The Keystone XL, a mundane pipeline project that escalated into a bitter proxy war over climate change and North America's energy future, moved one important step closer to reality on Friday.
The State Department, in its final environmental review of the project, concluded that the pipeline, which would carry crude from the Alberta tar sands in Canada to refineries on the Texas Gulf coast, would not – on its own – have a “significant” effect on carbon pollution.../
The report acknowledged that crude from the tar sands was 17% more carbon intensive than conventional oil. But it said that did not mean that the project on its own would worsen climate change by expanding production from the tar sands.
“The approval or denial of any single given project is unlikely to significantly affect the extraction of the oil sands,” Kerri-Ann Jones, assistant secretary of state, said during a conference call with reporters.
Campaign groups argued it would open up a vast store of carbon and tie North America more closely to a fossil fuel future. The climate scientist James Hansen said building Keystone XL would be “game over” for the planet.