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Rejecting Keystone Pipeline Will Have Negligible Impact on Emissions

cmimg_53765Image via Cutting Edge News

According to a new study by the energy consultancy IHS:

A new study from IHS, a prominent, independent energy research firm, says that a thumbs down from President Barack Obama on the Keystone Pipeline would have minimal to no impact on U.S. greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

It found that “Venezuelan heavy oil—and Venezuela—would be the number one beneficiary of a negative decision on Keystone.”

The new findings may figure prominently in the fight over the pipeline, which the administration is expected to render a decision on in September.

The emissions would still be the same without the pipeline due to the fact that TransCanada would still deliver the oil to market via alternate pipelines and by rail, IHS says.

This view is certainly not unheard of (Resourceful Earth argued this over two years ago), but has regained relevance due to President Obama’s recent comments on the emissions issue:

Obama’s June 25 climate address indicated that emissions from Canadian oil sands delivered through U.S. markets was a key criteria for his decision whether to approve the project.

IHS notes that its new finding “agrees with the conclusions of the U.S. State Department’s Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement for Keystone XL that says oil sands production is expected to continue at similar levels regardless of whether Keystone XL goes forward.”

So both an independent consultancy and the State Department have concluded (the State Department conclusion is only a draft of their EIS and might be changed in the final report) that net emissions gains were likely negligible. Ultimately, Obama’s decision will involve political calculations, so the importance of these reports in his decision should be taken with a grain of salt.

(Additionally, the Obama Administration has been pushing actively for some sort of climate change policies. The intent of these policies would be to reduce emissions. This certainly indicates that this is somewhat important to the Administration, because that would be a very tough sell to Congress. This is relevant to his Keystone decision. As is a negative report from the Department of the Interior.)

The decision on Keystone still seems to be far away.

Read the entire article on the study here.

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