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General News    H3'ed 3/26/13

State Department's Keystone XL 'Study' Now Exposed as a Triple Hoax

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(Article changed on March 26, 2013 at 10:16)

No climatologist was involved in the "State Dept's" "climatological study" of the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline. This helps to explain why the report failed to estimate, much less to calculate, how many degrees of additional global warming will result if this project is approved.


As has previously been reported, the Draft Environmental Impact Statement that Hillary Clinton's State Department contracted to be prepared on the proposed XL Pipeline, and that John Kerry's State Department issued on Friday evening March 4th while he was on a foreign trip, was actually written by a contractor that Secretary Clinton's State Department had arranged for TransCanada to hire and pay to evaluate this, TransCanada being the Canadian-Koch partnership that will build and operate this pipeline, which will generate an estimated $4 billion annual profits to TransCanada if it is granted President Obama's approval. The Koch brothers' firm will own 25% of that. Brad Johnson first exposed TransCanada's role in preparing the "State Department's" "environmental-impact study": he reported this at  grist.org , and at the "Green Blog" of Huffington Post, both on March 6th. His report was ignored in all mainstream press, and was covered in only one TV medium: Current TV .


Previously, on the night of March 4th, within just hours after the release of the "State Department's" "study," a reporter (who happened to be myself) had already headlined at the obscure "Off the Bus" blog of Huffington Post, "State Dept. Keystone XL Study Ignores Climate Impact," and reported that, "The U.S. State Department's "Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement Keystone XL Project' released on Friday evening, makes no mention at all of the impact on the world's climate that would result from construction of the proposed Pipeline. The study does discuss "Climate Change Impacts on the Proposed Project,' but not the proposed project's impacts on climate change. It finds that climate change will have no significant impact upon either the construction, or the operation, of the Pipeline." (A reader there commented that it did address climate change, by saying it wouldn't be affected; but that's not a study of the proposed pipeline's affect on climate change; it's just corporate PR that never even gets to estimating, much less to calculating, precisely how many degrees of additional heating will result for the planet if this pipeline is built than if it is not. If it's zero, then they should show their calculations from which that's derived; they didn't even estimate it, however, much less calculate it.)


I had sent that news story to all major news media, and to all major websites, but only the "Off the Bus" blog picked it up.


Since that time, I have further investigated the background of the chief person who was responsible for preparing the report's estimate of the impact that global warming would have on the construction and operation of the Pipeline. He is Yinka Afon , a Nigerian who graduated from Johns Hopkins University with a masters degree in engineering, and who has worked around the world for the petroleum industry contracting firm, Environmental Resources Management, Inc. (ERM). His sole listed publication is "An Assessment of Air Emissions from Liquefied Natural Gas Ships Using Different Power Systems and Different Fuels," and he co-authored that study with David Ervin of BP Shipping. Their study reports on "the impact of different ship power systems on criteria pollutants," and it says nothing about any climatological matters at all.


Therefore, the reason no calculation was done of the XL pipeline's global-warming impact appears to be that no one who was involved in the study had any climatological expertise or interest. This would certainly include the State Department officials who okayed TransCanada's choice of this petroleum-industry subcontractor to perform the study for the company that wants to build and operate this pipeline. In other words: when Hillary Clinton's State Department allowed an interested party to choose and pay the subcontractor to do this study, everything was pro-forma, and the impact that approval of the pipeline would likely have on the globe's climate was of no concern to anyone involved. This is the reason why the study dealt with practically everything except the pipeline's impact on climate: oil companies, especially ones that specialize in the most carbonaceous petroleum source of all (tar-sands oil), are likely to want the global-warming impact to be ignored. As to the motivation of State Department officials, that's not so clear. However, with the increasing privatization, or contracting-out, of government research, such as is reflected by this study, increased opportunities are presented for government officials to cash in by such means as board memberships, speaking fees, etc., which can be far more lucrative than government jobs. Consequently, the interests of the regulators and of the regulated become one. The interests that are concerned about matters such as global warming can easily get drowned out, as happened here.


But be that as it may: it is by now clear that the State Department's Draft "Environmental Impact Statement" on XL is neither by the State Department, nor does it address the pipeline's impact on global warming, nor was anyone who had expertise on global warming even involved in its preparation. The report is thus a triple-hoax, so that to call it fraudulent would put the matter mildly.


The core issue, however, remains the one that I pointed out on March 4th: the report ignores the pipeline's global-warming impact. The other two factors merely explain why that happened.

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Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They're Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010,  and of  CHRIST'S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that (more...)
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