Video: Keystone XL The ‘Lynchpin Enabling The Climate Intensive Tar Sands Industry To Grow Unimpeded’

By Kevin Grandia via DeSmogBlog

A new video featuring four energy experts, outlines the issues surrounding the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, the Alberta tar sands and climate change.

The video describes the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline as a “lynchpin enabling the climate intensive tar sands industry to grow unimpeded.”

Watch it:

The video features Dr. Danny Harvey, a Climatologist at the University of Toronto, Dr. John Abraham, a Professor of Mechanical Engineering at the University of St. Clair, Lorne Stockman, Research Director at Oil Change International and Nathan Lemphers, a Senior Policy Analyst at the Pembina Institute. The four experts recently traveled to Washington, DC for an event at the National Press Club to send a message to political leaders that any response by the US government to reduce climate change pollution must include the rejection of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline.

On February 17, tens of thousands of people are expected to turn out for the Forward on Climate Rally that will call on US President Barack Obama to “move forward on climate action.” Rally organizers say that, “from rejecting the toxic Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to moving beyond coal and natural gas and firing up our clean energy economy, Barack Obama’s legacy as president will rest squarely on his response, resolve, and leadership in solving the climate crisis.”

20 Responses to Video: Keystone XL The ‘Lynchpin Enabling The Climate Intensive Tar Sands Industry To Grow Unimpeded’

  1. Ron Kerzner says:

    It’s not about what’s right, It’s about what’s profitable

  2. Sasparilla says:

    A very impressive and informative video. I guess that analogy of a tar sands fueled Prius having roughly the CO2 emissions of a Hummer is about right – as the tar sands oil emits about 3.2x-4x the carbon of normal oil.

    Currently the U.S. Midwest (down through Oklahoma) is supplied with tar sands oil via two pipelines (Keystone 1, Alberta Clipper) – so U.S. midwest drivers are, mostly unknowingly (most people don’t even know we get tar sands oil already), driving their cars around with these vast CO2 emissions.

    Within the investment community the Keystone XL expansion is viewed as the key to turning the tar sands resources from a marginally profitable exploit to a very profitable one (i.e. all the money behind the tar sands wants this very badly).

  3. Zimzone says:

    Unfortunately, I believe the KXL pipeline will be approved.Too much global money already invested and too many powerful people behind that money.
    Here in MN we’re already burning tar sands with our gasoline, and most residents have no idea that’s what they’re putting in the tank.

  4. tom says:

    While I am against using tarsands oil, I still am not convinced that stopping the pipeline will stop transport of the tarsands oil. It can still be transported by truck or rail. In addition, other pipelines can be built through Canada to the east or west coast for export elsewhere. I have not seen a satisfactory response to this issue.

    I do understand that there is a glut of tarsands oil right now because of the transport issue. But the oil is still being sold, albeit at a lower price than it could fetch with the pipeline. But again, the oil companies will find a way to get their oil to market and thus into the atmosphere.

    I think more focus should be on all the coal being exported from the Powder River Basin to China. Even if Obama stops the pipeline, it seems hypocritical and inconsistent to allow the export of coal which is as bad or worse than tarsands oil.

  5. Sasparilla says:

    I think much of the focus on the defeat of the XL expansion – is the fact that it will significantly slow the rate of expansion of the tar sands and its CO2 emissions (which are big) – and the President has the power to kill it (it can be easily dealt with) – giving us more time to finally address climate change (if when we come to our senses).

    As to other way of getting the oil to market, its very hard (otherwise the tar sands oil firms wouldn’t be having such trouble with their oil trapped in Oklahoma and fetching much less money per barrel than elsewhere) and a pipeline over the rockies is not quick or easy thing to create (with citizens fighting the idea already).

    Since the XL expansion can be killed, relatively easily and soon – and its expansion is a big step towards a death sentence for the climate – we should push to kill it. Taking on the Powder Basin coal is something else we need to stop.

  6. Pennsylvania Bob says:

    Tom, I think you miss the point, at least as I understand it. We should not be investing in additional infrastructure for any type of fossil fuel, anywhere. Stopping KXL may indeed be partly symbolic for reasons you mention, but stopping it will send a powerful message that we aren’t going to continue BAU. As they say: If not now, when? If not us, who? Approving KXL “bakes in” more FF infrastructure, making it just that much more difficult to eventually kill it. It’s either make changes now or it’s “game over.” Period.

  7. Tom,

    This “live to fight another day” idea is unworkable, because there won’t be another day. We have to stop fossil-fuel projects wherever we can, because every ton of carbon we add to the atmosphere takes us one step closer the point of no return when natural feedbacks take over.

    The President should stop Keystone AND go after coal exports. Congress is not likely to act in an effective or timely manner, so Obama should do everything he can. He has said repeatedly that his first duty is to keep the American people safe. Here’s his chance.

  8. Tom = tar sands troll. Ignore intentional disruptor.

  9. Professional tar sands trolls appear to out in force across the Internet, backed by a network of fraudulent Facebook profiles – some going back to first Obama election and reactivated for KXL fight – and other deep social tactics.

    We’ve tracked some of these but ArchWeek can only go so far on this. I hope some media on that beat can put together some well-documented coverage of what all that fossil fuel money is buying these days.

    In the meantime, readers beware.

  10. Mike Roddy says:

    All it takes is an overhead video view of the tar sands project to realize that we are dealing with the dark side. Here’s more evidence:

  11. Superman1 says:

    Name calling belongs in the playground. Tom raises a valid point: as long as there are fossil-based energy addicts, the suppliers will find a way to supply the ‘drug’. If the sole focus is on the ‘suppliers’, the war on fossil will suffer the same fate as the forty-year-old war on drugs. The focus needs to be on the problem, the addiction; the supplier is a diversion unless some modern-day form of ‘prohibition’ can be instituted across-the-board.

  12. “Don’t stop this thing right here, stop the other thing over there instead,” as Tom advocates…

    and “Stopping this thing right here is worthless unless this other super-difficult thing is done too/first/instead,” as Superman1 regularly advocates in these Climate Progress comments…

    Might be considered as related diversions from functional agendas for real change now.

  13. Artful Dodger says:

    Where do you get “the tar sands oil emits about 3.2x-4x the carbon of normal oil”?

    Exaggerating or distorting physics is no road to political change. Nor is using obsolete or outdated figures.

    A CERA report on the oil sands released on Monday found that the resource emits about 5 percent to 15 percent more carbon dioxide, over the “well-to-wheels” lifetime analysis of the fuel, than average crude oil.

    My concern is your comments seem to imply that convention oil is somehow good, or at least vastly better, than tarsands. It is not.

    How much oil was used keeping a standing army in Iraq for 8 years? Or Afghanistan for 12 years? How much jet fuel does the 6th Fleet burn each year flying endless combat air patrols over the Arabian Gulf? This is part of the real carbon emissions caused by middle eastern oil.

    As an example, in 2008 the US Military used 53.8 million barrels of jet fuel. Commercial aircraft used 492.6 M barrels. So close to 10% of all US jet fuel is burned to protect US interests. Take my point?

    from “Department of Defense Fuel Spending,
    Supply, Acquisition, and Policy”, table 7, page 17

    Here is the point: There IS NO GOOD OIL. We have already burned too much carbon to maintain an equitable climate on Earth. It is time to get off oil, period. Not just tarsands oil. ALL of it.

  14. Artful Dodger says:

    Nicely stated, Philip. Salut!

  15. Artful Dodger says:

    Mike, have you seen overhead video of conventional oil sites? There is no good oil. Or mountain top removal. Or fracking. It all has to wound down as soon as possible.

  16. Yes, it does have to all be wound down! Prosperity without growth, or no prosperity.

    Let’s remember, at least in the background on this climate blog, that the biodiversity crisis is just as acute as the climate crisis – if even harder to make real for modern urban humans.

  17. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    That’s capitalism.

  18. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Kevin, surely you are not hoping for the MSM to investigate fossil fuel trollery and astro-turfing. They are the biggest trolls under the bridge.

  19. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    And ocean acidification is worse than both.

  20. Artful Dodger says:

    On cue, the Pentagon has just announced it is cutting the number of US Navy aircraft carriers deployed in the Persian Gulf. This move alone will represent a huge cut in CO2 “well-to-wheels” emissions. And as soon as we can wean ourselves of middle Eastern oil, the other carrier group can come home too.