The U.S. State Department seriously underestimated the climate impact of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline by leaving out a key source of carbon pollution, according to Stockholm Environment Institute researchers. Publishing in the journal Nature Climate Change, Peter Erickson and Michael Lazarus used past research on the connection between energy prices and consumption to calculate an annual emissions load of 110 million tonnes—more than four times the State Department’s maximum estimate of 27 million tonnes for Keystone. “It didn’t appear that they looked at the market implications,” said co-author Peter Erickson. “If the Keystone pipeline were to enable a greater rate of extraction of the oil sands, would that not increase global fuel supplies, which might then decrease prices and therefore allow a little bit more global consumption? That’s the analysis that we did here, and we found that it could be the greatest emissions impact of the pipeline.” (h/t iPolitics for pointing us to this story)
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