News broke today that Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper has written a letter to President Obama that, according to CBC reporting, “formally propos[ed] ‘joint action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the oil and gas sector,” in exchange for approval of Keystone XL.

The specific details of the offer from Harper are yet to be revealed, but in actuality, those details are meaningless.  Here are the facts:

As concluded numerous times, including in our recent report “Fail: How the Keystone XL Tar Sands Pipeline Flunks the Climate Test,” the Keystone XL pipeline is a lynchpin for tar sands development, and such development will significantly increase greenhouse emissions.

What’s more, as concluded by the IEA and others, Canada’s plans for expansion of the tar sands, which would be facilitated greatly by Keystone XL, are entirely incompatible with efforts to ensure a safer climate…by a factor of three.

The President would be more than unwise to fall for Prime Minister Harper’s last-ditch hail mary. No deal on Keystone XL can mitigate the impacts of tar sands expansion. Keystone XL is climate disaster; no snake oil deal from a Prime Minister bent on cooking the planet in order to help his oil industry friends will change that.

As I said today in a joint release from a number of US and Canadian organizations and First Nations, “Trusting Canada’s Harper government on climate would be a huge mistake. Prime Minister Harper has proven time and again his willingness to turn his back on international climate commitments in order to promote a tar sands industry incompatible with real climate action.”


  • The Keystone Pipeline and Tar Sands Oil Development emits so much that it would take shutting down power on whole continents to offset it. And Canada will become the new place to live, as the southeastern us sinks and the polluted tradewinds haunt us all. If they want to trench through mountains to develop it, let it be their mountains. Not our aquifers and homes.

  • That Pipeline Is Mostly Just For Export. Let Canada Build Their Own Pipeline To The Sea For Export. Let Them Deal With Spills And Costs To Build. We Don’t Get Taxes From Oil Companies Anyway, So It’s Just A Win For Us.

  • We know the purpose of this pipeline: to make dollar for someone, certainly not for schools or healthcare or children or working poor or just downright poor..
    For the environment, for our grandchildren, stop the energy greed that is based on secrecy (why can’t we know truths such as who will sell the oil to whom? what proof have we ever seen that energy giants clean/repair/pay for the harm that does occur in spills, etc.?), JUST SAY NO!

  • THis is a very dangerous offer.

    It fits Obama’s “net impact” line – oil and gas sector emissions offsets could be the cover for Obama OK.

    Additionally, after the Syria fiasco, Obama is desperate for an intentional deal on high profile issue – to restore his diplomacy credibility.

    Dangerous proposal and a rally bad time.

  • Dosn’t the word “conservation” exist in the human language anymore? If we conserved, we would not need to devour the planet like we are.

  • Letting the XL Pipeline into our country would be like putting a gun to the people of the worlds heads. Why would we subject anybody to all those fumes when we make more than we can control now?NO NO NO

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