Bobby Magill at Climate Central quotes me in a story on the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' decision to grant an easement that allows the Dakota Access Pipeline's final link to be constructed:
Danny Cullenward, an energy economist at Stanford University, said the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines are likely to increase oil production because the costs of shipping oil via pipeline are lower than shipping oil via rail or truck, two of the primary modes of transport for Bakken shale oil and Canadian oil sands today.
The Obama administration’s rejection of the pipelines wasn’t merely symbolic because additional greenhouse gas emissions from tapping such large sources of oil are likely to make it difficult to keep global warming from exceeding 2°C, Cullenward said.
“The total emissions that would come from long-term exploitation of the oil sands are not inconsequential in global terms, and therefore activists who believe they are stopping that long-term trend are consistent in claiming the significance of their actions in climate terms,” he said. “If that’s where you draw the line in the sand, then it’s not mere symbolism to oppose these pipelines.”