Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Keystone and the tipping point away from fossil fuels

From:  Elizabeth May

by Elizabeth May 

Last spring when the U.S. State Department Final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on Keystone XL was released, it was heralded by project boosters as the green light to approval. It was actually more of a flashing yellow.

The EIS was dense and lengthy. It was a policy wonkish document. When the NEB report on Enbridge came out I couldn’t help but to contrast the approach taken by two different nations and their regulators. The NEB produced a PR document — complete with pretty pictures, but with a dearth of evidence — to boost a foregone conclusion: the NEB would approve the Enbridge pipeline. As I plowed through the EPA advice to State Department on Keystone, it was equally clear that there was no foregone conclusion. Secretary of State John Kerry could go either way in his advice to the U.S. President.

Last year, Joe Oliver and Gary Doer should have read the EPA report before praising it. Had they done so, they might have noticed the finding that Keystone would not boost GHG only if the price of a barrel of oil remained above $100. If prices dropped to $80/barrel the report found that building Keystone would boost oil sands expansion and thus be a significant contributor to global warming. Gary Doer’s recent attack on the EPA was shockingly undiplomatic. Suddenly the same report he once praised, he attacked as dishonest. I wonder if being Canada’s Ambassador to the United States is really worth Gary Doer’s loss of personal integrity. It must be humiliating to berate the U.S. Secretary of State claiming the EPA “ignores a decade of Canadian achievement in cutting greenhouse gas emissions,” when the EPA report had not ignored the evidence. It cited Environment Canada statistics that confirmed Canada would entirely miss our Copenhagen target.  MORE

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