- - Monday, March 2, 2015

It was naive of Greg Rickford, Canada’s minister of natural resources, to say recently, “It is not a question of if this project [the Keystone XL pipeline] will be approved; It is a matter of when” (“Canadian government brushes off Obama Keystone veto: ‘A matter of when,’” Web, Feb. 24).

The main driver of the anti-Keystone movement is the fear that the project will facilitate oil sands expansion, which in turn will increase greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and so, according to environmentalists and many in the press, damage the climate.

The fact that any conceivable oil sands expansion will have negligible impact on world GHG emissions (and on climate) is immaterial. Opposition to the pipeline is symbolic for the climate change movement. They have drawn a line in the sand with Keystone in an effort to stop all fossil fuel expansion to ‘save the climate.’ So, by supporting the ridiculous notion that we can control climate merely by restricting GHG emissions, the Canadian government is unwittingly helping prop up the anti-Keystone movement.

Mr. Rickford should note that, while admitting that proposed U.S. GHG regulations on coal-fired power plants will have an insignificant impact on climate, EPA Chief Gina McCarthy testified before Congress last year that the Obama administration’s goal is to set an example to the world for other nations to follow. Rejecting Keystone XL would also be consistent with that game plan.

The only way to defeat this approach is to demonstrate that humanity’s GHG emissions almost certainly have negligible impact on climate. The best way to show that is for the Canadian government to convene open, unbiased hearings into the state of today’s climate science. When the public better appreciates the vast uncertainties in the “science,” support for the climate movement will wither, and with it President Obama’s last excuse for blocking the pipeline.


Executive director

International Climate Science Coalition (ICSC)

Ottawa, Ontario

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