Watching the Sunday talk shows this week, I learned that the influential journalist Fareed Zakaria has now joined the chorus urging construction of Keystone pipeline. If built, that pipeline would carry bitumen, a form of asphalt that can be used as a substitute for conventional crude oil, from Canadian oil sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. The pipeline has been opposed by environmental groups and championed by many in the energy industry. After much waffling, the Obama administration appears ready to let it go forward. In a Time Magazine editorial this week and a segment on CNN, Zakaria maintains that is the right decision. I find his arguments unconvincing.
His first argument is that the oil derived from Canadian tar sands
will be developed at about the same pace whether or not there is a
pipeline to the U.S. Stopping it might make us feel good, but it
wouldn’t do much about climate change.
It is very likely true that blocking Keystone would not stop the
development of Canadian oil sands in its tracks. Whether or not it
proceeds at “about the same pace” is another question.>>>Read more