Biden’s Keystone Pipeline Kill – WSJ

President Biden issued a blizzard of executive orders on his first day in office, including a dictation to revoke approval for the Keystone XL pipeline. This is a blow to Canada, and it sends a message to investors that gambling under US rules does not offer immunity to arbitrary political whims.

TC Energy (formerly TransCanada) has been in the quicksand of American politics for more than a decade. According to a regulation from 2004, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has to approve cross-border projects. In 2008, TC applied for a permit to move up to 830,000 barrels of crude oil per day from the oil sands in Alberta to US refineries on the Gulf Coast.

The Obama State Department stated five times that the pipeline would not have a significant impact on greenhouse gas emissions as crude oil would still be produced. Sending bitumen by rail or tanker would lead to 28 to 42% higher CO2 emissions and more leakages. No matter. President Obama declined approval in 2015 as an offering to the Paris Climate Agreement.

President Trump gave way, but legal challenges from antifossil fuel groups have blocked the pipeline and the Trump years are up. Now Mr. Biden is withdrawing Keystone’s permission and rejoining the Paris Agreement. Neither of the two measures will be important for the climate.

Since 2000, the US has been a world leader in reducing energy-related emissions, as natural gas from hydraulic shale quarries has replaced coal in power generation. China’s Paris commitment does not require emissions to be cut for another decade. Russia’s will rise for years. Last November, the Russian oil giant Rosneft started a huge exploration project in the Arctic. “Mineral resources will remain a competitive advantage of the Russian economy and determine the place and role of the country in the world,” says Russia’s strategic mineral plan.

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