The fact-free opposition to Keystone XL

Article Highlights

  • But in the realm of energy and environmental policy, Pavlov’s dogs are many, loyal, and deeply religious, and unlike Sherlock Holmes’s four-legged friend in Silver Blaze, they decidedly are not silent.

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  • Can a grassy knoll be far behind?

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  • The issue of the climate sensitivity of the atmosphere to increasing GHG concentrations is nowhere near resolution.

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  • Total world emissions of carbon dioxide in 2013 were about 36 billion metric tons; in this extreme case, Keystone XL would add about 0.4 percent.

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Contrary to opponents of Keystone XL, the pipeline would have virtually no effect on global warming, and the world is not experiencing more frequent and extreme climate-related events.

Now that the State Department has reported the obvious — that the Keystone XL pipeline would have virtually no effect on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or on global temperatures — the opponents of the project are bringing the heat. But in the realm of energy and environmental policy, Pavlov’s dogs are many, loyal, and deeply religious, and unlike Sherlock Holmes’s four-legged friend in Silver Blaze, they decidedly are not silent.

One such immediate reaction was offered by Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, who informs us modestly that “the future survival and wellbeing of humanity” is at stake. His specific arguments in summary are as follows:

•    “The world is on a trajectory to raise the mean global temperature by at least 3 degrees C by the end of the century.”
•    “The world is experiencing a rapidly rising frequency of extreme climate-related events such as heat waves.”
•    “The Keystone pipeline is crucial to the global carbon budget,” that is, an effort to limit the use of fossil fuels to an amount   that would yield a global temperature increase of no more than 2 degrees C.

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Benjamin
Zycher

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