by: Obert Madondo
A former Harper appointee is trashing the Conservatives’ support of the Canadian tar sands industry.
During a keynote address to a Keystone XL summit in Washington D.C. on Monday, Mark Jaccard said Canada was behaving like a “rogue state” on the issue of the environment. He urged U.S. President Barack Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline.
“On climate, Canada is a rogue state,” Jaccard said. ”It’s accelerating the global tragedy … The U.S. government should reject Keystone XL and explain to the Canadian government that it hopes to join with Canada (on a global climate plan).”
Jaccard was nominated by the Conservatives to the now-nuked National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy in 2006.
The summit titled, ”Can Keystone Pass The President’s Climate Test?”, brought together top North American experts on climate change. It was hosted by the Center for American Progress Action Fund and NextGen Climate Action, founded by anti-Keystone XL “green billionaire” Tom Steyer.
“Keystone XL is a line in the sand that will tell the world whether our nation has the capacity to be a global leader in addressing climate change,” said Steyer. “It’s simple: Keystone XL is a bad deal for America that doesn’t serve our national interest.”
In May, Oil Change International said the full cost of Keystone to society could be upwards of $100 billion per year in damages to health, property, ecosystems, and the climate.
The Harper government has spend millions of taxpayers’ money promoting Canada’s tar sands and Keystone. In May, Harper traveled to New York to push for the approval of Keystone. Since since July 2011, Canadian ministers, deputy ministers and provincial premiers have made at least 25 pipeline promotion trips to the U.S. Each trip reportedly costs at least $45,000.
In June, President Obama declared that he would not approve Keystone if it “significantly” increases greenhouse-gas emissions. In a recent interview with the New York Times, Obama hinted that the pipeline, owned by TransCanada, may never come to life.
According to this press release, the experts at the summit declared that Keystone flunked President Obama’s “climate test”. The experts found that the pipeline “would create pollution equal to that from 50-57 coal plants, and that crucial pollution offset technology and practices were too undeveloped to compensate.”
The summit experts also found:
- Facts contradict the tar sands lobby’s claim that tar sands oil is “coming out of the ground anyway” with or without Keystone XL. In fact, Keystone XL is the key enabling infrastructure that the tar sands industry need to ramp up production
- Replacing Keystone XL-enabled tar sands production with energy efficiency steps would remove the pollution equivalent of 35-40 million cars.
- Offsetting the increased pollution driven by Keystone XL with existing “carbon offset” practices would be extremely difficult. It would require a government oversight agency that does not currently exist and offsetting pollution at a level that has never before been attempted.
- Any offsets would have to be real, measurable, verifiable and permanent.
- Offsets were never intended to enable new big fossil fuel resources to be developed.
- Providing offsets for Keystone XL could encourage other new, dirty energy resources when climate science is clear that we must rapidly develop cleaner – not dirtier – energy resources.
The summit is the latest in a series of actions taken by NextGen Climate Action to set the record straight about the impact of the Keystone XL. Over the past summer, NextGen Climate Action released a series of 90-second ads, “Bringing Down TransCanada’s House of Cards: The Keystone Chronicles,” narrated by Steyer from locations across the U.S.