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General · 27th February 2014
Barry Saxifrage
(The Globe & Mail published my letter to the editor below on Feb 27, 2014)

Re Governor’s Comments Raise Hopes For Early Keystone Decision (Report on Business, Feb. 25): You report that the U.S. State Department said Keystone XL wouldn’t contribute to higher greenhouse gas emissions be-cause the oil sands will be developed with or without Keystone.

The real problem for Keystone, however, is in what the department’s report didn’t say: According to the U.S. Energy Information Agency, every energy scenario the report considered leads to ex-tremely high U.S. CO2 emissions. So high that they exceed current CO2 levels well beyond 2040.

That means the report’s conclusion that Keystone XL would not contribute to higher greenhouse gas emissions is only valid in an extremely high CO2 scenario in which President Barack Obama, the U.S. and the world fail to meet their climate targets. As they say, context is everything.

You might be wondering what Keystone XL’s climate impact would be in a scenario in which America actually meets its climate goals. Who knows? The report never bothered to evaluate any such energy scenario.

Barry Saxifrage, Vancouver