Saturday, January 21, 2012

Digging Deeper on Keystone XL

We are seeing a lot of headlines concerning pipelines these days. Here are some articles that should help shed light on what is actually happening with respect to the XL project.
California Awaits Tar Sands Legal Ruling
California's low-carbon fuel standard is the world's first attempt to require oil suppliers to slash the carbon footprint of their motor fuels, measured not just by emissions from tailpipes but across their full lifecycle, from extraction to combustion. Eleven Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states, and the European Union, are closely tracking California's case because they are working to adopt similar rules.
Basically, the world is watching this process and may impose financial penalties on Tar Sands sourced oil. With this as the backdrop we can understand why our government is behaving badly in Europe.
UK 'extraordinarily naive' over Canada's tar sands lobbying
The Canadian government has repeatedly argued that the EU proposal, under the Fuel Quality Directive (FQD), is unworkable. According to a UK Foreign Office document released under Freedom of Information rules, a London-based Canadian diplomat called Sushma Gera met her UK counterparts on 21 October.

"Sushma told me that the US consideration of similar measures had just failed, as it was 'unimplementable'. She promised to send further details," reads the record of the meeting. The only similar measures in the US are being delivered by California's Air Resources Board, which has now written to Europe's Commissioner for Climate Action, Connie Hedegaard, to clear up what the ARB describes tactfully as a "misunderstanding".

The ARB letter, which I have seen, is a clear rebuttal of the Canadian arguments and states: "The principle of accounting for the lifecycle greenhouse gas emissions of transportation fuels, including those associated with the production and transportation of crude oil, continues to be an important feature of the [Californian] Low Carbon Fuel Standard." The measures are clearly alive and well, not failed.
Meanwhile, the XL project is political fodder in the USA. The Republicans put in a ridiculous timeline which of course was not feasible. However, people are being naive if they think the project is gone.
Why Keystone Pipeline Project May Get Built After All
In December, Congress passed an extension of the payroll tax cut. Inserted in this bill was a deadline of 60 days for the White House to approve the Keystone permit.

However, the State Department had already said it would need more time to evaluate the economic and environmental impact of the pipeline extension, which has the ultimate goal of bringing crude from Canada's oil sands down the middle of the country to the Gulf states.

"This has been 100 percent politics," said Dan Dicker, president of MercBloc and long-time oil trader. "You can re-route all the oil anyway and the pipeline operators are doing it, and planning on it. It will be resubmitted and approved in the next iteration after the election, 100% assured."
In conclusion, it seems Harper is between a rock and a hard place. He can anger millions of Canadians and push through yet another unpopular policy, the Enbridge Northern Gateway project, or he can face abject rejection in Alberta if the western world rejects the Tar Sands. If California penalizes Tar Sands oil then it is very likely a wave of US states and the European community will do so. This explains why China has become so important that the government is willing to consort with domestic propaganda puppets and label everyone concerned about environmental issues a radical.

No comments:

Post a Comment