What Hillary Clinton Didn’t Say About Keystone XL

Washington Post: “It’s important to note what Clinton did not say. She did not say that the pipeline would significantly increase carbon dioxide emissions. She did not say that it would significantly undercut President Obama’s climate policies. She did not say that Keystone XL would be “game over for the climate,” nor did she repeat any of the other rank hyperbole that activists have deployed in the pipeline fight.”

“She did not say any of these things because the pipeline is unlikely to have much of an impact on the climate one way or another in the long run, according to the State Department and independent analysts. Environmentalist efforts to choke off the supply of fossil fuels by rallying against a pipeline here or an export facility there are fierce but misdirected. The way to really turn the needle on fossil fuels is to reduce demand for them, either by pricing carbon emissions or regulating them away. The Keystone XL fight has been a massive misallocation of time and passion that Clinton has now indulged.”


  1. I agree it’s been overemphasized–a symbol, one of those things people can coalesce around. On both sides. It was never going to make any significant difference in terms of addressing our energy needs, or providing employment. It’s a boondoggle, and should be opposed as such, as well as for the genuine damage it would do to local environments it passed through. But as far as climate change is concerned, it’s significance is purely symbolic.

    However, in politics, symbols always matter. Hillary knows that. So does Obama.

  2. How many times have we heard this Big Oil corporation line? By stalling out the Keystone deal, it has given the world battle against climate change a chance, and here’s how:
    After three terms transforming center-left Canada into an unrecognizable petro-state, Canada’s prime minister and his Conservative party are finally vulnerable in upcoming elections. If Canada’s huge and super-dirty oil shale deposits can be gotten to market, it’s lights out for the planet.

    Yet all we hear is that it won’t affect American pollution. How duplicitous is that claim. These are the same folks telling us that American anti-climate efforts would be a drop in the bucket unless we could get China and India to go along (and “there’s no hope of that”). But China and India can and will and are.

    1. That’s an interesting point, but I’m not sure it can be proven that our not approving Keystone has been that critical a factor in the vulnerability of the Canuck Conservatives. The shale oil is moving down here by other means, has been for some time.

      The fight against global warming is–how shall I put it?–global. This is one battle. Not the whole war. Doesn’t mean you don’t try to win it. But a smart general never bets everything on one battle.

      1. google the topic and you’ll see that Canadian’s are regarding this as a major failure. Sometimes, we are so insular and also accept the media’s stories like, they’ll just go through Vancouver (Nope!) or use other pipelines and trains — higher cost, lower volume. In any case, perceptions are reality, and this has been a huge embarrassment for the PM, especially while gas and oil prices are in the basement. Finally, the entire debate in the U.S. has always been about symbolism, too: no real gains for either side, just slogans like “drill baby, drill!” Remember that every American was raised under the media story that the shale and coal tar was too dirty and expensive to ever retrieve.

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