Could Keystone Approval Bring a Victory for Environmentalists?

With a decision over the fate of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline by expected later this year, John M. Broder wonders whether an environmental quid pro quo could deliver a major climate policy victory in exchange for the pipeline's approval.
May 9, 2013, 7am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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"President Obama’s first major environmental decision of his second term could be to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, profoundly disappointing environmental advocates who have made the project a symbolic test of the president’s seriousness on climate change," writes Broder. "But could some kind of deal be in the offing, a major climate policy announcement on, for example, power plant regulation or renewable energy incentives, to ease the sting of the pipeline approval?"

Among the many problems with such a deal, as Broder points out, is that environmentalists are unlikely to be mollified by any consolation prize. "[Environmentalists] have described the pipeline as a fuse to one of the biggest carbon bombs on the planet, and said that extracting and burning all the oil in the Alberta oil sands would mean the game was over for global climate."

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Published on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 in The New York Times
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