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June 26, 2013 12:00 PM The Keystone Pipeline Has No Future

By James Wimberley

President Barack Obama, in yesterday’s big speech on climate change:

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. The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.

It’s impossible for the pipeline to meet this test honestly. For if it will not increase the sales and hence emissions of Alberta tar sands oil, why would anybody want to build it?

18 months ago I made a rash prediction:

My simple hydraulic model of energy politics predicts that the Keystone XL pipeline will never be approved.

Pity I didn’t back this on Intrade.

Please treat comments as an open thread on the speech. Keystone wasn’t the biggest announcement, which was the confirmation of EPA regulation of of CO2 emissions from coal power stations. The exhortation to “invest, divest” may be equally important as the moment Obama burnt the boats that would allow another centrist tactical retreat. It’s on to Senlac or Mexico.

This once, I’ll allow denialist ventings from our regulars, as long as they don’t derail the thread.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

James Wimberley was head of the mutual assistance section of the department of education for the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, and secretary to the Councilís higher education and research committee. He is retired.