The Keystone Pipeline Has No Future

President Barack Obama, in yesterday’s big speech on climate change:

Allowing the Keystone pipeline to be built requires a finding that doing so would be in our nation’s interest. And our national interest will be served only if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution. The net effects of the pipeline’s impact on our climate will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project is allowed to go forward.

It’s impossible for the pipeline to meet this test honestly. For if it will not increase the sales and hence emissions of Alberta tar sands oil, why would anybody want to build it?

18 months ago I made a rash prediction:

My simple hydraulic model of energy politics predicts that the Keystone XL pipeline will never be approved.

Pity I didn’t back this on Intrade.

Please treat comments as an open thread on the speech. Keystone wasn’t the biggest announcement, which was the confirmation of EPA regulation of of CO2 emissions from coal power stations. The exhortation to “invest, divest” may be equally important as the moment Obama burnt the boats that would allow another centrist tactical retreat. It’s on to Senlac or Mexico.

This once, I’ll allow denialist ventings from our regulars, as long as they don’t derail the thread.

[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]

Washington Monthly - Donate Today and your gift will be doubled!

Support Nonprofit Journalism

If you enjoyed this article, consider making a donation to help us produce more like it. The Washington Monthly was founded in 1969 to tell the stories of how government really works—and how to make it work better. Fifty years later, the need for incisive analysis and new, progressive policy ideas is clearer than ever. As a nonprofit, we rely on support from readers like you.

Yes, I’ll make a donation