According to a new study from researchers at the Stockholm Environmental Institute, the tulsaworld.com/ap/business/study-keystone-pipeline-carbon-pollution-more-than-figured/article_7c689406-72b0-5e6b-a281-306bd8a0ef8e.html”>Keystone XL pipeline, if it is laid out, will contribute four times more to global warming pollution than what was predicted earlier this year by the State Department. The U.S., says the study, failed to account for the drop in price that would result from the pipeline — a price drop that would inevitably increase consumption. The study estimates that oil prices would drop $3 per barrel once the pipeline is operational.
The State Department had estimated in February that greenhouse gas emissions owing to the pipeline would be between 1.3 million and 27.4 million tons. Researchers involved with the study, though, say that the pipeline would contribute as much as 121 million metric tons of carbon dioxide annually, creating a significant impact on world greenhouse gas emissions. The pipeline, if completed, would stretch from western Canada to the Texas Gulf coast.
The State Department has so far declined to comment on the institute’s research. In the past, President Barack Obama has said that the U.S. would only move forward with the pipeline “if this project does not significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” The study basically suggests that the pipeline’s addition would wipe out multiple gains made by policies working to reduce pollution.
The reaction from other organizations has been mixed. University of Sussex economist Richard Tol said that the impact is negligible. Compared to the worldwide annual release of 36 billion tons of carbon dioxide, it’s only a drop in the bucket. The American Petroleum Institute believes the study is pointless, according to spokeswoman Sabrina Fang, since the tar sands will be developed and shipped in some way no matter what, even if they are not shipped by pipeline.
Already, the Keystone XL has been among the most heavily debated projects of Obama’s time as president. Although researchers and energy companies are exploring alternative sources of energy, oil and fossil fuels still remain the top sources for powering everything from homes to automobiles. There is hope, though. Already, solar installations power about 6,000 homes in the U.S., and are reducing CO2 emissions by 27,000 tons annually.