By rejecting Keystone, President Obama cements his climate legacy

The stupid-from-the-beginning Keystone XL pipeline is dead. It was designed to make it easier to sell the dirtiest of all fuels (tar sands and petcoke), which pollute our air and are inefficient as fuels. The proposed project was incompatible with solving climate changeSecretary of State John Kerry and President Obama have now decided that building the pipeline is not in our best interest.

This latest decision was often used as a symbol for all of Obama’s actions on the environment. The reality is that Obama’s decision on Keystone is only one part of his legacy. Under the Obama Administration, we have gone from being a laggard to a leader. We have created multiple international agreements with other countries like China to deal with pollution and climate change. 

These agreements are tough for everyone involved. But, they are doable and they are necessary if we are going to solve this climate problem. The Obama Administration has also introduced increased efficiency requirements for vehicles and pollution rules for coal-based electricity in the U.S.

Simply put, the U.S. is now the global leader on climate change. We are also now a global leader in the new energy economy. 

The State Department recommended rejection for many reasons:

  1. The pipeline does not make a meaningful contribution to the US economy. This is not the way to make jobs. The number of permanent jobs this expensive pipeline would create is dwarfed by the jobs created in just one day by our U.S. economy. In fact, the number of permanent jobs created by Keystone would be equal to that created in just 6 minutes in the rest of the economy.
  2. The pipeline would not lower gas prices for U.S. consumers. In fact, people who are concerned about gas prices need to note that gas prices have gone down significantly without the pipeline.
  3. Shipping dirtier crude oil does not help with a diversified energy supply. Instead, a better approach is to develop our own domestic clean energy supplies. We’ve done that, we’re are using our energy more wisely. As a result, our emissions and our costs are down. We are now in a position where wind and solar can compete with fossil fuels. Why would we want to go back to the last century by paying other countries to pollute and killing energy jobs in the U.S? It just doesn’t make sense. 

These reasons are right. They are based on sound science and sound economics.

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Posted by John Abraham on Monday, 9 November, 2015

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