March 05, 2013

Snoozing Obamiacs surprised by smell of Keystone coffee

I've blogged about this more than once in the past few weeks, that people shouldn't be surprised when Dear Leader green-lights the Keystone XL pipeline.

But, after the State Department's okey-dokey today, we have the likes of the Sierra Club engaged in either real or faux shock, and acting as if they can still change Obama's mind.

What part of "we're on the far side of Nov. 6, 2012" do you folks not get?

To be honest, I think it's a mix of real and faux shock.

The faux shock is the prelude to Sierra and other Gang Green environmentalists gearing up the fundraising machines. And, yeah, they're bad about it.

The real shock is realizing that Obama's less of an environmentalist than Bill Clinton. For a man who grew up in beautiful Hawaii, and saw at least a bit of the backcountry of Indonesia, it's a bit of an oddity, eh?

But, it is what it is. He's just not that interested in environmental issues.

I am separating climate change from other environmental issues on Keystone.

I am worry about leaks. Modern pipelines are built on the margins, on the cheap, often. And TransCanada has a reputation. Habitat disturbance is a lesser but still notable concern.

Climate change, though? Brune, McKibben, et al know that oil is fungible and that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made continued tar sands development a sine qua non of his government.

If the oil isn't piped this way, Harper WILL push for a Plan B that will be more harmful to the Canadian environment, and perhaps to world issues. He WILL get that oil pumped somewhere. Either across the Canadian Rockies to Vancouver, or to the Great Lakes, and building a refinery or 12 in Ontario, or else, speaking of climate change, to the Mackenzie River and then the Northwest Passage.

Or else more tar sands oil will continue to come to the US, but on railroad cars. Per Canada's National Post, though, denying Keystone would do little to cut tar sands oil production. That's fact, that's reality based.

Therefore, anti-Keystoners' belief that a possible expansion by the Obama Administration of the National Environmental Policy Act to include global warming would provide legal grounds for a suit, especially given the State Department's finding, seems a no-go. In fact, TransCanada (and folks drilling for shale oil in North Dakota whom could also benefit from the pipeline) could argue that shipping more "dirty" oil by rail would actually be more harmful to global warming than the pipeline.

So, on climate change, to protest against Keystone as a symbol? I can halfway buy that. To protest against Keystone per se? Stupid. And, why isn't Bill McKibben in Ottawa, not Washington, in the first place?

Speaking of such things, Joe Nocera, who had a godawful column about Keystone last week, even after owning up to a major error near the end, has an interesting one now about James Hansen. Does his protest activity interfere with his work at NASA? Per the column, it apparently feels that way, at least, to a lot of his colleagues, who apparently heavily bent Nocera's ear.

And, speaking of reality-based communities, Hansen appears to have taken flights of fancy:
(T)he carbon in the tar sands “exceeds that in all oil burned in human history.”
Simply not true, on proven plus probable reserves; not even close. "Dirtier" oil takes some extra energy to refine, but not THAT much. And, even that goes beyond his narrow statement. Oil is oil, in general. It's going to produce pretty much the same range of carbon dioxide when its refined products are burned.

If he meant the carbon of this particular type of oil, plus the extra energy extraction, he's closer to true, but, unless probable reserves greatly increase, not true, still. And, likely still not THAT close.

And, a better effort might be to get Canada to adopt US EPA standards for its vehicles, which, since the Canadian market practically is the US one on cars, anyway, wouldn't be that hard.

And, if Hansen is really, really worried about CO2, why have I never heard him talk openly about the need for next-generation nuclear power to be part of the mix?

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