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The Energy Collective, January 31, 2013: Will Climate Change Hawk Kerry Kill Keystone XL?
"The solution to climate change is energy policy. And, the opportunities of energy policy so vastly outweigh the downsides that you’re expressing concerns about … You want to do business and do it well in America, you have to get into the energy race … I would respectfully say to you that climate change is not something to be feared in response to—the steps to respond to—it’s to be feared if we don’t … I will be a passionate advocate on this not based on ideology but based on facts and science, and I hope to sit with all of you and convince you that this $6 trillion market is worth millions of American jobs and we better go after it." --
John Kerry at his confirmation hearing
Just for the record, I am a Climate Change Hawk. I don't believe that Obama/Kerry should approve the Keystone XL pipeline expansion project, but like a lot of other issues of this sort, I expect that they will. Global politics and jobs trumps the better arguments of the environment and Climate Change. The real target here for environmentalists is the Tar Sands project in Canada. The Keystone Pipeline XL is the enabler of expanding that project from it's current level. Note that the term XL attached to that pipeline line. There already is a big 30 inch diameter Keystone pipeline carrying 435,000 barrels per day of this dirty crude across the US border to Patoka, Illinois. It was approved by President Bush and has been operational since June 2010.
Downstream Today: Oil Flows Through Keystone
However, I don't want to make this post just about Keystone XL or the Canadian Tar Sands project. We've already discussed that extensively in this website in past threads, most recently in Eternal Flame's post: Canada TAR SANDS OIL much more dangerous than "crude" oil.
Rather we should also address the other big time contributors to greenhouse gas emissions, including coal mining in China, Australia, Indonesia and the United States, and oil and gas drilling around the world. See the recent article in AlterNet that ranks these projects:
AlterNet, January 28, 2013: The 14 Fossil-Fuel Projects Poised to F*ck up the Climate
Using a simple metric of how many additional tons of CO2 each project will emit by 2020, here’s how they rank:
1. China’s Western provinces / Coal mining expansion / 1,400
2. Australia / Coal export expansion / 760
3. Arctic / Drilling for oil and gas / 520
4. Indonesia / Coal export expansion / 460
5. United States / Coal export expansion / 420
6. Canada / Tar sands oil / 420
7. Iraq / Oil drilling / 420
8. Gulf of Mexico / Deepwater oil drilling / 350
9. Brazil / Deepwater oil drilling (pre-salt) / 330
10. Kazakhstan / Oil drilling / 290
11. United States / Shale gas / 280
12. Africa / Gas drilling / 260
13. Caspian Sea / Gas drilling / 240
14. Venezuela / Tar sands oil / 190
Here's where in dealing with reality, I suffer from cognitive dissonance. Remember that Romney campaign ad where he featured a row of Ohio coal miners standing behind him as he promoted the virtues of coal and "good paying jobs" in the coal industry? When I first saw that clip I felt anger...then pity...and then understanding. As the son of a miner and growing up in the mining town of Butte, Montana, I certainly understand the fear and anxiety of a miner struggling to provide for his family. Those of us that have experienced that will feel more empathy than those that have not. It is the fear of losing a job and not being able to provide for your family that has many miners obediently following the orders of their corporate masters. It trumps just about everything else. It's reality.
Largely is response to CBB's points about "fracking" I spent days browsing the internet educating myself on the issues of not only fracking, but also greenhouse gas emissions. Naturally it covered both coal and oil and gas extraction worldwide. On the topic of "fracking" I saw much resistance being generated in communities across America, much of it in response to the movie Gasland. But I also found something else...resistance and blockage of proposed wind turbine and solar farms not only in the United States but across the globe. A website called Windturbine Syndrome
discusses many of these protests against wind farms. Proponents of harnessing wind and solar energy are largely all for it until the NIMBY sets in...Not In My Back Yard. You can read about some of them in the LA Times:
LA Times, January 24, 2011: Wind farms multiply, fueling clashes with nearby residents
With regards to the proposed wind farm offshore Massachusetts, the late Ted Kennedy, John Kerry and other notable Democrats have been opposed to this project:
Senator Kerry explained his reasons
this way: “I’ve always said that I think Senator Kennedy has raised very legitimate issues with respect to the siting process and with respect to location. I’ve also suggested that it’s my opinion there may be even better locations for it. I’ve sat with Jim Gordon [president of Cape Wind], I’ve sat with other folks, I’ve met with Coast Guard people. I’ve tried to do due diligence on it, and I’m not sure there aren’t both windier and, you know, more accessible areas.”
In other words...Not In My Back Yard
So when it comes to the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, just remember...it's not in John Kerry's backyard.