In this tale of two headlines, we start with Bloomberg’s famous post-Sandy cover, “It’s Global Warming, Stupid.”
You might’ve thought that said it all. In fact, the story itself asserted:
… the only responsible first step is to put climate change back on the table for discussion. The issue was missing-in-action during the presidential debates and, regardless of who wins on Nov. 6, is unlikely to appear on the near-term congressional calendar. After Sandy, that seems insane.
… Ultimately, the global warming crisis will require global solutions. Washington can become a credible advocate for moving the Chinese and Indian economies away from coal and toward alternatives only if the U.S. takes concerted political action.
So, obviously, for the sake of our global credibility, if nothing else, we shouldn’t approve the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Right? Right??
But, no, now we have this headline from the editors at Bloomberg:
And this editorial waves off climate concerns:
Even though extracting and refining bitumen from the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, emits much more carbon dioxide than ordinary oil-drilling, total emissions from the tar-sands crude are only about 20 percent greater than from other oil, because most emissions come from burning the fuel.
So because the tar sands are only 20% dirtier than a fuel we have to wean ourselves off in the coming decades, we can sweep aside the climate concerns.
Is that insane or just stupid?
Keystone is a gateway to a huge pool of carbon-intensive fuel most of which must be left in the ground. Leaving most of the world’s coal in the ground but still pursuing unconventional oil and gas won’t save humanity from multiple devastating impacts that may be beyond adaptation. That’s doubly true if, instead of switching from coal to renewables, we switch from coal to shale gas.
At this point “Developed Nations Must Cut Emissions In Half By 2020” as one 2013 study showed. Then we need to be on a path to more than an 80% cut by 2050.
And again, if the richest country in the world insists on sticking new spigots into huge, dirty carbon pools like the tar sands, how can we be credible advocates for moving the Chinese and Indians to transition off of dirty fuels?
You were right the first time, Bloomberg editors, it is global warming, stupid!
h/t Brad Johnson