Passing the GHG Test
President Obama was clear when he stated at Georgetown University that, “allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
Keystone XL easily passes this test. The State Department, independent experts and agencies and climate scientists have all confirmed Keystone XL will have minimal impacts on the environment, GHG emissions and no detectable impact on climate change.
In fact, a new study by the highly-respected global consultancy IHS has reiterated that Keystone XL can be built with minimal impact to the environment and GHGs. The study also confirms the State Department’s final environmental impact statement’s findings that the primary market for crude oil and refined products is the United States.
This report adds to the mountains of evidence debunking the manufactured myths about Keystone XL, exports and GHG impacts.
The State Department final environmental impact report finds Keystone XL passes the GHG test:
The Final Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (FSEIS) undertook an extensive review of this issue and concluded the project indisputably meets this test, consistent with the findings of previous reviews.
- Based on this conclusion, it is clear that the approval of the proposed project will not have a significant impact on the GHGs released from the upstream sector in Canada and Keystone XL, therefore, will not “significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.”
- GHG emissions associated with alternative transportation scenarios such as shipping oil by rail, barge ad truck are significantly greater than Keystone XL.
- Keystone XL will be transporting heavy crude oil that will displace heavy oil imported from Mexico and Venezuela. According to the FSEIS, this would result in an insignificant increase in emissions. Representing between 0.019 per cent to 0.28 per cent of U.S. domestic emissions, and 0.004 per cent to 0.061 per cent of global carbon dioxide emissions.
- Lastly, the FSEIS found that “it is not clear whether all WCSB (Western Canada Sedimentary Basin) oil-sands derived crudes are currently more GHG intensive than other heavy crudes or crudes with high flaring rates,” and depending on the factors chosen, “the lifecycle GHG emissions of certain WCSB crudes fall within the same range as heavy Venezuelan crude oil, California heavy oil, and lighter crudes that are produced from operations that flare most of the associated gas” (e.g. Nigerian light crude).
Independent agencies and experts agree, Keystone XL is the environmentally responsible choice
Both internationally respected energy agencies and independent experts have also supported the State Department environmental impact statement’s findings. The also provide much-needed context to oil sands and Canada’s GHGs.
“Keystone XL would have no material impact on U.S. GHG emissions.”
– IHS CERA report [Read more]
“All three nations, Canada, Mexico and the U.S., stand to benefit from an increased focus on energy cooperation.”
– Council on Foreign Relations report North America: A Time for a New Focus [Read more]
“(I)t is time to move forward on the Keystone XL Pipeline.”
– Former head of the U.S. Geological Survey, Marcia McNutt [Read more]
“At the end of the day, we are going to be consuming that oil,” Salazar said. “So is it better for us to get the oil from our good neighbor from the north, or to be bringing it from some place in the Middle East?”
– Former Interior Secretary Ken Salazar [Read more]
Opposing Keystone XL is a not a strategy for addressing climate change
These findings also echo recent statements, made by prominent climate scientists in the magazine Nature, acknowledging that Keystone XL is not “game over” for the planet. Here’s what they had to say about Keystone XL’s actual impact on climate change:
- The Nature Scientific Journal published an article (January 2013) that discussed Keystone XL. Nature is one of the oldest and most respected global scientific journals. The Journal urged the U.S. administration to approved Keystone XL, saying the pipeline will not determine if the oil sands are developed or not. Nor is oil from the oil sands as dirty as many believe. The Journal stated that heavy oil from California, without attention from environmentalists, is worse.
- David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California. — “As a serious strategy for dealing with climate, blocking Keystone is a waste of time. But as a strategy for arousing passion, it is dynamite.”
Time to build
Keystone XL clearly satisfies all of the stated national interest determination criteria, it passes the environmental test of not significantly exacerbating the problem of carbon pollution, will enhance U.S. energy security and provide economic benefits to the nation through privately funded job creation and economic stimulus.