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Desperate TransCanada’s Climate Arguments Fail the Laugh Test in Letter to Kerry

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For Immediate Release: July 1, 2015

Desperate TransCanada’s Climate Arguments Fail the Laugh Test in Letter to Kerry

Recognizing that the project’s prospects are looking grim, Canadian oil giant TransCanada sent a letter yesterday to Secretary of State John Kerry and other administration officials urging them to approve the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline.

They have reason to be concerned. Recent polling has suggested the pipeline is losing favor over time among the American public, and President Obama has been increasingly critical in his comments about the project, noting that the pipeline “bypasses the United States” and that tar sands is “extraordinarily dirty.”

Quoting the climate test the president laid out for the pipeline in 2013, the letter lays out a series of arguments so unconvincing they fail to pass the laugh test. A few highlights:

  • TransCanada cites the Alberta government’s recent announcement that it will update its existing carbon emissions regulations, a move which, observers have noted, is largely symbolic and wholly inadequate to get Alberta and Canada close to meeting their climate targets.
  • They note that Canada recently joined the United States and other G7 nations in an agreement to decarbonize the global economy, which apparently somehow justifies a massive investment in an infrastructure project that would effectively lock in decades of dirty fossil fuel extraction.
  • They even go so far as to note that the company also has a large portfolio of clean energy investments, seeming to assume this will earn them enough goodwill to simultaneously continue investing in the dirtiest fuel on the planet.

For all TransCanada’s claims that recent political and economic developments have helped their cause, the reality is that the case for Keystone XL has never been weaker. The tar sands pipeline would be a disaster for the climate, and by rejecting it President Obama has an opportunity to take a major step in the right direction on global climate action.

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