Here’s yet another testament to the fact that, in the context of actually cutting carbon emissions, continuing to block the Keystone XL pipeline makes absolutely zero practical sense — as even the liberals who generally root for environmentalist causes and favor measures like carbon taxes can willingly attest. Say the editors of the Washington Post in arguing that it’s time for the president to finally set politics aside and “resolve this bizarre distraction”:
Even if the president rejects Keystone XL and no other pipelines out of Alberta are built, the crude could still travel by rail and barge — with marginally higher greenhouse emissions and a higher likelihood of accident. One hundred eighty thousand barrels of Canadian crude already moves on train cars every day. …
Environmentalists try to justify of their opposition to Keystone XL with a series of unlikely assumptions. If world oil prices end up significantly lower than projected for a long time, and if the Canadian government proves incapable of establishing any pipeline and sea routes out of the country, and if the price of rail transport remains as high as the State Department’s generous projections, then some tar sands extraction projects wouldn’t be economically viable. Advocates also contend that the passionate movement against the pipeline can be useful to achieve more consequential ends and therefore should be supported, as though cultivating irrational thinking is an acceptable basis for public policy. Neither view — one unconvincing, one cynical — reflects well on the country’s environmentalists.
You know, environmentalists — if protecting the environment really is your endgame, that is — your time could be spent much more effectively fighting battles you could actually hope to win, especially if you could manage to pick ones that don’t necessarily have to strive against the grain of economic prosperity.
WaPo gets it; Big Labor wants it; Obama’s own former environment officials can’t deny it; Congressional Democrats are gunning for it: And President Obama is really going to keep stalling on the issue to satisfy the apparent whimsy of some well-monied and self-anointed “green” donors? Really?