Build That Pipeline!

Environmental groups are approaching the Keystone project much as the U.S. government fights the war on drugs. They are attacking supply rather than demand.

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One way to think about the keystone project–the 2,000-mile (3,220 km) pipeline that would bring oil from the tar sands of Canada to the Gulf of Mexico–is to ask what would happen if it is never built. The U.S. Department of State released an extremely thorough report that tries to answer this question. It concludes, basically, 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. In other words, stopping Keystone might make us feel good, but it wouldn’t really do anything about climate change.

Given the need for oil in the U.S., Canadian producers would still get Alberta’s oil to the refineries on the Gulf of Mexico. There are other pipeline possibilities, but the most likely method of transfer is by train. The report estimates that it would take daily runs of 15 trains with about 100 tank cars each to carry the amount planned by TransCanada. That would be a large increase in traffic from what now goes north to south, but it would hardly be an insurmountable problem. Rail traffic in this corridor is already exploding: the number of carloads of crude oil doubled from 2010 to 2011, then tripled from 2011 to 2012. And remember, moving oil by train produces much higher emissions of CO[subscript 2] (from diesel locomotives) than flowing it through a pipeline.

Canada could also transport the oil by train or pipeline west to British Columbia and then on to Asia, where demand is booming. Right now that seems a distant and costly prospect, but having visited Alberta recently, I can attest that Canadian businesspeople and officials are planning seriously for Asian markets–especially since they have come to regard U.S. energy policy as politicized, hostile and mercurial. Whoever uses the oil, the CO[subscript 2] will be released into the atmosphere just the same.

Also, if we don’t use oil from Alberta, we will need to get it somewhere to fuel our transportation needs–from Venezuela, Mexico, Saudi Arabia or California. Some of these oils are heavy crude, and processing, refining and burning them is believed to be even more harmful to the environment than using fuels from refracted Canadian oil sands. Switching from oil sands to, say, Venezuelan crude (the most likely alternative) would reduce greenhouse-gas emissions by a minimal amount or not at all. To the extent that this would make us use more coal for electricity generation, it would be a big step backward for the environment. For many of these reasons, the scientific journal Nature, long a leader on climate change, argued in an editorial that President Obama should approve Keystone. A decision is expected this spring.

Environmental groups are approaching this project much as the U.S. government fights the war on drugs. They are attacking supply rather than demand. In this case, environmentalists have chosen one particular source of energy–Alberta’s tar sands–and are trying to shut it down. But as long as there is demand for oil, there will be supply. A far more effective solution would be to try to moderate demand by putting in place a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system. Ideally we would use the proceeds to fund research on alternative energy. Washington spends $73 billion on research for defense, $31 billion on health care and just $3 billion on energy. Massive increases in research would make a difference. Targeting one Canadian oil field–or one pipeline company–will not.

Some in the environmental movement seem to recognize that the facts don’t really support singling out Keystone, so they have turned to more intangible reasons to oppose it. Climate activist Bill McKibben argues that if Obama were to say no to Keystone, it would be a turning point: “He could finally say to the Chinese, ‘We’ve done something significant. Your turn.’” Of all the arguments for blocking Keystone, this is surely the most naive. Is there a shred of evidence from the past 25 years that China would respond to this kind of unilateral concession by limiting its growth? How did Beijing respond to the Kyoto accords, under which European countries curbed their carbon emissions? By building a coal-fired power plant every week since then!

Opponents of Keystone say that the specifics are less important in this case and that it is the symbolism that matters. And it does. If we block this project–whose source is no worse than many others, rebuffing our closest trading partner and ally and spurning easily accessible energy in favor of Venezuelan or Saudi crude–it would be a symbol, and a depressing one at that. It would be a symbol of how emotion has taken the place of analysis and ideology now trumps science on both sides of the environmental debate.

This article is published in this week’s magazine.

110 comments
Sarterfish
Sarterfish

There are more than two flaws to this article;

1. The Canadian Tar Sand oil is almost exclusively owned by and guaranteed to be shipped to China. It will not be for use in the USA.

2. The article assumes that if the pipeline is not built that Canada will extract this oil anyway. There is strong resistance from people in BC and the East Coast of Canada from other pipelines being built as well, and the more efforts that are successful to block pipelines, the slower the excavation and exploitation will occur, giving time for legal challenges that are underway. 

3. The US does not even need this 400% higher ghg intensity Oil. (yes, 400% more ghg emissions, see the Pembina link below) We are using less every day and that will continue with programs such as this; https://www.pear-energy.com/?utm_source=Care2&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=Care6J

4. The article states; "If we block this project–whose source is no worse than many others..." This is a complete LIE!! Please refer to these studies for the truth regarding Tar Sand ghg emissions;

http://www.pembina.org/oil-sands/os101/climate

http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42537.pdf#!

http://yosemite.epa.gov/oeca/webeis.nsf/(PDFView)/20100126/$file/20100126.PDF

In conclusion, who wrote or perhaps "paid for" this article? It appears to be a paid infomercial from the Oil and Gas industry. Mr Zakaria, though generally a respected journalist, appears to ave some MAJOR facts very wrong in this opinion piece and that is very out of character for him. I smell money...

XX
XX

Two flaws to this argument:

1. The keystone pipeline is not driven by an increased demand for natural gas.  The increased consumption of natural gas has been generated completely and entirely by the temporary price decline of the commodity created by a steep SUPPLY HIKE, facilitated by a reckless proliferation of unsafe extraction sites across North America in the last 8 years.  So the "demand" stats are stemming entirely from a supply-side increase.  That this is the case can be evidenced by the per capita decline in gas consumption since the 2007 crisis: people have less money due to unemployment, lower wages and (Fed. Reserve instigated) price inflation and gas prices have increased, not declined, prompting a turn away from the pump.  So to pretend that the Keystone heist is a response to consumer behavior is a statistically inaccurate fabrication.  The opposite is the proven case.

>> Besides, as any analyst will admit:  the majority of the Tar Sands oil is designated FOR EXPORT, not domestic consumption.  The article makes misleading statements having the reader believe that there is some kind of shortage that the new supply would fill. This is a bald-faced lie. In fact, as any analyst will admit:

>> The construction of the Keystone pipeline will INCREASE the domestic price of natural gas.  The article would lead you to believe otherwise, without stating the actual case.

 2. If you want to decrease demand for oil, no fancy research budged is needed.  All that need be done is the following:

 -- with some of the vastly bloated 1.1+ trillion annual imperialist war budget, build a large string of tidal power plants along the coasts and geothermal plants in the interior.  More than enough Megawats would be generated, free of input costs save plant maintenance and labor, to meet nearly all US domestic energy consumption demands.  We could furthermore make these plants under public ownership, greatly driving down electricity prices from current bloated levels.

-- with a bit more of that morbidly obese military budget, let's construct electric car charging stations at every existing gas station in the USA.

-- with some more from that same interventionist military spending account, fund free high-quality public education at the post-secondary and graduate levels for all who qualify, so that people can more easily spot biased propaganda bought and paid for by members of the American Petroleum Institute (like ERM, a dues paying member of that association that wrote the State Department's most recent "analysis" of Keystone).

CooperAlex
CooperAlex

The only people that should have a say in this whole issue are the people that live and work in those states that the pipeline will run through. In Nebraska, our state sits on top of a large underground lake that is almost the size of the entire state. Most farmers pump their water out this lake, if the oil spills then the water supply is done and that takes a large percent of harvestable crops away from our state.

But you also have to look at the money that this pipeline would do for the economy. It would create thousands and thousands of jobs to build and maintain it. Although Nebraska has some of the lowest unemployment rates in the country, the lower the percentage is the better for the local and national economy. Creating more jobs here in not only Nebraska, but throughout the Mid-West as well.

D.B.
D.B.

As an environmentalist, I basically agree with the logic in this argument. Blocking the pipeline would be a symbolic act of dubious value. An international agreement to tax carbon emissions, with trade sanctions against countries that will not do so, is the only hope for stopping climate change.

Unfortunately, here in the U.S. we have a political problem. Obama and the Democrats -- the only major party we have that even accepts the reality of the climate crisis -- have completely given up any will they may once have had to enact a carbon tax. They won't even propose it. It's disgraceful. Basically they are offering resistance to the Keystone XL pipeline as a sop to make up for that, and the base is accepting it because they fear the alternative would be a complete and humiliating surrender.

jeremylocklear
jeremylocklear

General respect for TIME continues to plummet.  Do yourself a PR favor and produce respectable writing.

ThomasBaldwin
ThomasBaldwin

I find this article almost incomprehensible  in several respects..  It is obvious to some of us that Fareed has become a full fledged corporatist for Time and CNN.  He never seriously considers the implications of the climate change impacts (and pollutinn) of importing oil sands in this quantity from Canada.  He never talks about the implications for renewable energy sources as alternatives.  This is atrocious the way it is written.  I could easily write a full rebuttal but the corporate media would never print it.

alan_IN_toronto
alan_IN_toronto

@FareedZakaria I am a regular viewer and love your analysis. In your article on Keystone XL, also remember the energy security aspect.

sneakin
sneakin

@FareedZakaria KXL and trains won't fix the problem with oil prices rising EVERY hurricane season.

Kissylovebox
Kissylovebox

%s %s %s u know this won't give lasting the s this will leak as it is already doing give our children a chance

Kissylovebox
Kissylovebox

%s this will not lower gas prices it is not our pipeline. It will be our land it destroys %s

Kissylovebox
Kissylovebox

%s %s horrible for the %s movement already leaking won't create lasting jobs corrupt report by some1 invested

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

12) His final fallacy – and nearly every student caught this one – was the fallacy of Bifurcation. He claims that not building this pipeline will mean not accepting analysis and logic. This judgment is false. Much analysis and logic went into changing TransCanada’s original route (which they had executed with much deception and political intimidation). Much analysis and logic has gone into refuting the idea of a pipeline running the length of the Mississippi.

 Emotion matters. Symbolism matters. But so does logic. And so does analysis. I would ask that Mr. Zakaria engage in both before he next submits his words to a candid world. There are at least 60 students in south-central Pennsylvania who are on to him.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

11) The students noticed Zakaria’s Hasty Generalization in his final paragraph. He claimed that refusing this pipeline is a symbolic act that will not work. But Mr. Zakaria has no authority to claim what symbolic act will or will not capture the American imagination. Symbolic acts do matter, for good or ill. If I approached Mr. Zakaria 15 years ago, and informed him that on September 11, 2001, less than .00001% of the American population was going to be harmed. Would he be able to predict the symbolic impact of this event? Probably not. Yet this symbolic act caused serious changes within the United States population. Symbolic acts matter.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

10)Straw-Man: Taking the weakest argument for the XL Pipeline built by TransCanada and singling it out. Zakaria mentions nothing of the severe environmental consequences and that this pipeline will do little to establish the United States’ energy independence from Venezuela and Saudi Arabia.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

9) I had to point out the False Cause claim raised my Zakaria’s talk of Cap and Trade helping to moderate demand. This is a dubious assertion. But then Mr. Zakaria advises spending more on “research on alternative energy,” just as the United States has spent more on “health care.” I will not claim that our current health care system is anything to brag about, but it seems uninformed that “research on alternative energy” needs to go anywhere right now. The research is already done. The technologies already exists. They have not been implemented.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

8) They also noticed his False Cause fallacy in paragraph six. He notes that Europe bought into the Kyoto accords but China didn’t bat an eye. But Zakaria forgets that McKibben was referring to the United States’ influence. And the United States did pull out. This is a classic example of the False Cause.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

7) Many students caught his False Analogy in his fifth paragraph, when Zakaria falsely compares the environmentalist cause with the methods of the drug war. Energy is what is broadly demanded. Not oil. Environmentalists are not fighting energy. They are fighting the acquisition of oil. Americans might complain that we are locking up marijuana users (a benign and unreckless crime), but few would argue that a cocaine user who breaks into someone’s home and murders them should be eligible for parole.

And if the analogy is taken a bit further, it proves even weaker. The government is fighting the drug war because it created the drug war with its policies. Environmentalists did not create pollution or subsidize businesses who violate the Clean Water Act.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

6) Zakaria commited an Appeal to Authority fallacy in his fourth paragraph when he claims that the science journal Nature wrote an editorial approving the pipeline. Yet the bulk of that distracted editorial primarily focuses on broad policy changes and the limitation and elimination of coal-fired powerplants – changes which have yet to transpire and are irrelevant to the environmental damages that could be spilled upon the American soil from the XL pipeline. And when pipelines fail, it’s “go big or go home.” The 2010 rupture of a Michigan oil pipeline in Michigan spilled more than 840,000 gallons of crude oil into the Kalamazoo River, resulting in ruined properties valued at over $800 million and ruined lives and American soil valued higher than I dare calculate. Nowhere is this event mentioned in Mr. Zakaria’s article. I doubt he may know that it happened.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

5) When Zakaria kept using the terms “we” and “us,” my students really hit the brakes as readers. This was classic Mob Appeal fallacy. I clarified for them that the Keystone XL pipeline is built by TransCanada. And that oil goes to refineries. And those refineries – owned by oil companies like Valero – are set to ship the oil to the people willing to pay the most for it because they need it the most. And informed, independent analysts have already said that means it will be refined into diesel fuel and shipped to Europe and China. “We” – the United States – will not be buying it. They will do this at the refineries in Port Arthur, which is technically in international waters and free of any taxes that “we” could impose on the oil companies.

But there is a “we” here. And that “we” is mostly in our native soil, which will be exposed to the dangers of the pipeline (which will fail occasionally, if not often). “We” get all the risk and China gets all the benefit.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

4) His fourth paragraph uses another False Cause fallacy when he contends that if “we” don’t use the oil from Canada, that we will need to get it from somewhere. But we will need to get it from somewhere, because “we” aren’t going to be buying it. Canada’s shipping it.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

3) In his third paragraph, Zakaria is guilty of False Cause. He claims that “businesspeople” (its own form of Hasty Generalization fallacy) want to get oil to Asian markets. But of course they are worried. He seems to content that this worry is the result of the United States getting in the way. Yet, it could actually emerge from the simple demand in those markets.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

1)In the same paragraph, he supports a claim – that the oil development will proceed the same without a pipeline – by proposing what would happen if we didn’t. The logic that develops essentially says that if we don’t build the pipeline, it will still be developed. This is a classic example of Begging the Question, and the students spotted it.How do we know it will be developed? Because someone will build it. Why will they build it? Because it will be developed. This is a classic Begging the Question, where the arguer presents theses as evidence, which actually serve no such function.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

1)In paragraph one, the students spotted an Appeal to Authority. Zakaria states that the U.S. Department of State is an authority on the nuances of climate change. The Department of State has no authority on climate change, however, and works more toward guiding the United States’ foreign policy.

kristoficjr
kristoficjr

My name is Jim Kristofic, and I teach American Literature and writing at a progressive high school in the suburbs of Philadelphia. My class and I have been learning about logical fallacies, many of them culled from the approachable book With Clear Reason: An Introduction to Informal Fallacies, by S. Morris Engel, which I studied as an undergraduate and in preparation for law school.

I have been using examples of op-eds from various news outlets to show how even established writers can commit logical fallacies in the course of presenting an argument. And these fallacies can serious hamstring their case.

We usually find between three and five fallacies per editorial. But I was pretty astonished at the number of fallacies in Mr. Zakaria’s March18th editorial about the XL Pipeline. I found at least a dozen. My students and I explored each and debated them.

Here they are (I’ve numbered them for easy reference)

somereasoning
somereasoning

The point is that we truly are in danger. All of life on earth is interconnected, and has created the conditions for its survival. Global temperatures are regulated in part by carbon. Too little and the planet cools, too much and the planet heats beyond the range required to support life.

Excess carbon has been stored in form of coal, oil, gas in the ground. We have released in 150 years the deposits of millions of years, in the blink of an eye in earth time. Already, the average temperature of the planet has increased by 1 degree, equivalent to a light fever. The global climate system is much the same as the internal climate system of the human body.

We are destined to reach 2 degrees by 2020, a more significant fever, with more significant effects. There is nothing we can do today to stop that, the carbon is already up there. At 3 degrees, we will all be very sick. At 4 degrees, in the human body would be that the brain shuts down. The equivalent will happen to the planet, we cannot contemplate what this looks like, our climate models are unable to predict that.

Given current trends of growing populations consuming as we do, global temperatures will increase by more than 6 degrees, certain death to the human race. We must start to mitigate, slowing down and then stopping the further use of carbon based energy. We must start to help the planet heal itself, much as we would help ourselves when an illness strikes us. We know how to do that, we know how to avert the worst, but we must start now. Time is running out. 

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

ostrichreasoning :)  I proved you wrong, you stick your head in the sand :)

Lost cause on your nonreasoning maybe, but sensible to the other sanereasoners.

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

Thanks Fareed, good perspective...

if the USA does not want our oil, ...which burns just like any other oil when processed (dirty oil does not mean it burns dirty... it just was a moniker given to it because it took more energy to produce it, since it is refined, rather than pumped out of the ground like the Middle Eastern Blood oil you so love spending Trillions of $$$ fighting wars to access... that must really hurt your 4/gal cost ;)...

if the USA does not want our Canadian oil ...which is sold at a repectable cost to the USA then refined by American refineries and sold at a profit for the USA, paying tax in the USA, providing direct and indirect jobs in the USA, allowing expansion in the USA, supporting also a friendly neighboring Country bordering the USA...

if the USA does not want Canadian oil ...which is always accessible, piped direct, not subject to Middle East unrest or regime tyranny...

if the USA doesn't want Canadian oil ...CANADA will instead construct successful pipelines East and West, with parallel refinery expansion projects and send this desired product to China, etc. for Canada's profit...

if US denies the Keystone pipeline, it can snub it's neighbour and strengthen it's ties with the Middle East regimes and the Venezualan corruption instead...

if the USA says no to Canada, what does that say about America under it's current Government?

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

http://aopl.org/ IS A GOOD SOURCE OF INFO ON THE REALITY OF MODERN PIPELINES.  tHEY ARE THE BEST WAY TO MOVE OIL PRODUCTS FROM SOURCE TO MARKET.. PIPELINES ARE BETTER THAN RAIL, TANKER, ALL ELSE...

MaudEaster
MaudEaster

I was tremendously disappointed in your support for the pipeline. I tape your GPS show every week and appreciate your creating opportunities for global perspectives. Your pipeline story felt to me like you had been given the oil industry's line when you went to Canada and that you had uncritically swallowed it - which seems very unusual for you. 

It does noto make sense that these oil companies are going to export as much of this very dirty oil if it is more expensive for them to do so by rail - otherwise they would not be fighting as hard for the pipeline. It will be ag ood thing if their dirty oil has to cost more - it will make the renewable energy we need more competitive.

  Also, your argument hat Obama should do other things to reduce climate change instead ignores the fact that this is one thing, a big thing,  he can do alone, without cooperation of  the Republicans in Congress. That makes it extremely important for him to use this power to stop the pipeline.

  Please step back and think about the future of the plant and the suffering climate change is already causing -- don't be so influenced by the carbon corporations who have a huge stake in keeping us burning up fossil fuels.. 

primate7
primate7

%s %s is even better! Car Trouble: And How to Fix It: %syNd %s60wgjk

primate7
primate7

%s %s Expose & expel polluter mafia Stephen Harper, Transcanada, %s, etc. in fed\/state\/local govts%s0GM0C

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

I guess it is not obvious to you some here, but in fact this oil is not called dirty oil because it burns dirty?  It actually is a product that when refined it produces oil that has the same properties of ANY other oil.  It was just given the name 'dirty oil' from environmentalists because it takes more energy to produce.  Rather than sucking it straight out of the sand like in the Middle East with their 'BLOOD Oil', the sand has to be removed and treating is required to free the bitumen in order to allow the oil to be produced.  That takes more energy than sucking straight out of the sand, but it is not detrimental and it is obviously still cost effective.

In fact, when you look at the greenhouse gas emissions of Canada, the Oilsands Industry actually only accounts for about 1.5% of the entire Countries emissions.  New York City and California are emitting more.  Do we shut them down?  The people complaining are not in the industry and are not in touch with reality.

Railhound
Railhound

Rail is also cheaper since it doesn't have the "diluent" penalty associated with a heavy crude pipeline.

Lastly, pipeline spills are huge. The Enbridge spill at Kalamazoo was about 21,000 bbls and the Plains Rainbow pipeline spill in Northern Alberta was about 28,000 bbls. In total with these two incidents alone that's about 49,000bbls. That is the equivalent of about 90 rail cars being cut open and the entire contents of each being spilled. That won't happen. In addition, crude moving in rail doe not have to be diluted whereas in a pipeline is has to be in order for it to flow in the pipeline. Therefore, the pipeline crude is designed to flow versus the crude in rail. So, it a pipeline spring a leak the oil will flow easily into the environment. Not so with undiluted crude which will be so thick it will freeze into a brick once outside the rail car.

It would be nice if people actually did the research before publishing articles. IN correct information simply misleads the public and does nothing for the reputation of the publication or the author.

Railhound
Railhound

Unfortunately this author appears to have done almost no research. First rail emits way less GHG versus a pipeline moving heavy crude in the Keystone XL corridor. The reason is very simple. Pipelines use electricity to power their pumps. The electricity in the Keystone XL corridor is generated by coal. When coal is burned, it emits GHG. The calculation is easy then between power generation of a kilowatt and GHG emitted and the amount of electricity needed to power the pipeline.  Rail emits 3.7 times LESS GHG than a pipeline like XL when moving heavy crude in this corridor.

Lavender_Blume
Lavender_Blume

%s If %s takes State Dept report seriously despite corporate authorship, he has ZERO credibility. %s %s

XX
XX

@D.B. The so-called "carbon tax" is simply a crafty way to transfer even more pollution to the developing world and then further enslave the starving billions under debt peonage that the IMF couldn't get from it's current slew of rigged backroom deals benefiting corrupt dictators and their families.  That you think it would yield meaningful results in terms of the environmental crisis shows how easily led you are by generalizing propaganda and that you have zero mind of your own or incisive analytical capacity.


While climate change is a serious threat to human well-being, the much more pressing environmental crises are :

>> pollution of the water, air, soil and oceans and

>> vital resource depletion of currently clean aquifers, farmland and forest

>>  destruction of wildlife and biodiversity via overdevelopment.


These problems are much more pressing and far more disastrous in the immediate human future than "climate change,"as bad as that may be, and a corrupt transnational carbon tax will do little to mitigate them.


If you wish to reduce carbon emissions, start demanding the construction of publicly owned tidal, geothermal, wind and river turbine plants.  One of the highest megawat producing power plants in the entire world in a tidal power plant off the coast of France, built by De Gaulle in 1965!  Zero carbon, zero pollution, some mild habitat destruction and buttloads of electricity...from an eternally free source.  DEMAND the application of long existing technologies to permanently replace the completely unnecessary fossil fuel driven power grid with non-nuclear renewable energy.  Tidal, hydro and geothermal are the way to go, followed by wind, solar and river turbines. That 100 pc of the US's electricity could be produced via non-nuclear renewables was true in the early 1970s, and ever more so is it the case today.


The political problem in the way of this lies with the corrupt energy and banking cartels that own both of the hijacked political parties in the US.  Reform of the monetary system - a publicly owned central bank and issuance of govt. debt at ZERO % interest, just like the big banks get from the Fed right now - and a major reallocation of public funds from our un-Constitutional, imperialist war budget to ends that actually promote the public welfare are the necessary preconditions.

somereasoning
somereasoning

@D.B. I sure hope we have more guts than that. Throwing in the towel is really not an option, not if you have children and want to be able to look them in the eyes without shame. 

somereasoning
somereasoning

@JonathanCohn @drgrist actually when you read this article with some consideration, you end up feeling embarrassed. Is it not us who have allowed this to happen? Who are we, really?

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

30 odd YEARS ago we were told that we are going into another ice age. The Climate myths are ruining the country and our opportunities to achieve so many other meaningful things. Poverty, development, research into medicine, but no, you are asking to waste billions of $$$ chasing a moving target that is more driven by sun spot activity than any thing else. Sure we have to be environmental, but the earth has been coming out of an ice age for 100's and 100's of years. If you live in Canada or the Northen United States this year you AGAIN got snow. Spending billions trying to drop some amount by a millionth partical quantity is insane, we can improve the quality of the air we breath, but there are manageable limits that most industry achieves and still produces within already in North America.

Perhaps you can step back, think about everything in your life that depends on fossil fuel (google it) and think how we could be using those Billions of $$$ to assist our own quality of life more directly rather than waste it chasing a mythical holy grail that is based on a blip on a 15 year study on Global Warming that was produced JUST after another blip in a 20 year study on Global Cooling!!! Remember that one :)

somereasoning
somereasoning

@TrevorMarr Trevor....honestly, what kind on non-sense is this? Tar sand takes 1 bl of oil of energy for every 5 produced, compared to 1:15 for deep sea oil, 1:100 for Saudi Arabia oil. Tar sand creates an enormous amount of water pollution, which is becoming our most precious resource. No water, no food. Why would we pursue this course if there are alternatives that not only create an equal amount of energy for similar investments, but do so clean, creating jobs?

Then there is this issue of CO2 pollution. Can we just agree on the precautionary principle? If there is a 30% chance  that the greenhouse effect  is true, and everyone who has studied this issue thinks it is more like 80-90%, how could we possibly take such a chance with our habitat? What kind of a world do we plan to leave behind for our kids? Surely you care some for the kid in your photo, yes?

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

Time marches on, innovations and improvements allow tighter regulatory levels to be met and exceeded.  Water quality improves, emmission levels improve to meet or exceed requirements, Tailings ponds are now being managed and reclaimed via Canadian innovation that allows instant success to settlement problems that may have taken 100 years to resolve previously, therefore allowing reclaimation with natural vegetation and trees.

Canadian Oil Sands Usage - Supporting a hard working North American industry that supplies tax revenues, jobs, spinoff industries, shapes lives, conforms to Environmental, Engineering and Regulatory guidlines for an energy independance

Middle East Oil Usage - Supporting foreign regimes that are not always friendly to North America, limited Environmental, Health and Safety regulations.  Zero benefit to North American energy independence.

It is a smart choice as to which one makes better sense.

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

You make no sense?  Diesel Railcars make less emissions than an underground pipeline?  That is only true when comparing the trainset in your basement.  Is your last name Buffett?

somereasoning
somereasoning

@TrevorMarr Trevor please take the time to watch this discussion with Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, interviewed by Bill Moyer

http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/03/15/yale-scientist-tells-bill-moyers-we-need-to-end-the-silence-on-climate-change/

You are not only ill informed, but you are a menace to push your opinion on others who did not have the time yet to come up to speed. We are facing an existential threat to our civilization, and your ranting is disgusting in that it disrupts the conversation we should be having. Shame on you!

Railhound
Railhound

First, to have a factual conversation I think it would be best to leave the snide comments out of the discussion. Judging from your commentary about “diesel railcars” it would appear that you have little understanding about how railways actually work. The rails cars are not run by diesel. They are pulled by fuel efficient diesel locomotives.

You should study the issue a little more and it may become apparent how pipelines and railways actually transport product and the energy each uses. Do you think oil goes in the pipeline in Canada and just flows downhill by gravity into the US? How do you think the oil moves in the pipeline? I’ll give you some time to think about it and do some research.

Here’s a hint – think coal.

somereasoning
somereasoning

@TrevorMarr Give it up Trevor, lost cause. We cannot build this pipeline, it would be a disaster for all of us

TrevorMarr
TrevorMarr

Here's the truth... wake up. 

Today, technology allows the manufacture of large diameter and much more efficient pipeline systems and pump stations are primarily driven by clean electrical power.

Nearly all of the vast volume of petroleum now transported by pipeline moves through highly automated systems - automation that has been a major factor in reducing the number and volume of pipeline spills. These computer-aided systems allow highly trained operators working in sophisticated central control rooms to monitor rates of flow, pressures and fluid characteristics. Fluctuations can be detected quickly, alerting operators to potential leaks and allowing them to shut down lines and dispatch crews to investigate.