November 15 2011
President Obama called the citizens of the nation he leads lazy, soft, and unimaginative at the Asia-Pacific economic summit.
Well, Mr. President, it wasn’t us who delayed the Keystone LX project until after the 2012 election. That, Sir, was you. Rich Lowry comments on the irony in POTUS’ most recent criticism of his fellow Americans:
What he should have said, in the light of his administration’s handling of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, is that America has become quite adept at blocking foreign investment. To delay the project for more than three years and then, after giving every indication that it would go through, announce that the ultimate decision will be kicked past the 2012 election takes hard work and brio.
Vaclav Smil, who does interdisciplinary research in energy, the environment, population and other fields, explains on The American why the president’s Keystone punt was “a spherically perfect decision, because no matter from which angle you look at it, it looks perfectly the same: wrong.”
The president delayed the decision because environmentalists, part of his base, oppose Keystone XL. Smil says that statistics indicate that there is no more environmentally-safe way to transport oil than through a pipeline. A pipeline can easily be rerouted to avoid harming sensitive ecosystems.
Moreover, the environmentalist-imposed delay of Keystone XL could lead to something environmentally-worse than bringing the oil to the United States:
Here comes the craziest twist: if the opponents of the XL succeed and prevent its construction, there is a strong possibility that Alberta’s oil sand-derived oil will be piped westward to Canada’s Pacific coast and loaded on supertankers going to Asia, to feed China’s grossly inefficient industries….
By preventing the oil flow from Canada, the United States will thus deliberately deprive itself of new manufacturing and construction jobs; it will not slow down the increase of global CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion (OK, by two weeks, perhaps); it will almost certainly empower China; and it will make itself strategically even more vulnerable by becoming further dependent on declining, unstable, and contested overseas crude oil supplies.
That is what is called a spherically perfect decision, because no matter from which angle you look at it, it looks perfectly the same: wrong.