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Let’s count the ways Keystone approval helps us

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So, why do we want President Obama and Secretary John Kerry to approve construction of the Keystone pipeline from Alberta to the Gulf of Mexico?

• Because it will allow Canada to double and then triple production of tar sands and send it to thirsty Asian consumers.

• Because it will encourage Wall Street to increase investment in tar-sands mining; they're worried now that increased amounts of tar sands can't get out of Canada without more pipeline capacity. All the other new pipeline routes are currently being blocked by citizen campaigns in Canada and the U.S.

• Because, if we wait too much longer, Americans will realize this has nothing to do with U.S. energy security. In reality, only a small portion will be used in the United States. Oil companies can get a higher price for these fuels in Asia.

• Because it will allow Canada to say once and for all that it is no longer possible for their country to commit to a national greenhouse gas reduction target.

• Because it will create a strong incentive for Canada to continue obstructing international climate negotiations. Canada definitely doesn't want to look like a laggard if others are moving forward. Far better to continue slowing the international process as it has been doing the last eight years.

• Because it will embolden Canadian oil industry and government representatives to continue interfering with American clean energy policymaking that offers incentives for cleaner fuels and vehicles.

• Because it will provide additional momentum to Canadian efforts to lobby Europeans against passing a clean fuels directive. If the Americans don't take a stand, it will be harder for the Europeans to stick their necks out.

• Because it will embolden Canada's current government to continue cracking down on Canadian civic interests and companies, who are opposed to tar-sands development.

• Because it will strengthen Canada's determined march to becoming a major petro state.

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Jump-starting climate action

The next president should use the Clean Air Act to control greenhouse gas emissions

This essay was originally published at Yale Environment 360. ----- The urgency of the current situation cannot be overemphasized: The latest scientific research tells us that global warming is accelerating at a rate beyond previous expectations, and that the window for a timely response is closing quickly. Despite some political efforts to muddy the waters, there is scientific agreement that greenhouse gas emissions must now be stabilized within seven years or the world will face unpredictable climate-related catastrophes -- far beyond the serious impacts already in evidence globally. Climate action in the United States -- at a federal standstill for …