OSFC “Draws the Line” on Keystone XL Opponents’ Climate Claims

“The fact that McKibben and his organization have made the proposed pipeline the bête noire of the entire environmental movement—and the litmus test by which they vow to judge President Obama’s integrity on the environment—seems arbitrary.” – BusinessWeek


Click above to view the complete infographic.

Ever since President Obama said that approval of Keystone XL hinges on a finding that the project “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution,” Keystone XL opponents have been trying to convince Americans that it will, but have failed miserably. The consensus is clear: Keystone XL passes President Obama’s climate test.

Today, before Keystone XL opponents begin their “Draw the Line” campaign, Oil Sands Fact Check (OSFC) is releasing a new infographic that “draws the line” between activists promoting false talking points and an overwhelming majority of Americans, which include the Obama administration, news outlets, research organizations, and prominent climate scientists, who have all agreed that Keystone XL will not significantly increase greenhouse gas emissions.

Even the event organizers admit, “The fight over Keystone XL isn’t about oil. It’s about justice.” Yet as our OSFC’s pamphlet, “Why Americans Say Yes to Keystone XL,” demonstrates, Americans overwhelmingly support Keystone XL because the pipeline will increase energy security and create thousands of jobs, while going above and beyond the safety standards of any existing pipeline. No wonder union and labor groups have rallied in support of Keystone XL at the White House and in cities throughout America and a clear majority of editorial boards support the project. Even Democrats and Republicans in Congress agree that Keystone XL is in our nation’s best interest.

As you will see from the statements below, the only ones saying that Keystone XL doesn’t meet President Obama’s climate test are the activists themselves.  Gee, whom to believe?

The Obama administration:

  • United States State Department: In its 2013 draft assessment, the State Department found that Canada will develop its oil sands “with or without the project…approval or denial of the proposed project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area.” The State Department’s 2013 assessment offers a similar conclusion to its 2011 assessment of Keystone XL which found that, “from a global perspective, the project is not likely to result in incremental greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • White House: Keystone XL Pipeline Not A Climate Change Cure: “Thousands of miles of pipeline have been built since President Obama took office, and that hasn’t had a measurable impact on climate change,” said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, on board Air Force One. “The truth is what we need to do is take an all of the above approach.”

Independent Analysis

  • IHS CERA recently released a report which also finds that Keystone XL will have “no material impact” on greenhouse gas emissions. The report states that heavy crude oil will be refined in the U.S. Gulf Coast refineries regardless.  But without Keystone XL, much of that crude will be imported from Venezuela instead of Canada. As the report states, Venezuela will be “the number one beneficiary of a negative decision” on Keystone XL.

Prominent Energy and Climate Experts

Opinion Leaders and Newspapers Dispute Activists Claims:

Washington Post Editorial,Environmentalists are fighting the wrong battles”:

    1. “The analysis underscores the extent to which activists have trumped up a relatively mundane infrastructure issue into the premier environmental fight of this decade, leading to big marches and acts of civil disobedience to advance a cause that is worthy of neither. The activists ought to pick more important fights. Until they do, the president should ignore their pressure.”
    2. The State Department’s 2,000 page analysis “dismantled the case that nixing the Canadian pipeline must be a priority for anyone concerned about climate change.”
  • Nature Editorial: “[R]egarding the Keystone pipeline, the administration should face down critics of the project, ensure that environmental standards are met and then approve it. As Nature has suggested before (see Nature 477, 249; 2011), the pipeline is not going to determine whether the Canadian tar sands are developed or not. Only a broader — and much more important — shift in energy policy will do that. Nor is oil produced from the Canadian tar sands as dirty from a climate perspective as many believe…”
  • Chicago Tribune Editorial: “Will Obama OK the Keystone pipeline? The case for approving the pipeline: The 2,000-page draft report shows, convincingly, that the president’s condition has been satisfied. The case is ready to be closed. Let’s start putting people to work laying pipe.”
  • New York Times Columnist Joe Nocera: Approval of the Keystone XL pipeline “should be a no-brainer for the president, for all the reasons I stated earlier, and one more: the strategy of activists like McKibben, Brune and Hansen, who have made the Keystone pipeline their line in the sand, is utterly boneheaded.”
  • Eugene Robinson, Washington Post Columnist: President Obama’s “seriousness about addressing climate change is not his pending decision on the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline.”  He continues, “the oil is likely to be extracted eventually, regardless of the pipeline decision.”
  • Bloomberg BusinessWeek:  “[E]ven McKibben will admit, the battle over the Keystone XL pipeline is as much symbolic as it is practical. If the Alberta tar sands are mined, the carbon levels in the atmosphere would increase by only 0.02 percent, according to TransCanada. The fact that McKibben and his organization have made the proposed pipeline the bête noire of the entire environmental movement—and the litmus test by which they vow to judge President Obama’s integrity on the environment—seems arbitrary.”

To view the full infographic, click here.


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