/...

                Second, as for Alberta, the provincial median family income is $90,000 - almost $20,000 above the Canadian average. Saskatchewan - with its peripheral oil sands and Bakken - comes in 2nd with $77,000. BC weighs in at $69,000.

                http://www.statcan.gc.ca/...

                Now if people in Alberta were so dissatisfied as you suggest, then why did the Conservatives win a 61/26 majority in the legislature in 2012. (Granted they are in trouble now, but they are likely to be replaces by the Wild Rose Party - even more conservative.) And the Saskatchewan Party next door has a 49 to 9 majority over the NDP.  May I say that again? 49 to 9.

                You make it sound like people supporting Keystone are some misguided minority.  But the numbers suggest that KXL opponents - both in the U.S. and Canada - are few and far between. Certainly in Alberta and Saskatchewan, the vast majority of voters support the expansion of oil and gas production.

                •  Again. Not a word about the damage being... (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  navajo

                  ...done to health of these workers and to the climate.

                  FishOutofWater made no claim about the viewpoint of workers in these matters. He didn't say they were dissatisfied. He  said, quite rightly, that workers are hit hard by the impacts of extracting and burning fossil fuels, whether it's coal, oil, gas or tar sands.

                  The supporters of continuing to do this burning are a misguided majority.

                  The most recent Gallup Poll (March 2014) shows that only 24% of Americans worry a great deal about climate change with 51% worrying about it not at all.  By your gauge, that should be the end of the story because those of us who worry about climate change a lot are in the minority.

                  By Gallup's measure, it wasn't until the fourth quarter of the fourth year of the war in Vietnam (4Q of 1968) that a bare majority of Americans told surveyors that they thought the war was a "mistake" even though it was (in America) those working class people who were paying the price for that war in blood and vast numbers of ruined lives. Until then, those of us who opposed the war up until then were ridiculed, called unAmerican, labeled as traitors. The kinder among them tagged us, as you do foes of Keystone XL, quixotic. But we were right.

                  Yes, thanks to vast gobs of propaganda and lies, the majority of Americans don't yet think climate change is a big deal and the majority favors the pipeline. Many do so out of self-interest, as do coal workers in Appalachia despite the horrific damage coal mining has done to their health and environment. That interest is understandable when they've been offered no alternative.

                  But that doesn't mean those of us who are in the 24% who worry about climate change and the 38% who oppose the pipeline are wrong. It just means, as with Vietnam, that the majority hasn't yet been persuaded what we (and presumably you unless you are a denier, not just a delayer) know to be true about a future shaped by the burning of coal, bitumen from the tar sands, fracked oil and gas and, soon, kerogen from oil shale.

                  Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                  by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:12:27 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  "False Consciousness" (0+ / 0-)

                    One of the more egregious terms coming out of the 1960s and 1970s left - a la Marxist theory - which basically says that if the masses fail to agree with your ideas, then the masses have obviously been misled.

                    Not only does "false consciousness" reek of elitism and moral superiority, but it also falls flat on its face whenever it is used. For millennia, people who want to save the world have usually elicited either fear or, more often, scorn.

                    PS - Keystone ain't Vietnam.

                    PPS - I remain amazed that supposed progressives are willing to toss away a Senate majority for a project that will make little difference in the carbon equation - with profound consequences for civil rights, women, minorities, immigrants, income, health care access, and yes, the environment.

                    •  Keystone XL isn't Vietnam obviously. But. (2+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:
                      navajo, LakeSuperior

                      … climate change makes Vietnam look like a pimple.

                      And, please, spare me the "false consciousness" riff. It was invented in the 1890s, not the 1960s and '70s when it was mostly used by leftists against leftists, not vanguardists against proles.

                      Speaking of moral superiority, what I find amazing is your implication that climate change activists are wild-eyed cultists worthy of scorn. Wow.

                      Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                      by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:21:22 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Your Statement Above - (0+ / 0-)

                        Conforms far more with the 1960s & 1970s version of "false consciousness" than that initially stated by Engels - - although I am familiar with the development of Marxist and Leninist thought in the late 1800s and early 1900s.

            •  If you care about the security of your children (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Meteor Blades

              and grandchildren, you cannot ignore climate change, which is already happening;  but, it can get a lot worse.  

            •  Did You Read? (0+ / 0-)

              Terry O'Sullivan's critique?

              Can you tell me whether or not the views of the skilled trades unions have any validity on this issue? Or are they all as misguided as I am?

              •  Of course I read it. I noticed O'Sullivan... (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                navajo

                ...has added to his cast of devils to sneer at the anti-KXL billionaire Tom Steyer. This he does without the slightest mention of the billionaire brothers Koch. He says the delays of KXL are all about politics, not policy, as if deciding to okay the pipeline's construction would have nothing to do with politics.

                He mentions the jobs that KXL will create without noting that renewable energy projects in California have put more LIUNA members to work in that one state alone than the pipeline would nationwide. If all 50 states would follow California's policies, LIUNA would see ten thousand or more new jobs for its members.

                O'Sullivan hasn't just complained about White House delays and environmentalists. He's also upset at brothers and sisters in unions that oppose the pipeline. He's called opposition to KXL from the Amalgamated Transit Union and the Transport Workers Union "repulsive." I suppose he thinks they have "false consciousness."

                He's given a speech to the members of one of labor's biggest enemies, the National Association of Manufacturers. Whose side is he on.

                The National Nurses Union also opposes the pipeline and has this to say about Keystone XL:

                Finally, stumping for the Pipeline puts labor in league with the most anti-union, socially and politically regressive corporate interests in the U.S., such as the oil billionaire Koch Brothers, the American Petroleum Institute, and other energy corporations generally, abetted by the rightwing politicians who carry their agenda.

                The future for labor should not be scrambling for elusive crumbs thrown down by corporate partners, but advocating for the larger public interest, the reputation labor deservedly earned in the 1930s and 1940s, the period of labor's greatest growth and the resulting emergence of a more egalitarian society. Today labor should be on that path again, uniting with the very coalition of those opposing the Pipeline and working to rein in the frightening consequences of climate change the Pipeline would hasten.

                Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

                by Meteor Blades on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:20:06 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

  •  The graphic is pretty hard to dismiss (8+ / 0-)

    It really does compare the amount of added CO2 equivalent added to atmosphere to current emissions doesn't it? And that is what we are trying to determine right? How much more is Keystone XL going to hurt us?

    For comparisons I'd like to see some things like how much a 1mpg increase in CAFE standards would eliminate or other measures.

    Good link.

    “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

    by ban nock on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:31:00 AM PDT

  •  Nice analysis (16+ / 0-)

    By their logic, no action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions is worthwhile, because no action would have a large enough incremental effect.

    And assuming an inflated baseline makes actions to reduce emissions look even more futile.

    What me worry?

    “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

    by SolarMom on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:33:31 AM PDT

  •  Even if this were a carbon-neutral project, it'd (10+ / 0-)

    be a BAD deal for us.

    Is Keystone going to pick up all the additional health care costs from any leak in the pipeline?  No, that'd be the US taxpayers and everyone who pays for health care insurance.

    US agriculture has kept us well-fed through every war, is Keystone going to find extra land for us to farm if a leak spoils agricultural land?  Not in this country, they can't.

    If the pipeline becomes a terrorist target, is Keystone going to deploy soldiers to protect it?  No, that'd be the US taxpayers.

  •  This is the wrong time for new oil projects (14+ / 0-)

    The Keystone pipeline is the worst of these, but it verges on insanity to begin any new expansion of oil production at a time when alternatives to oil use are being developed and efficiencies are being increased.

    We can't afford to be adding more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and the proponents of this pipeline want to add them at an increasing rate.

    Nothing about this proposed project makes sense beyond making money for a very few people who are already excessively rich.

    "Trust only those who doubt" Lu Xun

    by LookingUp on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 09:48:42 AM PDT

    •  The wrong Millennium for new fossil projects -nt (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      There's no such thing as a free market!

      by Albanius on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:39:06 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Dear Albanius - (0+ / 0-)

        Not only do you violate DK guidelines for HRing, but you also indicate you intellectual rigidity and inability to entertain views other than your own.

        I hasten to remind you that more than 50% of Democrats - let along Republicans and Independents - support Keystone. So the net result of your attitude is to further alienate those who might hold moderate views.

        <<<>>>

        So, please, how did the horses get from Nebraska to Washington, DC? How much gasoline was used to create a visual image? Was it necessary?

        •  FWIW MB called the post I HRd 'defamatory' (0+ / 0-)

          I will rely on Meteor Blades as a judge of community guidelines.

          The post I HR'd said "Environmentalists mostly then and now consider humans and human use to be against their aims."
          I HRd that for calling most environmentalists anti-human.

          http://www.dailykos.com/...

          See the responses, including my invitation to dialogue on a more benign alternative reading, which was declined.

          BTW, far more than 50% of Dems initially opposed same sex marriage, and supported the Iraq War.  I considered those views too, and rejected them on the merits.  I take their arguments into account when addressing persuadables.

          Developing the Tar Sands is extreme, not moderate, when 97% of climate scientists say we need to ramp down fossil fuel dependence ASAP.

          The issue of horse transportation was answered upstream.

          There's no such thing as a free market!

          by Albanius on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:55:01 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, if HR on yr horse transport post was mine (0+ / 0-)

            it was accidental, I apologize.
            I might have clicked it out of annoyance at what seemed to be a cheap shot, on the assumption that the HR was reversible. But my computer is congested, I have lost some functionality, can't seem to undo the HR.  I'll try rebooting.

            I thought you were responding to my last intentional HR a couple of days ago on another thread.

            There's no such thing as a free market!

            by Albanius on Sun Apr 27, 2014 at 12:07:59 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  You said: (4+ / 0-)
    The pipeline will add 120-200 million tons of carbon-dioxide-equivalent to the atmosphere annually, with a lifetime footprint of 6 to 8 billion tons CO2e.
    Saying that KXL will add this much CO2e emissions is a statement that deliberately ignores the fact that what is being depicted is not a net increase calculation.

    A net emission increase calculation would also consider the fact that after the pipeline comes into operation, 830,000 b/d  of the previously-used heavy sour crude oil will not longer be used as feedstock.  The CO2e emissions associated with that cessation of non-tar-sands heavy sour crude as a feedstock is a countervailing emission reduction in an 'annual basis' net emission increase calculation.

    One other problem here is that Oil Change International report declarations about emissions from KXL do not contain any emission calculations in their published reports.   OCI publications are thus not transparent and there is no way to quantitatively check OCI's emission characterization statements without their showing of  such emission calculations.....calculations that would be provided by practicing scientists and engineers who make declarations about atmospheric discharges in any such publication of their results.

    •  So Keystone is really about screwing Venezuela? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      Perhaps your assumption is true that Venezuelan heavy sour crude won't be extracted if Keystone XL isn't built, but I doubt it. Economic growth in Latin America has increased demand for refined products there. They are likely to build new refineries in South America.

      “Industry does everything they can and gets away with it almost all the time, whether it’s the coal industry, not the subject of this hearing, or water or whatever. They will cut corners, and they will get away with it. " Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D, WVa

      by FishOutofWater on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 07:06:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  your response (0+ / 0-)
        Perhaps your assumption is true that Venezuelan heavy sour crude won't be extracted if Keystone XL isn't built, but I doubt it.
        Emissions associated with the amount of Venezuelan crude which is replaced by the same amount of KXL-delivered tar sands heavy sour crude cannot be attributed in emissions accounting to the net annual emission increase associated with any commencement of operation of the KXL pipeline.
  •  Climate change is death by a million cuts (13+ / 0-)

    but "3 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and half a percent of the global carbon footprint" is far from just one little scratch, but a huge gash.

    In drug addict terms, this one more dose of fossil fuel extraction the oil industry and their government and media apologists are asking for may just be the overdose that's going to put the planet over the edge.

    Thanks for this great post, this is going to be great reference material!  

    Ecology is the new Economy => Kosonomy

    by citisven on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 10:36:11 AM PDT

  •  The Keystone Principle (12+ / 0-)

    The Keystone Principle

    Stopping Keystone nails the core principle for climate responsibility, by preventing investments that make climate disruption irrevocably worse. Again, it’s not just that burning tar-sands oil produces a lot of emissions; it’s that long-term capital investments like Keystone (and coal plants, and coal export facilities) “lock in” those dangerous emissions for decades and make catastrophic climate disruption inevitable.
    This Keystone Principle, from writer KC Golder, was cited in this New Yorker post by Elizabeth Kolbert
    •  Yes. A line in the tar sands. (8+ / 0-)

      http://griponclimate.org/...

      Specifically and categorically, we must cease making large, long-term capital investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure that “locks in” dangerous emission levels for many decades.   Keystone is a both a conspicuous example of that kind of investment and a powerful symbol for the whole damned category.

      I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

      by Just Bob on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:08:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The tar sands capital investment was locked in two (4+ / 0-)

        decades ago. Not only in the development of the tar sands itself, but also in the tens of billions that have been invested in upgrading refineries to handle more of the heavy oils and concurrent production of petcoke (up to 30%) in the last ten years. These refineries need to operate for decades in order to recoup investments.

        •  It's gotta stop someplace, sometime. n/t (9+ / 0-)

          I'm a Vietnam Era vet. I'm also an Erma Bombeck Era vet. When cussing me out and calling me names please indicate which vet you would like to respond to your world changing thoughts.

          by Just Bob on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:35:09 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I see nothing stopping the problem. As long as (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            goodpractice, Just Bob, SolarMom

            the world demands cheap energy, there will be no political will to force the multinationals to cease and desist.

            With the US now on the cusp of that holy grail of energy independence, and a dearth of exportable goods to improve balance of trade expenditures, it's going to be gangbusters for exploiting the new-found hydrocarbon resources.

            The US corporate controlled government is determined to become a major hydrocarbon exporter. We can now see moves within the government to tie production to the American flag in order to supply the world with 'Liberty Gas'.

            The new Uncle Sam:
            "I want YOU to Support Fracking for Freedom"

            •  I thought we were just barely producing more (4+ / 0-)

              than we import? Isn't that a long way from independence?

              Of course we could cut consumption by 50% pretty easily but that's another story.

              “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

              by ban nock on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:53:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Oil from Mexico and Canada are considered (3+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                ban nock, Just Bob, SolarMom

                "independent" from other world producers and are grouped in with domestic supplies. Energy independence for the US means it doesn't have to go to war to ensure it's energy requirements as it did during the last century.

                Maybe fracking is not that bad after all if it means a more peaceful world. (1/2 snark)

                •  I live in an area of intense fracking, (2+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  Claudius Bombarnac, johnnygunn

                  never heard of anyone complain who actually owns a water well. My water always sucked. Water in areas of lots of petro is usually not real good. People in the half million dollar houses up in Vista Ridge are the ones who drive to rallies in huge honkin SUVs.

                  I'd just as soon not have wars and cut back on consumption too. Lotta carbon to build a 5K square foot house and drive 25K per year in a V8 Toyota Landcruiser.

                  “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

                  by ban nock on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:30:09 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  Have you sought out this info? (7+ / 0-)

                    So because you "never heard" anyone complain about water problems, that means they don't exist?  Have you asked the people in your area?  Have you reviewed the large body of documentation of problems that others have had?  

                    Bill McKibben has said many times that the first step to getting out of a hole is to stop digging.  We need to stop as many fossil fuel projects as we can to preserve the climate.  

                    •  actually fossil fuel does little damage until you (0+ / 0-)

                      burn it. If someone flies coast to coast once a week that's 300 gallons to say nothing of the fact that is't being put in the upper atmosphere.

                      My footprint is pretty small. I won't even hardly listen to others who burn tons of carbon.

                      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

                      by ban nock on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 01:09:26 PM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                •  Not gonna happen (3+ / 0-)

                  I see you wrote 1/2 snark, so I'm going to try and give you the benefit of the doubt.  But I feel compelled to question the assumptions in your comment.

                  The US will not stop being concerned with/going to war with the Middle East if it becomes energy independent.  The US gov't is primarily concerned with fossil fuels as a source of power, not a source of energy.  Controlling them will still be a US foreign policy goal if it enables the gov't to exert pressure on other nations.  

                  Finally, the oil that would flow through Keystone XL would be sold abroad, primarily to China.  It would NOT lower US energy prices, or make the US more energy independent.  In fact, it would lead to HIGHER energy prices in the Midwest, which currently benefits from the bottleneck in fuel transport infrastructure.  

                  •   I agree that control of access to oil = power (0+ / 0-)

                    and it is power that the US is interested in.

                    Finally, the oil that would flow through Keystone XL would be sold abroad, primarily to China.
                    It's more complex than that. Oil is a fungible commodity. The heavy oil going to the coast will replace the lighter US grades which will go to Canada which will replace oil from the international markets which can then ship more oil to China (or Europe).
                    The circle of Gulf Coast crude oil

                    The January 22 start-up of TransCanada’s  Gulf Coast Pipeline Project – originally the southern tail of the delayed Keystone XL pipeline — could not have come at a better time for the refining hub on the US Gulf Coast.

                    Dwindling production from Mexico and increasing domestic growth has flooded PADD III with light crudes while slowing some imports of heavy crudes, a disadvantage for the most complex refineries in the world.
                    ...
                    The dilemma now falls on all the unwanted light crude produced in the USGC. Where will it all go?

                    The Jones Act, a polarizing law which requires all goods transported between US ports to be carried on US-flagged ships staffed and owned by US citizens, makes shipping crude in the USGC to other parts of the country financially reckless. So producers have been forced to export the light crude to the only place they can: Canada.
                    ...
                    It’s an interesting cycle that has developed, with Canada bringing down heavy crudes and the US returning light grades. Unless US crude exports become reality, this arbitrage seems likely to stick around for a while.

                    Keep in mind that the US cannot sell crude oil to any other country but Canada (a very small mount to others under very special conditions). What the US can export is value added refined products such as fuels, lubricants, chemical precursors and plastics feedstocks which brings in much needed foreign exchange. Because this brings in more money and creates more jobs than shipping plain crude, there will be little resistance to this.

                    The world's largest and most complex refineries are located on the Gulf Coast. These need to be fed before shipping any crude elsewhere. There's also a big chunk of Venezuelan heavy the feds would like to cut off. China and India will be taking it but it means Venezuela gets less due to shipping costs. Venezuela and China have built four VLCC (Very Large Crude Carriers) to carry the oil to China to help ameliorate costs.

                    •  Added note. The Keystone XL pipeline at full cap. (0+ / 0-)

                      would be just enough to replace the Venezuelan heavy or half the Saudi medium-heavy imports. It would be cheaper to send Saudi oil to China and use Canadian locally - which is exactly what has been occurring.

                  •  This claim: (0+ / 0-)
                    Finally, the oil that would flow through Keystone XL would be sold abroad, primarily to China.
                    This is only true in a non-reality space inside of the brains of Michael Brune, Bill McKibben, Josh Fox and anyone who works for and funds Oil Change International.
                •  However, in actual economic reality (0+ / 0-)

                  that affects the United States balance of trade deficit, heavy sour crude from Canadian tar sands, as well as heavy sour crude from Mexico, Venezuela and the Saudis, are all foreign oil sources - directly affecting balance of trade deficits for the United States.

                  In a time of fairly massive domestic crude oil production from conventional sources, the United States should be reducing its foreign oil purchases.

                  That a lot of domestic TX, ND and CA newly produced crude oil are lighter, sweeter crudes & the fact that the U.S. domestic refining industry in the gulf built their processes with capability for 100% heavy sour crude use should not be treated as some kind of expectation on the United States government.  

                  There isn't any reason why gulf coast refineries cannot process domestically produced light, intermediate, sweeter crude in those gulf refineries designed for heavy sour crude.   While it is far, far more profitable to feed those refineries heavy sour crude given the changes made to these facilities previously, it does not mean that the refineries cannot operate on lighter feedstocks.  Under that kind of refinery crude slate, you would operate process equipment like cokers and vacuum distillation units at significantly reduced process rates or not at all.   It would mean the refinery's investment return on investment goes to hell, but that is no reason for the United States not to consider the potential for that kind of operation as an alternative to both KXL construction and to Venezuelan crude in the national interest test.

                  Finally, one factor to realize on the matter of foreign oil as to Venezuela and the Saudis.....   Venezuela and Saudi oil interests actually own portions or all of some specific gulf coast refineries.   Motiva is half owned by the Saudis and Citgo is a Venezuelan operation.   You cannot simply assume that those refineries seek Canadian oil, since those refinery operators have a continuing interest in bringing that foreign oil into the U.S.

            •  Agree that the multinationals.. (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Just Bob, cotterperson, LakeSuperior

              ...won't cease and desist on their own.  

              We have to take back our own power: public transit, distributed generation (like solar on rooftops), and lots and lots of energy efficiency.

              Also those big new solar plants in the desert are going to multiply as gas prices go up, and we have to keep building wind power.

              We can't stop Big Fossil Fuel, but we can stop contributing so much to their profit margins and bring demand down.

              “Better the occasional faults of a government that lives in a spirit of charity than the consistent omissions of a government frozen in the ice of its own indifference.” -- FDR, 1936

              by SolarMom on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 01:32:39 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  BTW - How'd All Them Hosses Get to DC? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ban nock

     photo MTMTDI3015_zpsd542c70e.jpg
    BLM Image

    •  That F-350 hauling the gooseneck trailer is (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      johnnygunn, Albanius

      flex fuel wind and solar.

      “Conservation… is a positive exercise of skill and insight, not merely a negative exercise of abstinence and caution…” Aldo Leopold

      by ban nock on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 11:50:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  the predictable (7+ / 0-)

      "but they used fossil fuels to protest the extraction of fossil fuels" accusation.

      Here's what Bill McKibben wrote on the subject a while back:

      But still, there’s one reason that never goes away, one evergreen excuse not to act: “you’re a hypocrite.” I’ve heard it ten thousand times myself—how can you complain about climate change and drive a car/have a house/turn on a light/raise a child? This past fall, as I headed across the country on a bus tour to push for divestment from fossil fuels, local newspapers covered each stop. I could predict, with great confidence, what the first online comment from a reader following each account would be: “Do these morons not know that their bus takes gasoline?” In fact, our bus took biodiesel—as we headed down the East Coast, one job was watching the web app that showed the nearest station pumping the good stuff. But it didn’t matter, because the next comment would be: “Don’t these morons know that the plastic fittings on their bus, and the tires, and the seats are all made from fossil fuels?”

      Actually, I do know—even a moron like me. I’m fully aware that we’re embedded in the world that fossil fuel has made, that from the moment I wake up, almost every action I take somehow burns coal and gas and oil. I’ve done my best, at my house, to curtail it: we’ve got solar electricity, and solar hot water, and my new car runs on electricity—I can plug it into the roof and thus into the sun. But I try not to confuse myself into thinking that’s helping all that much: it took energy to make the car, and to make everything else that streams into my life. I’m still using far more than any responsible share of the world’s vital stuff.

      And, in a sense, that’s the point. If those of us who are trying really hard are still fully enmeshed in the fossil fuel system, it makes it even clearer that what needs to change are not individuals but precisely that system. We simply can’t move fast enough, one by one, to make any real difference in how the atmosphere comes out. Here’s the math, obviously imprecise: maybe 10 percent of the population cares enough to make strenuous efforts to change—maybe 15 percent. If they all do all they can, in their homes and offices and so forth, then, well . . . nothing much shifts. The trajectory of our climate horror stays about the same.

      But if 10 percent of people, once they’ve changed the light bulbs, work all-out to change the system? That’s enough. That’s more than enough. It would be enough to match the power of the fossil fuel industry, enough to convince our legislators to put a price on carbon. At which point none of us would be required to be saints. We could all be morons, as long as we paid attention to, say, the price of gas and the balance in our checking accounts. Which even dummies like me can manage.

      Ecology is the new Economy => Kosonomy

      by citisven on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 01:30:39 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Put me down for "infinitesimal" then, because (0+ / 0-)

    I do

    assume catastrophic global warming is inevitable and that the signed climate pledges of the United States government are worthless
    "Infinitesimal" like pouring a teaspoon of gasoline on an already burning fire.

    muddy water can best be cleared by leaving it alone

    by veritas curat on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 12:07:29 PM PDT

    •  Disasters are inevitable, catastrophe is not (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      James Wells

      Disasters like Sandy, crop failures and California's current drought are already upon us.

      But we have the technical and economic capacity (see for example the IPCC's latest report) to hold global overheating below a level that would trigger runaway positive feedbacks, progressively melt the ice sheets and inundate coastlines. That global catastrophe can still be prevented.
        Accelerating the transition to renewables would cost FAR, FAR less than failing to act in time.  The missing ingredient is political will.  Counsels of despair are part of the problem.

      There's no such thing as a free market!

      by Albanius on Sat Apr 26, 2014 at 08:58:34 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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