TransCanada: Pipeline would not affect climate

Associated Press
Protestors march in front of the White House in Washington during a rally calling on President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada, as well as act to limit carbon pollution from power plants and “move beyond” coal and natural gas, Sunday, Feb. 17, 2013.  (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta)
.

View gallery

WASHINGTON (AP) — In a shift in strategy, the company that wants to build an oil pipeline from western Canada to Texas said Tuesday that the project will have no measurable effect on global warming.

Alex Pourbaix, TransCanada's president for energy and oil pipelines, said opponents of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline have grossly inflated its likely impact on emissions of greenhouse gases that contribute to global warming.

Canada represents just 2 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions, Pourbaix said at a forum sponsored by a manufacturing group that supports the pipeline. Oil sands concentrated in Alberta, where the 1,700-mile pipeline would start, make up 5 percent of Canada's total, Pourbaix said.

"Simple math tells us, therefore, that the oil sands represent only one-tenth of 1 percent of global greenhouse emissions," he said. "Even if production from the oil sands were to double, the (greenhouse gas) contribution from the oil sands would be immaterial to global" greenhouse gas production.

Pourbaix's comments came two days after a rally Sunday by pipeline opponents drew an estimated 35,000 people to Washington. Organizers, including the Sierra Club and other environmental groups, billed the event as the largest climate rally in U.S. history. Thousands of people marched past the White House to urge President Barack Obama to reject the $7 billion pipeline and take other steps to fight climate change.

Opponents say the pipeline would carry "dirty oil" derived from tar sands that requires significantly more energy to produce than conventional crude oil and emits up to 20 percent more greenhouse gases.

At Tuesday's forum, organized by the National Association of Manufacturers, Pourbaix took on the climate argument head-on. He and other TransCanada executives have previously emphasized the pipeline's safety, the jobs it will create and the fact the oil comes from a U.S. neighbor and ally.

"Our opponents are trying to make this debate about GHGs," he said, referring to greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide that are emitted as oil is produced and refined. "So let's look at Canada's contribution to global GHGs."

Pourbaix called Canada a leader on climate change and noted that Alberta was the first jurisdiction in North America to regulate greenhouse gas emissions. The province also has imposed a carbon tax, an action the Obama administration has said it will not propose.

Oil carried by Keystone will displace heavy crude from Venezuela, Nigeria and other countries that also contributes to global warming, Pourbaix said. "You could shut down oil sands production tomorrow and it would have absolutely no measurable impact on climate change," he said.

Michael Mann, a climate scientist at Pennsylvania State University, said Pourbaix's comments appeared to be based on "some rather rosy assumptions" about oil sands production. First, the calculation does not take into account the energy cost of refining and transporting the oil from tar sands, nor does it account for a huge reserve that could make the Alberta tar sands a key contributor to global warming in the future, he said.

Mann, who opposes the pipeline, said U.S. approval of Keystone XL would encourage increased development of the heavily-polluting tar sands. Canadian officials have called development of the tar sands a national priority.

By endorsing the pipeline, "we may be insuring that a much larger amount (of the oil reserves) will be economically viable," Mann said.

Obama calls climate change a serious threat and has urged Congress to combat it. In his State of the Union address last week, Obama said he will use executive authority to cut greenhouse gas pollution if Congress fails to act.

Obama has twice thwarted the Keystone XL pipeline because of concerns about its route through sensitive land in Nebraska, but has not indicated how he will decide on the pipeline since Nebraska's governor approved a new route last month. The State Department has authority over the project because it crosses an international border, but both sides on the issue expect Obama to make the final decision.

___

Follow Matthew Daly on Twitter: https://twitter.com/MatthewDalyWDC

View Comments (318)

Recommended for You

  • David Cassidy prepares to auction Florida mansion

    FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) — Like many of his baby boomer peers with grown children and debts to settle, one-time heartthrob David Cassidy is looking to downsize.

    Associated Press39 mins ago
  • Luggage piece found on French island near possible MH370 debris

    Part of a bag was found Thursday on the French Indian Ocean island of La Reunion not far from plane debris which has fuelled speculation it may be from missing flight MH370. "The piece of luggage was here since yesterday but nobody really paid attention," said Johnny Begue, a member of a local…

    AFP
  • Family Pet-Sitter Helps Herself To Homeowner's Possessions

    DEAR ABBY: A trusted and beloved family member who takes care of my cats -- and therefore has a key to my house -- has been stealing things like cleaning supplies, knickknacks, family pictures, etc. Most of them have little monetary value. But imagine my surprise when I spotted some of my missing…

    Dear Abby
  • Turkey onslaught on Kurds, after IS attack, fuels anger

    DIYARBAKIR, Turkey (AP) — Just when it seemed Turkey was getting serious about the fight against IS, it has turned its military focus to pounding its old foe: the Kurdish rebels.

    Associated Press32 mins ago
  • An American Dentist Killed Zimbabwe’s Famous Lion

    Cecil the lion, a famous black-maned resident of Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, died at the hands of an American dentist, conservationists claim. “Mr. Palmer shot Cecil with a bow and arrow but this shot didn't kill him,” Johnny Rodrigues, chairman of the Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force, said in…

    TakePart.com
  • View

    Creeping vines, abandoned village (20 photos)

    Just a handful of people still live in a village on Shengshan Island east of Shanghai that was once home to more than 2,000 fishermen. Every day hundreds of tourists visit Houtouwan, making their way on narrow footpaths past tumbledown houses overtaken by vegetation. The remote village, on one of…

    Yahoo News
  • Russia reassures Israel over Iran nuclear deal

    Russian President Vladimir Putin told Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday that the deal on Iran's nuclear program would improve security in the Middle East and guaranteed that Tehran would not acquire nuclear arms. Israel plans to lobby the U.S. Congress not to approve the…

    Reuters
  • Colorado theater shooter's dad saw wide-eyed smirk before

    CENTENNIAL, Colo. (AP) — James Holmes came home on winter break from graduate school looking haggard and making odd facial expressions, but his father didn't suspect at the time that he was descending into mental illness.

    Associated Press
  • Dashcam catches off-duty cop threatening to put 'hole in head' of driver

    Technically Incorrect: A Massachusetts driver makes a wrong turn. What happens next, all filmed on his dashcam, has led to an investigation. And yes, it's now on YouTube.

    CNET
  • Hidden Security Cameras Are Shocking Surprise For Daughter

    DEAR ABBY: I'm a 19-year-old woman in college who still lives with my parents. I found out something several weeks ago that's bothering me, and I need advice badly. Years ago, after a robbery, my parents installed security cameras outside our house. I knew about them because they were visible. But…

    Dear Abby
  • Police Officer Involved in Deadly Cincinnati Shooting of Samuel DuBose Indicted for Murder, Dismissed from Force

    "I'm treating him like a murderer," prosecutor Joseph Deters said during a news conference when describing the warrant out for a police officer who killed Samuel DuBose, 43, earlier this month. Footage released today from a police officer's body cam lasts about 10 minutes and shows the shooting.…

    ABC News
  • Play

    Custom truck built by father and son stolen in Lemoore

    A Lemoore man is on the hunt for his stolen pick-up truck. The classic custom ride holds significant sentiment to its owner, who built the truck with his late father.

    KFSN – Fresno
  • Jon Stewart signing off 'Daily Show' fake newscast for real

    NEW YORK (AP) — After more than 16 years and nearly 2,600 telecasts, Jon Stewart can feel proud of his scads of Emmys and his pair of Peabody Awards, his cultural gravitas (he hung with the Prez, both on and off the air!), even his reprobate status at Fox News.

    Associated Press
  • Killer deal: Amazon will pay you $10 to buy a $30 Google Chromecast

    Google’s little Chromecast dongle is pretty awesome. The device plugs into the HDMI port on any HDTV or monitor and instantly gives users access to movies, TV shows, videos, music, photos and more that can be streamed from any Android device. Best of all, perhaps, the Chromecast is wonderfully…

    BGR News
  • Taliban disavows Afghan peace talks after leader declared dead

    By Kay Johnson KABUL (Reuters) - The Taliban's official spokesman disavowed peace talks with the Afghan government on Thursday, throwing fledgling efforts to negotiate an end to 14 years of war into disarray. The statement came a day after the Afghan government said that Mullah Omar, the elusive…

    Reuters
  • Correction: Zimbabwe-Lion Killed-3 Things story

    WASHINGTON (AP) — In a story July 29 about U.S. regulations and big game hunting, The Associated Press erroneously referred to The Human Society of the United States. It is The Humane Society of the United States.

    Associated Press
  • Internet mauls dentist accused of illegal kill of popular lion

    Technically Incorrect: Walter Palmer, a dentist in Minnesota, has his Yelp entry attacked by those not fond of his allegedly illegal killing of Cecil the lion in Zimbabwe.

    CNET