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    Building Keystone XL Would Violate US Climate Commitments - Scientists

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    A group of economists and scientists told US President Barack Obama that the United States should reject the Keystone XL Pipeline project to be consistent with its previously stated climate commitments.

    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Building the Keystone XL Pipeline would make it impossible for the United States to meet its commitment to limit global temperature increases to two degrees Celsius, a group of 90 economists and scientists told US President Barack Obama in an open letter released on Wednesday.

    “The contribution of the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline to climate change is real and important, especially given the commitment of the United States and other world leaders to stay within two degrees Celsius of global warming,” the letter said. “Rejecting Keystone XL is necessary for the United States to be consistent with its climate commitments.”

    The United States signed the 2010 Cancun Agreements on climate change, which commits them to a maximum temperature increase of two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, according to the United Nations.

    But the letter warned that Keystone XL would expand greenhouse gas emissions. Fuels produced from the Canadian oil set to be transferred through the pipeline would “result in more greenhouse gas emissions over their lifecycle than fuels produced from conventional oil,” the letter said.

    “The Keystone XL pipeline will drive expansion of the energy-intensive strip-mining and drilling of tar sands from under Canada’s Boreal forest, increasing global carbon emissions,” added the letter, whose signatories included Philipp W. Anderson, the 1997 Nobel Laureate for physics, and Kenneth J. Arrow, who won the Nobel Prize for economics in 1972.

    The proposed pipeline would transport tar sands oil from Canada and shale oil produced in the US states of North Dakota and Montana to a marketing hub in the US state of Nebraska. From there, the oil would be shipped to refineries on the US Gulf coast. Launching the project requires President Obama’s approval because the pipeline would cross the US border with Canada, according to the Congressional Research Service.

    The US Senate passed a bill in January approving construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. Lawmakers in the House of Representatives are expected to approve the measure on Wednesday, setting the stage for a confrontation with the White House, which has pledged to veto the bill pending conclusion of a State Department review of the pipeline’s likely impacts. The Republican majority in Congress is not large enough to overcome President Obama’s veto.

    With talks on a global climate deal set to resume in Paris later this year, the 90 scientists and economists called on President Obama to demonstrate international leadership by rejecting the pipeline.


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    oil drilling, global warming, 2010 Cancun Agreements, Keystone XL Pipeline, UN, United States
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