Keystone Pipeline: Housecats Have More Emissions Impact

English: A housecat named Princess who highly ...

A housecat named Princess who highly disliked her picture being taken. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Guest post by Steve Goreham

Originally published in The Washington Times

On Friday, the Department of State released a 2,000-page draft review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline project. If approved, the pipeline will carry up to 830,000 barrels of oil per day from oil sands in Canada and the Bakken oil fields in North Dakota and Montana to Gulf Coast refineries. The review did not recommend approval of the pipeline, but raised no major objections, concluding that the project was “unlikely to have a substantial impact” on the climate or oil sands production. Nevertheless, the same-day outrage from liberal politicians and environmental groups was caustic.

The report found that the $3.3 billion Keystone XL project would create 42,100 US jobs during the two-year construction period. In addition to construction of the pipeline, new electrical transmission and power substations would be required. The project would generate an estimated $65 million in use and sales taxes for traversed states.

If approved, Gulf Coast facilities would refine more oil from Canada and the northern US and less from the Middle East. Keystone could potentially replace 45 percent of the oil imported from the Persian Gulf. At $90 per barrel, this would supplant $27 billion in annual payments to Saudi Arabia and Gulf Coast nations with payments to Canada and US citizens.

Van Jones, CNN contributor, raised fears of an oil leak, calling Keystone the “Obama pipeline” and saying that a leak “could be the worst oil disaster in American farmland history.” Proper environmental care must be taken, but Americans know how to build pipelines. The proposed 875-mile pipeline would add to the 55,000 miles of U.S. crude oil pipelines that have been operating for decades. The lower Great Plains region over the Ogallala aquifer is already crisscrossed by tens of thousands of miles of pipelines. The report concluded that potential oil leaks were unlikely to affect groundwater quality in four major aquifers.

However, oil leaks are a red herring issue. The keystone pipeline battle has always been about the ideology of Climatism, the belief that man-made greenhouse gases are destroying Earth’s climate. Proponents of the theory of man-made warming warn that mankind’s tiny contribution to a trace gas in our atmosphere, carbon dioxide, causes extreme hurricanes, droughts, floods, snowstorms, rising seas, polar bear extinction, and other projected calamities. Canadian oil sands have become a lightning rod for climate activism.

Congressional representative Henry Waxman issued a press release, stating “The draft impact statement appears to be seriously flawed. We don’t need this dirty oil. To stop climate change and the destructive storms, droughts, floods, and wildfires that we are already experiencing, we should be investing in clean energy, not building a pipeline that will speed the exploitation of Canada’s highly polluting tar sands.”

Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford said “…it’s just untrue that piping oil from the Tar Sands will not have a devastating impact on our climate. To fulfill his promise to the American people to address global warming, the President must say no to the Keystone Pipeline.” But the State Department draft review points out that Canadian oil sands will be mined, regardless of whether the pipeline is built or not.

The review estimates that if Keystone is not built, oil sands production will be only 0.4 to 0.6 percent less that if the pipeline is built, or less than 0.83 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions annually. This difference equates to less than two hours of U.S. emissions, a negligible amount. Seventy-four million US housecats annually cause an estimated 196 times this emissions volume. Why isn’t Greenpeace urging President Obama to ban cats?

If not through Keystone, mined oil will be transported by rail, truck, or planned pipelines in Canada. Last month, the China Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) completed the purchase of Nexen, a major producer of oil from Canadian sands, for $15 billion. CNOOC would not have purchased Nexen without assurance by the Canadian government that the oil can be harvested.

Mr. President, it’s your decision. On one side is the common-sense choice of more jobs, economic growth, reduced dependence on Mideast oil, and a negligible increase in greenhouse gas emissions. On the other side is Climatist ideology. Which will you choose?

Steve Goreham is Executive Director of the Climate Science Coalition of America and author of the new book The Mad, Mad, Mad World of Climatism: Mankind and Climate Change Mania.

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Don’t give ’em ideas to ban cats. Cats have been persecuted down through the ages. What about the rest of the animal kingdom? We all exhale the stuff, after all.

Ian

I for one am sick of these constant attacks on cats. First we hear that they kill more birds than wind farms, now they’re causing global warming. We all know that dogs are the real menace, but we don’t hear those views expressed on WUWT… and I suspect the hidden influence of Kenji. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!

markx

The keystone pipeline battle has always been about the ideology of Climatism.
True.
The fervid zealotry of these people and their newly found “save the earth religion” seems to eliminate all logical and practical thought processes.
How in the hell can they continue to justify their “religious extremism” in the face of simple facts such as below?:
The review estimates that if Keystone is not built, oil sands production will be only 0.4 to 0.6 percent less that if the pipeline is built, or less than 0.83 million metric tons of CO2-equivalent emissions annually. This difference equates to less than two hours of U.S. emissions, a negligible amount…… If not through Keystone, mined oil will be transported by rail, truck, or planned pipelines in Canada…
Surely our politicians can make sensible decisions, even when they are faced by the impractical diatribes of extreme fundamentalists?

albertalad

Here in Fort McMurray we’re not mining anything – we are cleaning up the largest natural oil spill on earth and making money on the side. The Keystone is already being built even as I write. We’re talking of our own pipeline all way to Canada’s east coast. Trust me, we are working 24/7/365 right now. Our oil will sell despite Obama and his dog and pony show. Keep buying your oil from fanatics on the other side of the world. Insanity comes to mind. While America dithers and stammers China is here buying. You wonder why China is the new economic giant? We don’t up here. China thanks the Obama administration – for Chicken Little and the sky falling in mentality. Just as is Global Warming – a fantasy for children and weak minded adults.

TBear

… Then they came for the cats. And I did nothing. Then they came for me.

observa

It’s a bit cruel to these dumb animals to ‘sic em’ with their own baying hound CO2 estimates like this, but I must remind these latte sippers to stick to instant coffee-
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sponsored/foodanddrink/6759611/Instant-coffee-more-environmentally-friendly.html
And don’t forget critters, sweet revenge for all we deniers is a cuppa best served cold, in more ways than one with that global warming hiatus now.

Edohiguma

I’ve been saying those house cats were up to something for years! And nobody ever believed me.

RoHa

They can ban SUVs if they want, (I can’t afford one anyway) but no way will I let them take my cat.
And my cat agrees.

tobias

Just to make a point . Why does the oil and gas industry just not halt transportation of natural gas for one day to the US Eastern Seaboard as in Washington DC preferably due to a “security issue”
(I am not talking about the natural gas coming from Van Jones or any politician for that matter, they are real security issues).

sophocles

The irony lying in the construction of the pipeline is it’s completion will just about
coincide with possible global cooling …. Climate “sceptics” could have a field day
with that!

Record Low Temperatures Giving Florida Spring Breakers A Chilly Welcome
“TAMPA (CBS TAMPA) – Spring Breakers flocking south to Florida’s typically warm and sunny beaches are bringing along a very unwelcome guest this year – Old Man Winter.
Temperatures averaging 10 to 20 degrees below normal have taken a southward dip into the southeastern portion of the U.S., with temperature highs sitting unseasonably low in the 50 and 60 degree range.”
http://tampa.cbslocal.com/2013/03/04/record-low-temperatures-giving-florida-spring-breakers-a-chilly-welcome/
We’re going to start selling Grand Solar Minimum bringing cooler temperatures to Florida resulting in lower hurricane risk in order to revive the real estate market from our catastrophic housing bubble bust. Think I’m kidding?

Barry Sheridan

I wonder what those who claim to be environmentally conscious really believe in. To a man they use electicity, cars and all the rest of those inventions that have freed life from the endless drudgery of past times. Are they serious in thinking that somehow it is possible to recreate what has gone, a supposedly golden era. Clearly they are ignorant of what life has been before a million or more ideas and decades and decades of practical effort conquered the backbreaking toil of our forefathers. We are so fortunate in our daily lives today, not only are supermarkets full of every kind of food you could wish for all the time, but efficient personal and public transport can take us anywhere we want to go. On top of that we have the advances of healthcare that allow more people than ever to live a decent life despite the threats that once killed millions in the routine of different epidemics.
To be honest the so called green agenda is nothing more than a parade of drivel advanced by stupid people who have no idea what life would be like if their ideas were adopted. I am all for concerns for the planet and our impact on it, yet one of the few ideas that will help reduce our foot print, the use of a nuclear process of some kind, is consistently opposed. Truly the world is dominated by the ignorant and the foolish.

meltemian

I have 5 cats and 3 dogs…..sorry Kenji but I know which of them does more environmental damage!

Greens working for sheiks? What an idea…

Lets see if I’ve got this right:
1. Al Gore receives $100 million from big oil as his share of the payment for his failing cable TV station.
2. Al Gore is stridently campaigning against Keystone.
3. The Middle Eastern oil interests who stumped up the money for Al stand to lose $27 billion+ per year if Keystone goes ahead.
Nothing to see here, move along…

Goode 'nuff

Hey Ian, there is a way to distract Kenji. If Anthony would go along with it. Get him a little mechanical dog buddy.
Friends have this Yorkshire Terrier and I brought this little mechanical dog home for a Christmas present. Hilarious!!! That little Yorkie went bonkers!!! Absolutely bogazeetee over that little mechanical dog!!!
My beagle just cannot believe how the Yorkie goes nuts at the mechanical dog and tries to trap the little butter bean to the floor where he cannot move. ‘Knock it off would ya, this is ridiculous! It’s not real!’
We’ve about never seen anything so funny!

Ian E

Look you Deniers, it is a settled fact : Cats cause Global Calming!

John Law

Ian says:
March 4, 2013 at 10:58 pm
“I for one am sick of these constant attacks on cats. First we hear that they kill more birds than wind farms, now they’re causing global warming. We all know that dogs are the real menace, but we don’t hear those views expressed on WUWT… and I suspect the hidden influence of Kenji. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you!”
Pure WUWT dogma Ian.
Shame on you Anthony!

Sun Ignores Scientists’ Predictions
“NASA says that something unexpected is happening on the Sun. This year, 2013, is supposed to be the peak of the 11-year sunspot cycle—the year of Solar Max. Yet solar activity is well below the expected level. Out somnolent star refuses to behave according to the predictions of Sun watching scientists, leading some observers to wonder if forecasters missed the mark. The botched solar forecast not only has implication for our understanding of the physical processes inside the Sun, it has possible links to future climate change here on Earth. Scientists admit that no one knows for sure what the Sun will do next.”
“The early peak and shortfall in activity can easily be seen in the sunspot record shown in the plot. The panel’s prediction of a May 2013 peak was made during the deepest minimum in nearly a hundred years, with sunspot numbers near zero and x-ray flare activity flat-lined for months at a time. Recognizing that deep minima are often followed by weak maxima, a wimpy maximum was expected, but not quite this wimpy. Given the lack of solar activity in February 2013, a maximum in May now seems unlikely.
Solar physicist Dean Pesnell of the Goddard Space Flight Center notes that the Sun has been acting a bit contrary in recent cycles. “The last two solar maxima, around 1989 and 2001, had not one but two peaks,” he reports on a NASA website. Solar activity went up, dipped, then resumed, performing a mini-cycle that lasted about two years. Indeed, sunspot counts jumped in 2011, dipped in 2012, and Pesnell is now betting that the same thing could be happening again.
“This is solar maximum,” he says. “But it looks different from what we expected because it is double peaked. I am comfortable in saying that another peak will happen in 2013 and possibly last into 2014.”
On longer than decadal time scales, the Sun has shown considerable variability, that variability often correlating with century long trends in Earth’s climate. These periods include the long Maunder Minimum, when almost no sunspots were observed, the less severe Dalton Minimum, and the increased sunspot activity during the last fifty years known as the Modern Maximum. The causes for these variations are not well understood, but because sunspots affect the brightness of the sun, solar luminosity is lower during periods of low sunspot activity. It is widely believed that the lack of solar activity during the Maunder Minimum and earlier periods may be among the principal causes of the Little Ice Age. ”
http://theresilientearth.com/?q=content/sun-ignores-scientists-predictions

Mike Bromley the Canucklehead in Cowburg

tobias says:
March 4, 2013 at 11:42 pm
Yes. Turning a valve or two to the off position when demand is highest would certainly cause a stir. A little taste of actual fuel poverty?

izen

As the report makes clear, although it is buried in the market review sections, the pipeline will not contribute significantly to US crude use. Its main role will be to provide crude to the Gulf coast refineries to replace the dwindling oil from Mexico and Venezuela that is required for processing into refined products for export. Tar sand oil is only financially viable above a certain price, and this makes it rather a high priced feedstuff for domestic consumption.
It is true that without the Keystone pipeline the tar sands will still be exploited, the demand for even expensive crude is growing as peak oil hits the major liquid crude reserves. But the financial justification for the pipeline is to maintain the shrinking production in the refineries on the Gulf coast which will predominately go for export.
Unless crude oil prices double again there is not more than a few years of viable production possible from the tar sands, so the pipeline will be obsolete within a decade or so.
Unlike investment in renewable power sources that have no limit on the fuel source.

steveta_uk

“Canada’s highly polluting tar sands”

Shouldn’t that be “Canada’s highly polluted tar sands.”?
The plan is to clean up the nasty polution and convert it into water and nice cleanr CO2, extracting some energy along the way, and I assume returning the newly cleaned sand to whence it came.
Isn’t that what environmentalists like?

oldfossil

@izen, there’s a term used by economists and cost accountants called “marginal cost.”
This is the number used to evaluate the feasibility of filling underutilized capacity.
I have NOT seen any figures and it’s possible that even on the basis of marginal costing, the project has only a limited lifespan.
But even a decade should be long enough to make the project worthwhile.

johnmarshall

All I can say to Waxman and Radford is PROVE IT!
Your claims are pure sophistry, total rubbish, complete idiocy.

thisisnotgoodtogo


@30:00listen to a teenager ask Suzuki what kind of alternative fuel should he be thinking of for the car he wants to buy when he gets a few year older..
Suzuki tells him “muscle power”. The adults applaud.
The kid must be in shock. He had no idea Suzukli would snatch his mode of job seeking, mate seeking, socialization, travel.
What were the green lunatic adults thinking about when they handed down the sentence for this youth ( their “reality” for 5 years hence), only to drive their cars home ?

Frederick Whatley

“Unlike investment in renewable power sources that have no limit on the fuel source.” And no limit on the money [or “investment”] they will take out of your pocket while you try to decide whether to stave off freezing or buy food.

Ian H

sophocles says:
The irony lying in the construction of the pipeline is it’s completion will just about
coincide with possible global cooling.

Yet another prediction of cooling. I’ve seen many people here make such statements. Personally I think such predictions are rather brave. If you think as I do that natural variability is responsible for most of the recent warming, then that means conceding the possibility that this natural variability might lead to still further warming in future.
Yes I am aware that the sun is entering a quiet phase and such phases have coincided with cool periods in the past. But mechanisms to explain this remain at the level of tenuous speculations. The most popular suggested mechanism works by changing cloud nucleation rates. But in the modern atmosphere cloud nucleation is also effected by particulates from industry and by aircraft contrails – so even if we accept that this mechanism caused the little ice age, it isn’t at all clear what will happen today.
The climate remains a chaotic system. The most predictable thing about the climate is its unpredictability.

Wamron

You know theres something very obvious that we have all been overlooking:
Environmentalists oppose anything that reduces unemployment.
Why: Well its too obvious really, a person who is barely able to survive and has no spending money has a smaller carbon footprint than someone who has a job, a salary and, wow, even takes holidays abroad and drives acar.
Now this is one instance where we really dont need to ask what they think. Because, given that the above (unemployment reduces a persons carbon footprint) and given that an environmentalist places carbon emissions reduction above everything else, then, its axiomatic that they must prefer others to be unemployed.
This is a thing worth remembering.

Wamron

…oh BTW, IMO your housecat analogy is MOST unfortunate. Environmentalists are already zealously campaigning to have that symbol of ourculture prohibited as well.

Olaf Koenders

I knew those cats were up to something. Them and their smug looks..

Luther Wu

izen says:
March 5, 2013 at 2:07 am
“…”
__________________
What’s with you people? You all use the same talking points and your last stand against everything that makes sense is to claim as you did that the oil still won’t be enough, so why go after it? You say the oil sands will soon be depleted, so why bother? Your alternative is to champion what are the very worst performing energy sources in terms of economy, reliability and often, ecology.

catweazle666

It’s not the cats.
It’s the badgers!

Hot under the collar

I knew it, that confirms it and my dog agrees, these global warming alarmists are ‘cat deniers’. ; > )

lurker passing through, laughing

Trains are a 19th century solution to a 20th century problem: more cost, more environmental impact, more pollution more risk. In a demonstration of just how corrupt the media role in this, recently NPR has been promoting trains as a viable means to transport this volume of crude. It is interesting that in this day of budget crisis govt. funded media seemingly faces no cuts, and just happens to support the lucrative role of one of the President’s billionaire pals who happens to own the train that carries the oil.

lurker passing through, laughing

izen,
Your claim makes no sense. The oil it replaces is primarily for domestic use. Do you think that the development of this pipeline to market is just some eeeevil plot? By the way, Mexico is moving to dramatically increase its oil production from frakking and other technologies. The anti-oil fanatics keep making this fallacy about running out of oil and do not seem to consider that that have been wrong each and every time they have claimed we are running out. An interesting question for me is why the anti-oil people seem to have any credibility in the policy discussion at all?

Dave Turchynsky

One can legitimately argue the validity of climate change claims but there is one thing that is not in dispute: the TAR sands is the largest human endeavor on the planet. In order to mine the bitumen, vast quantities of water are redirected from the Rockie Mountain watershed, heated into steam (buy burning already extracted TAR) and injected into the TAR to soften it. The TARsands deposit is the size of Scotland and the water that is used to extract the TAR will be left to sit in open tailing ponds that will eventually be the area of a couple of the great lakes. A toxic pool of contaminated water, toluene and benzene. This is all while the Canadian government refuses to require the TARsands companies to remediate ANY of the resources (land or water) in the process of this ill-considered extraction method – preferring instead to leave the issues of the environment to future generations. In other words… “take the money and run”. American business spokespeople may be OK with their northern neighbors leaving a toxic legacy to future generations – after all – it’s not in your backyard – but I can tell you that there are growing numbers of people in Canada who are opposed to the TARsands development as it is currently planned. We don’t think it’s right to leave the largest toxic mess in human history to be cleaned up by future generations just so a few fat ass executives can abscond with extortionate profits.
By the way… I use capital letters when mentioning TARsands because it’s not “oil sands” – it’s not “heavy crude” – it is what it is – – – TAR. Now… think of BILLIONS of barrels of that being shipped all over the planet. Would you really want to risk losing control of it anywhere along its chain of distribution? Any mechanical system is prone to failure – so in the case of TAR, toluene and benzine (two of the most carcinogenic chemicals on Earth) wouldn’t it make more sense to isolate these materials until they are rendered safe products for shipping?
Have a look at this site.
http://www.businessinsider.com/canadian-oil-sands-flyover-2012-5?op=1
They’re photos from the air of the development as it is currently operating. Multiply what you see here by 6 or 7… That’s what will be left for your kids, grandchildren and many future generations.

Tom J

A housecat named ‘Princess’? How ironic.

Chuck Nolan

izen says:
March 5, 2013 at 2:07 am………………………………………….
Unlike investment in renewable power sources that have no limit on the fuel source.
————————————————
I agree with you izen.
We need nuclear energy. We need a lot of it and soon.
cn

sailboarder

izen says:
“Unless crude oil prices double again there is not more than a few years of viable production possible from the tar sands, so the pipeline will be obsolete within a decade or so”
?? Where do you come up with that? Is this not a science site? Please provide a source.

Snake Oil Baron

The right to keep and bear cats shall not be infringed.

Fred from Canuckistan

Meanwhile, President Obambam dithers.

Barry Sheridan says (March 5, 2013 at 12:17 am): “I wonder what those who claim to be environmentally conscious really believe in. ”
ETHICS AND ASYMMETRY: SKIN IN THE GAME AS A REQUIRED HEURISTIC FOR ACTING UNDER UNCERTAINTY, C. Sandis & N.N. Taleb
Abstract: We propose a global and mandatory heuristic that anyone involved in an action that can possibly generate harm for others, even probabilistically, should be required to be exposed to some damage, regardless of context. We link the rule to various philosophical approaches to ethics and moral luck.(http://www.fooledbyrandomness.com/SandisTaleb.pdf)

Lance

You guys all forget that this is what the cats heard
” “

Mr. President, it’s your decision. On one side is the common-sense choice of more jobs, economic growth, reduced dependence on Mideast oil, and a negligible increase in greenhouse gas emissions. On the other side is Climatist ideology. Which will you choose?
Geez, when you put it that way to President Obama, common sense will lose every time.
You need to show some tie-in between the pipeline and political corruption, big unions, and ACORN led community organizing and it may get a nod from Obama.
Just sayin’…

klem

Climate hawk John Kerry and the State department have concluded the pipeline will have little effect on climate. This paves the way for Obama to approve the pipeline and at the same time betray his environmental supporters. Lol!
I can’t wait to hear the excuses the Sierra Club, Greenpeace, WWF, Hollywood celebrities, Bill Maher, MSNBC, etc, will come up with to let Obama off the hook.
I can’t wait.
Let the beer and popcorn flow. Wahoo!

izen

Read the report.
This is a goverment subsidy to the fossil fuel industry to prop up the gulf coast refineries.
The feedstock is too expensive for domestic consumption as vehicle fuel, it will need to be refined onto more profitable materiels for export.
Peak oil is not about the oil running out, it is about passing the maximum that can be extracted per year from a lnown reserve. That is what is happening now with the conventional oil fields in Mexico/Venezuela. And why the fossil fuel interests are so desparate to get the tarsands output to keep the refineries going for longer.

GlynnMhor

Turchynsky, the deposits were called “tar sand” by those who paddled past them, but the oil and gas industry refers to formations by what they produce. Thus we have gas sands, gas shales, oil shales, oil sands, and so on. Tar is in reality a specialized byproduct of refining for other, lighter substances.
Environmental issues in Canada are part of the jurisdiction of provincial governments instead of the federal government, and the Alberta government does indeed require the lands to be remediated after use. Well over 90% of the water used for extraction is recycled, and technologies for increasing that percentage are now leading to the shrinkage of tailings ponds as dewatering methodology improves, and despite the increasing oil production levels.
The oil sands operations are succeeding in cleaning up one of the world’s greatest oil spills, one which has been oozing into the Athabaska River for millenia prior to the indians immigrating there.

Petrah
Duke C.

What good is an additional 830,000 BPD when refinery capacity has been in a steady decline since 1982?
http://www.eia.gov/dnav/pet/hist/LeafHandler.ashx?n=PET&s=8_NA_8SWP0_NUS_MBBL&f=A
Pro AGW groups will simply double their efforts in reducing or shutting down refineries. The crude delivered via Keystone will simply back up because there isn’t the capacity to refine it.