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Thursday, October 27, 2016

Paris (AFP) – A proposed pipeline from Canada to the United States may result in much higher greenhouse gas emissions than previously calculated as it could fuel greater oil consumption through higher production and lower prices, a study said Sunday.

Researchers from the Stockholm Environment Institute used a mathematical model to estimate the Keystone XL pipeline’s potential for atmospheric pollution.

Unlike calculations by the U.S. State Department, they took into account a possible consumption rise in line with production, the pair wrote in the journal Nature Climate Change.

It was not clear, though, what the production increase was likely to be.

Using basic supply-and-demand economic principles and assuming a rise in production, the team calculated the pipeline would yield greenhouse gas emissions of 100-110 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (MtCO2e) per year — “four times the upper State Department estimate” of 27.4 MtCO2e, they said.

The Keystone XL project to carry oil sands crude from Canada to refineries along the U.S. Gulf Coast, has pitted environmental groups against the oil industry, which argues it will bring much-needed jobs and help fulfill the U.S. goal of energy self-sufficiency.

U.S. President Barack Obama has said the pipeline could only be approved if it “does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution”.

The research team said that for every barrel of increased production, global oil consumption would increase by 0.6 barrels “owing to the incremental decrease in global oil prices”.

This, in turn, would pump out more Earth-warming carbon dioxide emissions — estimated at about 36 billion tonnes for 2013.

“Our simple model shows that, to the extent that Keystone XL leads to greater oil sands production, the pipeline’s effect on oil prices could substantially increase its total GHG (greenhouse gas) impact,” wrote the study authors.

“The State Department’s assessment has overlooked the pipeline’s potentially most significant GHG impact: increasing oil consumption as the result of increasing supplies and lowering prices.”

AFP Photo/Nicholas Kamm

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  • Dominick Vila

    The insistence by the GOP to build the Keystone pipeline so that the Koch brothers can transport highly corrosive shale oil to Gulf ports for export to China and other countries is an example of the power of money in American politics, and how far the GOP is willing to go to support the interests of their patrons.
    The fact that so many Americans support the construction of projects like this, knowing the damage it will cause to our environment, and the limited benefits we would get from it, is the product of effective campaigning, ignorance, indifference, and ideology. Common sense and a desire to preserve the patrimony we inherited from our elders is of little consequence for those willing to sell everything if there is a chance to make a buck or make a political opponent look intransigent.

    • Mark Forsyth

      Hi Dominick,As I’m sure you’ve noticed,our constituents don’t seem to have much to say on this topic.I find the lack of comments curious.

      • Dominick Vila

        It is not easy to defend the indefensible, especially when doing so compromises the credibility of those who support things like this for a few bucks …

        • Mark Forsyth

          I agree with your statement Dom,but frankly I didn’t think that folks here on the Memo were much in favor of that pipeline.

          • highpckts

            NOT in favor of it at all!!

          • Mark Forsyth

            See there? I didn’t think that you or any of the regulars on this page supported the pipeline.I just figured there would be more discussion about it.Maybe some folks feel that their opposition to the pipeline is a given and there is no need to mention it on the Memo. Don’t know.

          • highpckts

            We have trashed this planet almost beyond redemption! It’s time to say NO to corporate greed and complete denial of what is happening!!

          • Mark Forsyth

            I could not agree with you more.How in God’s name can anyone think that it’s O.K. to blow the top off a mountain so they can get at the coal,or ruin an entire watershed to extract the lumber and minerals? I consider it to be a crime against humanity.
            I have been an outdoorsman all my life.Though I still continue to enjoy some very beautiful places,it saddens me sometimes to see how much has been degraded and destroyed just during the past forty years.I try to take heart and am grateful for the efforts of those who try to conserve our wild places but there are times when it seems as though there has never been an Earth Day.

    • highpckts

      So totally agree! Can’t say how many “friends” say the “weather” is just fine and we need more oil!! I want to smack them simple!!

    • ralphkr

      What I find most disturbing about Keystone is how supporters of the pipeline conveniently ignore the many advantages touted by the company pushing to build it. Such marvelous advantages as 24, count them, 24 permanent full time jobs for Americans, avoiding taxes in Canada & the US (oil is going to a free port in Texas) projected increase in crude price by $10 a bbl (of course, that is a good thing when you are in oil production but not so good for the rest of us), the advanced technology that allows them to use thinner Canadian steel in the pipes (marvelous idea, use thinner steel while transporting much more corrosive materials than normal crude). Remember that these are all GOOD selling points touted by the company.

      I am surprised that the company makes no mention of the thousands of US workers that shall be kept busy cleaning up the numerous toxic spills. Mark my words, there will be many spills.

      To me, the most hazardous thing about this misbegotten idea of running the pipeline across the Oglala Aquifer is the excellent chance that they shall poison the aquifer and thereby destroy agriculture and towns from Texas to South Dakota that rely on the Oglala Aquifer for water.

      • Dominick Vila

        Supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline never mentioned the fact that when a proposal was put forth to build it to the West Coast of Canada to expedite export to China, the Canadian people put pressure on their government to reject the proposal because of the damage it would cause to their environment.

  • Mark Forsyth

    The Tar Sands extraction and processing site which is situated in the middle of Canada’s primordial forest ,is large enough to be seen from space.Much like the chemically toxic so-called proprietary hydro-fracking fluids,the tar sands ops also use highly toxic and carcinogenic chemical fluids which must be kept in holding ponds.Already several years ago, it was suspected that these ponds were leaking.
    Several First Nations communities,including Fort Chipewyan are located in close proximity and downstream from these holding ponds.These are ancient communities having a long tradition of hunting,fishing ,and trapping to support themselves. Before the advent of the Tar Sands operations,the people also swam in the streams and drank the water.They were healthy and had healthy diets for the most part and there was little to none in the way of widespread chronic illnesses within the Native population there.Since the Tar Sands operations began,there has been a significant increase in cancer within the local Native populations.It has been reported that not only are these specific cancers very unusual in First Nations peoples but are rarely seen anywhere else among the world’s populations.
    One River Many Relatives is a documentary that explores the Athabasca Oil Sands from a marginalized and often silenced perspective: Communities that live downstream.Fort Chipewyan Alberta,is well known as a community that is fighting against the pollution from resource extraction which is causing cancers and degrading their traditional territories.
    This documentary is a collaborative,community effort of 33 interviews with local Cree,Dene,and Metis members from Fort Chipewyan. It gets to the heart of their concerns for their families,traditional ways,and territories as the Oil Sands encroach closer and closer. Produced in partnership with Mikisew Cree First Nation and Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation.
    If and when this pipeline goes through,we will not need to wait to see the destruction of wildlife,water,land,and lives,It has already begun.

  • johninPCFL

    3500 temporary jobs, a pipeline through an aquifer carrying the most corrosive material ever, a foreign company using eminent domain to seize Nebraskans land for the pipeline. And all so that a Canadian company set up to limit liability for this mess can fill its Chinese orders more profitably.