– The NRDC Redford video is pure Hollywood – full of fiction, devoid of facts, and completely recycled.
– State Department has found that refined product export trends are “unlikely to be significantly impacted” by Keystone XL.
– The Obama administration, news outlets, research organizations, and prominent climate scientists dispute activists’ global warming claims.
Ever get that feeling that you’ve seen that movie before? It’s been clear for months now that Keystone XL opponents are completely out of ideas and have resorted to recycling all their old stunts. Case in point: the video that NRDC released this summer featuring Julia Louis-Dreyfus – the group simply took a two year old video created by Tar Sands Action, changed some of the b-roll, rearranged the takes, and released it as “new.”
Now ahead of the five year anniversary of Keystone XL’s application, NRDC is at it again, this time rehashing an old Robert Redford video from early in the summer (June 28, 2013), apparently not having any problem billing it as “new.”
Here’s the video “published” September 16, 2013
In the press release for the video, NRDC’s headline states: “Robert Redford Leads Prominent Americans Who DemandCleanPower: New Videos and Website Aimed at Fueling Public Climate Engagement.” Some closely associated press outlets’ headlines followed suit: as the Huffington Post reported, “Just days after singer Neil Young publicly denounced the Alberta oilsands, Redford appears in a video attack on the Keystone XL pipeline as part of a new climate change campaign.”
Well, there’s nothing new here. Check out the video published on June 28, 2013:
The video was also released with a blog post from Redford himself, which is full of the same misinformation in the video. We’ve already addressed his numerous fallacious talking points many times before, but if opponents continue recycling, we’ll continue providing answers.
Redford: “The oil industry is lobbying hard for President Obama’s approval to let the Keystone XL pipeline cross our border and move a river of tar sands to the Gulf Coast, where much of it will be shipped overseas.”
FACT: As we discussed in our last post, opponents have been arguing for months that Canadian crude would be sent straight to the Gulf Coast and immediately loaded on ships to China. The State Department has already addressed this claim and found it to be false – and news outlets have challenged opponents on this issue.
When confronted, opponents simply changed their talking point, saying that the oil would first be refined in the Gulf Coast and then shipped overseas. But this claim ignores our current economic realities.
The State Department has found that refined product export trends are “unlikely to be significantly impacted” by Keystone XL. Why? Thanks to our recent oil and gas boom and increasing demand in Latin America (completely independent of Keystone XL) the United States has been exporting refined petroleum products, like diesel, that don’t have a strong market in the United States. As Bloomberg recently reported, “In 2011, the U.S. became a net exporter of petroleum products for the first time in 60 years. The U.S. has always been a refining powerhouse, particularly along the Gulf Coast, which accounts for about 70 percent of all U.S. petroleum exports. Now that refiners have an abundant supply of high quality, relatively cheap crude to tap domestically, they can really flex their muscles abroad.”
Redford: “Developing the Canadian tar sands is destroying our continent’s great northern forest at a terrifying rate. It is producing enough carbon pollution to wreak havoc with our climate for decades to come. And the pipelines that carry this dirty fuel are a direct threat to our nation’s own drinking water supplies.”
FACT: For the full story, click here but just to reiterate some key points: Keystone XL is the safest way to transport Canada’s resources. Keystone XL will go above and beyond the safety measures of any existing pipeline, to the point that the State Department declared that it will “have a degree of safety over any other.” A report by the National Academy of Sciences has also found that diluted bitumen (one type of oil that will be transported by the Keystone XL pipeline) is no more corrosive than any other kind of crude oil, and therefore not more likely to spill from a pipeline.
Redford: “President Obama has promised to reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline if it will drive significantly more global warming pollution and more climate chaos. We have clear and compelling evidence that the Keystone XL fails the President’s climate test.”
FACT: No they don’t. In fact the only people saying that Keystone XL doesn’t meet President Obama’s climate test are the activists themselves. Let’s see what the Obama administration, news outlets, research organizations, and even prominent climate scientists have to say on that point:
- United States State Department: in its 2013 draft assessment, the State Department found that Canada will develop its oil sands “with or without the project…approval or denial of the proposed project is unlikely to have a substantial impact on the rate of development in the oil sands, or on the amount of heavy crude oil refined in the Gulf Coast area.”
- Time Magazine: White House: Keystone XL Pipeline Not A Climate Change Cure: “Thousands of miles of pipeline have been built since President Obama took office, and that hasn’t had a measurable impact on climate change,” said Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest, on board Air Force One. “The truth is what we need to do is take an all of the above approach.”
- Ken Caldeira, climate researcher at the Carnegie Institution for Science in Stanford, California: “I don’t believe that whether the pipeline is built or not will have any detectable climate effect.”
- Michael Levi, senior fellow for energy and environment at Council on Foreign Relations: “And despite fears by climate change activists that increased oil sand production has profoundly negative consequences to global warming, Alberta’s massive reserve base contributes relatively little to the problem at a global scale.”
- David Keith, a Canadian climate scientist at Harvard: “The extreme statements — that this is ‘game over’ for the planet — are clearly not intellectually true…”
- David Victor, a climate-policy expert at the University of California: “As a serious strategy for dealing with climate, blocking Keystone is a waste of time. But as a strategy for arousing passion, it is dynamite.”
- Washington Post editorial: Environmentalists are fighting the wrong battles: “The analysis underscores the extent to which activists have trumped up a relatively mundane infrastructure issue into the premier environmental fight of this decade, leading to big marches and acts of civil disobedience to advance a cause that is worthy of neither. The activists ought to pick more important fights. Until they do, the president should ignore their pressure”
- Nature editorial:“[R]egarding the Keystone pipeline, the administration should face down critics of the project, ensure that environmental standards are met and then approve it. As Nature has suggested before, the pipeline is not going to determine whether the Canadian tar sands are developed or not….Nor is oil produced from the Canadian tar sands as dirty from a climate perspective as many believe…”
Of note, Don Braid of the Calgary Herald was also not impressed with the claims in Redford’s “new” video:
“Redford’s new antioilsands video is full of fiction. The operations are ‘killing our planet,’ he says. The output is producing enough carbon ‘to wreak havoc with our climate for decades to come.’
Last week, Canadianborn singer Neil Young compared the oilsands to Hiroshima, the Japanese city obliterated by an American atomic bomb in 1945. A deeper insult to Fort McMurray – or Hiroshima – is hard to imagine.
In all cases, the arguments are ridiculous.”
That’s right: the Redford video is pure Hollywood – full of fiction, devoid of facts, and completely recycled.