Monday, February 18, 2013

Its a pipeline, not a morality play 

In The Keystone Principle: Stop making it worse environmentalist KC Golden makes the ridiculous argument that opposing the Keystone pipeline is some kind of moral test of environmental purity:
Keystone isn’t simply a pipeline in the sand for the swelling national climate movement. It’s a moral referendum on our willingness to do the simplest thing we must do to avert catastrophic climate disruption: Stop making it worse.
Specifically and categorically, we must cease making large, long-term capital investments in new fossil fuel infrastructure that “locks in” dangerous emission levels for many decades. Keystone is a both a conspicuous example of that kind of investment and a powerful symbol for the whole damned category.
Now, its quite possible to object to a pipeline's route or its environmental impact or long-term effect on fossil fuel consumption or increased pollution from oil sands or whatever.  But portraying the Keystone pipeline as a "moral referendum" on climate change is silly.
It's just one more pipeline, joining several others that already carry Canadian oil to the United States.
If there is any moral component here, I believe it is this:  the quicker the United States can reduce its dependence on Middle East oil, the less likely we will find ourselves tangled up in another Middle East war.

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