The main opposition to the building of the Keystone Pipeline is based on the superstition that man-made carbon dioxide emissions cause global warming.
Let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that man-made global warming is real. How much difference would the Keystone Pipeline make? Perhaps the Environmental Protection Agency can tell us. They seem to think they can do so. According to the Hill’s Congress blog, The EPA recently openly criticized the State Department, accusing them of underestimating how much Carbon Dioxide would be released.
So what is the accurate estimate?
“The State Department concludes that the tar sands oil will come to market whether or not Keystone XL is ever built, meaning the pipeline would result in a minimal production of carbon dioxide that otherwise would not have occurred. The EPA, on the other hand, argues that absent the pipeline, the oil will largely remain in the ground. Therefore, building the pipeline will cause the extraction of oil, with the end result being the emission of an extra 18.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide per year.”
So, if you think that Canada won’t extract oil without the pipeline, then you know the pipeline will raise the temperature of the earth….
But wait! We originally asked how much warming would be caused by the pipeline. Telling us how many metric tons would be released, even under such dubious assumptions, is still not an answer to that question.
“Typically, when gauging ‘climate impacts,’ as the EPA claims is its ‘focus’ in the letter, emissions are put into a computer model to determine how they would actually impact the climate. Taking that extra step isn’t hard. The EPA didn’t do it. In fact, climate models are designed precisely to provide information about how emissions affect the climate, and are the primary source of projections of future global warming resulting from the human carbon dioxide emissions. So why did the EPA omit this critical step in determining the climate impacts of Keystone XL? Because even under the EPA’s highly pessimistic assumption, the extra 18.7 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually results in less than 0.00001°C of warming per year. In English, that’s one one-hundred-thousandth of a degree. Needless to say, ‘18.7 million’ sounds bigger.”
Of course, the EPA scam is no surprise. What I think would be more surprising is if conservatives let the EPA make them side with the State Department to make economic decisions. Whether or not that oil comes to market through a new pipeline, the economic benefit of the industry cannot outweigh the violation of the property rights of Americans.
The Keystone Pipeline project is based on the idea that,
1. The Federal Government should make economic decisions and choose winners and losers by using it powers; and
2. That people have no real control over their own property if the government wants it.
In other words, the Keystone Pipeline project is premised on the assumption that it is right and good for the United States Federal government to give the energy industry access to the property of individuals whether or not they want to sell the rights to that property.
Unlike carbon dioxide, eminent domain really pollutes the environment. Equality under the law is more important to prosperity than oil company cronyism.