The fact-free opposition to Keystone XL

Article Highlights

  • But in the realm of energy and environmental policy, Pavlov’s dogs are many, loyal, and deeply religious, and unlike Sherlock Holmes’s four-legged friend in Silver Blaze, they decidedly are not silent.

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  • Can a grassy knoll be far behind?

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  • The issue of the climate sensitivity of the atmosphere to increasing GHG concentrations is nowhere near resolution.

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  • Total world emissions of carbon dioxide in 2013 were about 36 billion metric tons; in this extreme case, Keystone XL would add about 0.4 percent.

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Contrary to opponents of Keystone XL, the pipeline would have virtually no effect on global warming, and the world is not experiencing more frequent and extreme climate-related events.

Now that the State Department has reported the obvious — that the Keystone XL pipeline would have virtually no effect on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions or on global temperatures — the opponents of the project are bringing the heat. But in the realm of energy and environmental policy, Pavlov’s dogs are many, loyal, and deeply religious, and unlike Sherlock Holmes’s four-legged friend in Silver Blaze, they decidedly are not silent.

One such immediate reaction was offered by Professor Jeffrey Sachs of Columbia University, who informs us modestly that “the future survival and wellbeing of humanity” is at stake. His specific arguments in summary are as follows:

•    “The world is on a trajectory to raise the mean global temperature by at least 3 degrees C by the end of the century.”
•    “The world is experiencing a rapidly rising frequency of extreme climate-related events such as heat waves.”
•    “The Keystone pipeline is crucial to the global carbon budget,” that is, an effort to limit the use of fossil fuels to an amount   that would yield a global temperature increase of no more than 2 degrees C.

Access the full article at The American.

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About the Author

 

Benjamin
Zycher
  • Benjamin Zycher is the John G. Searle Chair and a resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), where he works on energy and environmental policy. He is also a senior fellow at the Pacific Research Institute.

    Before joining AEI, Zycher conducted a broad research program in his public policy research firm, and was an intelligence community associate of the Office of Economic Analysis, Bureau of Intelligence and Research, US Department of State.  He is a former senior economist at the RAND Corporation, a former adjunct professor of economics at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) and at the California State University Channel Islands, and is a former senior economist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.  He served as a senior staff economist for the President's Council of Economic Advisers, with responsibility for energy and environmental policy issues.

    Zycher has a doctorate in economics from UCLA, a Master in Public Policy from the University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Arts in political science from UCLA.

  • Email: benjamin.zycher@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Regan Kuchan
    Phone: 202.862.5903
    Email: regan.kuchan@aei.org

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