Bye, Bye Keystone XL

Global warming activists can break out the champagne. They won. Keystone XL is dead. It’s not official yet, but frustrated TransCanada has switched gears.

On August 1, 2013 TransCanada announced it is building a new 2,700 mile long pipeline. The $12 billion venture is called the Energy East Pipeline Project. It will carry 1.1 million barrels a day of Alberta and Saskatchewan oil across Canada to New Brunswick refineries and a new $300 million export terminal to be built in Saint John.

The 1,200 mile long Keystone XL would have cost $5.3 billion and carried 830,000 barrels a day to U.S. Gulf Coast and Midwest refineries. Keystone XL would have also shipped oil from North Dakota’s Bakken oil fields.

President Obama’s indecision forced TransCanada to seek another way to get Canadian oil to market. As a result, North Dakota will get left out in the cold.

The Last Straw

Keystone XL got caught up in World War Warming. It got caught up in partisan politics.

A fairly routine approval process turned into a long, foot-dragging Administration effort trying to play both sides of the political fence at the same time.

The ending chronology:

  • 5/2012 – TransCanada files revised Keystone XL application
  • 1/2013 – Nebraska Governor approves revised application
  • 3/1/2013 – U.S. State Department approves XL (Still no Obama decision)
  • 4/2/2013 – TransCanada launches “binding open season” for new pipeline.
    ‘Binding open season’ means lining up signed contracts from paying pipeline users.
    They got the needed customers
  • 6/25/2013 – Obama adds new unspecified carbon pollution requirement onto Keystone XL
  • 7/27/2013 – In a NYT interview, President Obama claims Keystone XL will create less than 100 jobs

President Obama played his last political game with Keystone XL on July 27th. TransCanada announced the new pipeline five days later.

A Shallow Victory

For sure, there will be radical protesters who will cheer the feel-good victory.

At long last, Keystone XL is stopped! Hurray!!

Make no nevermind that they only encouraged TransCanada to build a bigger, longer pipeline in Canada.

Make no nevermind that they didn’t stop tar sand oil.

Make no nevermind that it’ll probably raised global CO2 emissions.

Make no nevermind that they cost high paying American jobs in a down economy.

Make no nevermind that they left North Dakota’s Bakken oil with no pipeline to market.
Bakken oil will still have to travel by dangerous rail.

The protesters naively thought that if they stopped the pipeline they would stop tar sand oil development.

The Protesters stopped the pipeline, all right, but not the oil.


President Obama and the protest movement miscalculated.

Both greatly overestimate what can be achieved with renewable energy (and conservation) now and both grossly underestimate U.S. and global energy needs.

In its 2013 Annual Energy Outlook, the EIA forecasts that in 2040 green energy will supply 13% of all energy used in the United States. Fossil fuels will still supply 78%.

The green energy industry is still very much in its infancy.

Canadian tar sand oil was always going to be developed, no matter what. It will be refined and it will be burned, just not in the United States.

U.S. refineries are highly regulated. They would have refined Canadian oil cleaner than they will be in China or Russia when exported out of Saint John.

In addition to that, North Dakota Bakken oil will still have to be shipped to market by rail until another pipeline solution comes along. That risks another oil train disaster like the one in Canada that killed 47 people and destroyed most of a town.

Renewable energy and environmentalism can and should be pushed forward with great haste. But you gotta pick and chose your fights wisely.

Refusing Keystone XL was the wrong move.


About azleader

Learning to see life more clearly... one image at a time!

Posted on Aug 5, 2013, in Business, Climate, economics, Economy, Energy, envronment, Government, news, Politics, technology. Bookmark the permalink. 10 Comments.

  1. The last bit about the runaway train was wrong and detracted from what was a really good article. Accidents and sabotage are realities regardless of the mode of transport but the other points you make are winners on their own.

  2. Dan Pangburn

    Technologically competent science has discovered:

    Any credible change to the level of non-condensing greenhouse gases doesn’t have, has never had and will never have significant effect on average global temperature.

    GW ended before 2001.

    AGW never was.

    Average global temperature is extremely sensitive to low altitude cloud area change

    What the IPCC won’t tell you

    • CO2 is a greenhouse gas that causes global warming. Just look at Venus. Scientific theory explaining CO2 as a greenhouse gas has been around for 117 years and generally accepted by the scientific community.

      Human-caused CO2, identified by its trace scientific signatures, has helped increased Earth levels to nearly 400ppm… the highest in millennium. The measurements are not in dispute.

      There has not been significant air/sea GW in the last 15 years. Measurements show that.

      The effect of human-caused CO2 is not as cut and dry as the IPCC claims. IPCC modeling forecasts are consistently above measurements.

      The fact Earth’s temperature has remained static over the last 15 years while, at the same time, there has been a 25% increase in CO2 is proof IPCC models are faulty.

  3. Dan Pangburn

    AZ – I agree with most of what you say but have some comments about the influence of CO2 for you to consider.

    CO2 is called a ghg because it has an absorption band in the range of the electromagnetic radiation (EMR) from earth (never mind that it has little to do with how greenhouses work). It was this absorption band that was discovered all those years ago. But it is just a band (actually a very narrow statistical distribution centered at about 15 microns). If you imagine earth’s EMR as a hill across the page, the CO2 absorption band would look like a vertical line. In other words, CO2 absorbs only a tiny part of the total EMR. By far the most EMR absorption is by water vapor.

    The EMR flux exhibits a logarithmic decline with distance from the emitting surface. I researched this a few years ago and determined that 90% of the surface EMR flux is absorbed and thermalized within 1.6 km. At every ‘level’ about 11.6 % of the EMR flux is thermalized and the rest is re-radiated. Thermalization is how the absorbed EMR warms the atmosphere. There is a section in the ‘mistakes’ link on thermalization. (The IPCC reports don’t mention thermalization)

    The warmed atmosphere then rises to form clouds and/or the temperature gradient (which the meteorologists call the lapse rate). The only thing that rational increase to the CO2 level does is cause absorption to take place slightly closer to the emitting surface. At 700 ppmv, 90% absorption and thermalization would take place about 100 meters closer to the surface than at 350 ppmv.

    A paper made public in 2008 at concluded that “…CO2 change does not cause significant climate change.” The several considerations that corroborate this are discussed there. The climatechange90 link further corroborates this. Also, there is no correlation between average global temperature and CO2 level over geologic time.

    Neither Venus or Mars provide useful information for understanding the climate on earth which is primarily regulated by water 1) because water is there in oceans with their huge effective thermal capacitance and 2) because it evaporates, condenses and freezes.

    If you were talking about average global temperature, I think you meant to say that IPCC modeling forecasts are [lately] consistently ABOVE measurements.

    • Yes… you are right… the IPCC models have consistently predicted HIGHER temperatures than observed. We’ve got approximately 0.4 degrees C behind in global warming since 1998… unless, of course, you believe the heat has skipped the ocean’s surface to warm up the deep ocean instead, like AGW alarmists believe.

  4. Hi there are using WordPress for your site platform?

    I’m new to the blog world but I’m trying to get started and set up my own.
    Do you need any html coding knowledge to make your
    own blog? Any help would be really appreciated!

    • Yes. You don’t need any HTML knowledge whatsoever, but some knowledge helps sometimes and it can be used on WordPress web pages.

      For example, in this article I had to insert HTML code to make the “2” sub-scripted when writing CO2.

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