No pleasing Obama on Keystone XL: Why Canada’s climate change moves are futile – by Claudia Cattaneo (National Post – August 5, 2015)

The National Post is Canada’s second largest national paper.

With his crackdown on power plants and expectations he will finally kill Keystone XL this month, U.S. President Barack Obama is picking up the pace on high-profile climate change moves to pad his green credentials.

He’s also demonstrating that efforts by Canada — and particularly Alberta — to toughen up climate change regulations won’t result in pipeline approvals. They will just make the Canadian oil industry less competitive.

The latest proof is Obama’s continuing and unsurprising disregard for Canadian climate change initiatives in his review of the project, now in its seventh year.

There were significant ones in recent months, and to ensure they got the full attention of the U.S. administration, they were highlighted by TransCanada Corp. in a June 30 letter to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

The Calgary-based proponent of the Alberta-to-Texas pipeline talked up Ottawa’s new plan to cut Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 per cent below 2005 levels by 2030 as well Alberta’s plans to increase emissions reduction targets for large emitters.

Speaking to reporters Friday, TransCanada CEO Russ Girling said there has been no response to the “material update,” which was meant as a counter point to several indications by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that “Canada could be doing more” on climate change.

“The greenhouse gas emissions question has garnered so much attention, we wanted to make sure that the record was as full as possible,” Girling said. TransCanada wanted to show “that Canadian production continues to be a leader and that Canadian jurisdictions continue to be leaders in greenhouse gas emissions reduction standards relative to other producing countries around the world.”

The climate change concerns around Keystone XL are based on smoke and mirrors to begin with. The pipeline itself generates few emissions, would replace rail transportation of oil that has far greater environmental risks and impacts, and move Canadian oil that would replace oil from foreign sources that are less transparent about their emissions.

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