Sierra Club Will Break Law at DC Protest to Stop Keystone XL Pipeline

Yesterday, I reported in my column, "President Obama Promises a Big Push on Climate Change," that environmental activists will gather in DC for the Forward on Climate Rally on February 17th.  The protest organizers, the Sierra Club and 350.org, are hoping that the "largest climate rally in history" will persuade President Obama not to approve the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. That pipeline would transport to Gulf Coast refineries nearly a million barrels per day of petroleum derived from Canada's oilsands.

The board of directors of the Sierra Club consider the pipeline so threatening to the globe's climate that it has for the first time ever authorized members to participate in peaceful civil disobedience:

“For civil disobedience to be justified, something must be so wrong that it compels the strongest defensible protest,” said Michael Brune, Sierra Club Executive Director. “We are watching a global crisis unfold before our eyes, and to stand aside and let it happen -- even though we know how to stop it -- would be unconscionable."

As sincere as the Sierra Club folks are, civil disobedience in planned DC demonstrations is not exactly like civil rights activists facing Bull Connor in Birmingham in 1963. The group 350.org orchestrated an earlier protest against the pipeline and offered this helpful advice in a memo to demonstrators:

There are no guarantees, but similar actions in DC have been treated very consistently by authorities.  Typically, anyone arrested in civil disobedience such as this get either a citation (like a traffic ticket), or a simple misdemeanor charge (such as Trespass, or Failure to Disperse, or Incommoding).  Participants should plan to spend a night in jail. IF anything changes, and police begin to release participants earlier, we will inform you at the training. We’re anticipating that arrestees will have the option to post-and-forfeit [typically a $100 fee] when they appear before a judge the next day. People who choose to not pay this fine may remain in custody longer, have to return for a future court date, or face additional charges.  Currently, the charge we’re anticipating is Failure to Obey a Police Officer (see FAQ below), which is equivalent to a traffic ticket and carries no jail time.

The Sierra Club was evidently moved to act because Nebraska Gov. David Heineman approved yesterday the building of the pipeline through his state based on the finding by his Department of Environmental Quality that the project would have "minimal impact" on the environment. Althought the State Department has already found the project environmentally safe, the president delayed approval until after the 2012 election and asked for another review which will likely be issued in March.

In his second inaugural speech, the president made it clear that addressing climate change is going to be a central goal of his second term. If he rules that the pipeline is not in "the national interest," get ready for some truly interesting times when it comes to energy and climate policy.

For background see my column, "Don't Be Afraid of the Keystone XL Pipeline."

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  • R C Dean||

    Because if we don't use the Canadian oil, nobody will.

    If their thinking is that cutting off this supply of oil to the US will raise US oil prices and thus make their precious "green" energy more viable, then they obviously don't understand that oil trades in, and is priced in, a global market.

  • Drake||

    Yes. But a component of the price is the transportation cost.

  • RightNut||

    Considering the demand and price of oil, as well as the general ease of transporting it, the transportation cost is probably very low. My guess is China will have no qualms about buying Canadian oil.

  • ||

    Not to worry, there are plenty of environmentalists in Canada ready to fight construction of a pipeline through the Rockies.

    Not to say that the oil will not get extracted, exported, and burned EVENTUALLY. But we might have to wait for the next Republican president.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Yep, and the most dangerous part of production. Most all oil slicks are due to tankers hitting reefs.

  • Randian||

    What is this, another member of Tulpa's party?

  • sarcasmic||

    Same could be said of the "Drill, baby, drill!" crowd who think opening up ANWR will lower prices at the pump.

  • Ghetto Slovak Goatherder||

    Do you play any video games?

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    What will lower prices drastically is when Natural Gas is finally converted to Diesel for smaller cars and when most of the truck fleet is converted to NG combustion.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Not comparable at all. The difference between keeping oil in the ground or extracting it does affect prices; the difference between Americans buying oil or the Chinese buying it does not.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    This is what always gets me. Supposed Libertarians like to argue against the supply-demand system when it applies to commodities. Even if it doesnt affect prices, it employs thousands of more people.

  • sarcasmic||

    The difference between keeping oil in the ground or extracting it does affect prices

    Yeah, but by how much? I'm not saying that opening up domestic drilling would have no effect at all on the price of oil. I'm saying that the amount would be negligible on a global scale, and certainly not enough to make a noticeable dent in the price at the pump.
    That's not an argument against domestic drilling. I'm all for it. But don't expect it to result in two dollar gas like the "Drill, baby, drill!" crowd would have you believe.

  • entropy||

    I'm saying that the amount would be negligible on a global scale, and certainly not enough to make a noticeable dent in the price at the pump.

    Based on what, your assertion?

  • sarcasmic||

    Based upon things you wouldn't know anything about, like basic math and basic economics.

  • entropy||

    Based upon things you wouldn't know anything about,

    OoooOOOoOOOohh BURN! Haha!

    like basic math and basic economics.

    I'm looking for it. There doesn't seem to be any numbers in your comment, just bald assertions.

  • sarcasmic||

    Who needs numbers when common sense will suffice?

    Oh yeah. I forget that some people lack common sense.

    In that case the obvious is not worth explaining since you still wouldn't get it.

  • entropy||

    OK, so you take offense to my insinuation that your argument is based on assertion? And then appeal to math and economics?

    So can we assume you have the numbers, but you're just being stingy and don't want to share the data? Are you Michael Mann?

    Oh, "common sense". So... an assertion. You're telling me it's obvious what the numbers suggest even though you don't know what the numbers are???

    Common sense doesn't deny the effects of Supply and Demand.

    You admit it yourself: "I'm not saying that opening up domestic drilling would have no effect at all on the price of oil."

    The question is how much. That's the part where those numbers are missing, having been substituted with assertions and appeals to "Oh come on!" and such.

  • entropy||

    When your knee-jerk response is to call other people stupid while appealing to math without numbers, you don't look too smart.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'm sure you need numbers to prove the assertion that a single field will not produce enough wheat to lower the price of a loaf of bread. Nope. Just an assertion. Need actual numbers to prove it.

  • entropy||

    How big is the field? How big is the market?

    Numbers actually do prove things, as opposed to assertions which assert them without any data. If you knew basic math, you'd know that.

    Now the onus ought not be on me, I am not the one asserting things without any facts to back them up. I was not saying ANWR drilling would reduce prices, I'm merely asking you which body cavity you pulled your non-argument out of.

    But what the hell, since you're innumerate, let's see if we can find someone who actually does understand basic math.

    The Energy Information Agency estimates that when full production is reached, ANWR is capable of producing approximately 876,000 barrels of oil per day. Current oil consumption in the United States is 18.5 million barrels a day.

    So ANWR alone (not considering any other domestic oil sources that could be exploited simultaneously) would give us about 5% of total domestic demand all by itself.

    What about globally?

    Global production of oil fell from a high point in 2005 at 74 mb/d, but has since rebounded, and 2011 figures show slightly higher levels of production than in 2005.

    Now you're telling me common sense (and numberless math) says that an increase of over 1% in total global production capacity cannot possibly ever effect prices at all?

  • entropy||

    Maybe Reason is the wrong website for you.

    You should try Assertion magazine.

  • entropy||

    Assertion Magazine's tagline: What are you fucking stupid? Come on!

  • sarcasmic||

    Now you're telling me common sense (and numberless math) says that an increase of over 1% in total global production capacity cannot possibly ever effect prices at all?

    You honestly think that would make a noticeable dent in the price at the pump?

    I don't.

    Then there's the fact that OPEC could offset any increased global supply due to domestic drilling if they felt so inclined.

    My point is that cheaper gas is not a good argument for domestic drilling. There are plenty of good arguments, but that is not one of them.

  • entropy||

    You honestly think that would make a noticeable dent in the price at the pump? I don't.

    Apropo of nothing, which is my point. You're pissed other people don't have the same hunch as you.

    Then there's the fact that OPEC could offset any increased global supply due to domestic drilling if they felt so inclined.

    And so could we. That was just ANWR, remember? All by itself.

    My point is that cheaper gas is not a good argument for domestic drilling.

    That has nothing to do with the argument you were making or what I called you on.

  • sarcasmic||

    That has nothing to do with the argument you were making or what I called you on.

    Here's my original post:

    Same could be said of the "Drill, baby, drill!" crowd who think opening up ANWR will lower prices at the pump.

    So, in fact, that was the argument I was making.

    Oh, and here's what you called me on:

    I'm saying that the amount would be negligible on a global scale, and certainly not enough to make a noticeable dent in the price at the pump.

    Again, same argument. So now you're just being dishonest.

    You just got all pissy because I didn't use actual numbers. Some things are obvious and self evident enough that numbers are not needed. Well, maybe for you they aren't obvious and self evident.

  • entropy||

    Same could be said of the "Drill, baby, drill!" crowd who think opening up ANWR will lower prices at the pump.

    Now you're going in circles.

    Will not lower prices at the pump =/= not the best rhetorical argument for drilling.

    If you claim you're still making the same argument, are we back to insisting supply cannot possibly effect pricing?

    You just got all pissy because I didn't use actual numbers. Some things are obvious and self evident enough that numbers are not needed.

    Assertion Magazine. Try it. You'd fit right in. Fuck numbers. Cuz I said so.

    A moment ago you backtracked and said your point was you didn't like the argument.

    Again, you're telling me an increase of over 1% of total global production capacity is incapable of effecting prices? What's the magic number, 15%? Oh, sorry - right. We don't use those. Common sense tells us when supply effects prices.

    Please do recall that you were the first person to mention "math" actually. So it's funny how allergic to numbers you turned when I took you up on it.

  • sarcasmic||

    If you claim you're still making the same argument, are we back to insisting supply cannot possibly effect pricing?

    Scale matters.

    Again, you're telling me an increase of over 1% of total global production capacity is incapable of effecting prices?

    By a noticeable amount? No.

  • entropy||

    LOFL.

    Then what percentage is? Or is that also "common sense"?

  • sarcasmic||

    It's like pornography. You know it when you see it.

  • entropy||

    This numberless math is awesome. You can do things like common sense + me = I'm right!

    Your whole argument seems to be that the argument is stupid, and it's stupid that you should be expected to even have an argument just to argue.

  • entropy||

    http://www.sfgate.com/business.....472381.php

    "If the oil market lost 2 percent of global production from Libya 10 or 15 years ago, when oil production was only 85 or 90 percent of capacity, it would have had a very small impact on price," he says. "Today, when oil production is more than 95 percent of global capacity, losing 2 percent" will have an exponentially larger impact.

    It's the same type of "nonlinear price relationship" that applies to Giants tickets, he says. As long as there are plenty of tickets at the box office, the price of a resale ticket on StubHub will be low. But as the game approaches a sellout, "the price doesn't go up a little, it goes up a lot." After a sellout, the sky is the limit.

    Libya is stupid. Numbers are stupid.

  • sarcasmic||

    After googling around a bit it, the general consensus is that drilling in ANWR would reduce the price of gas by a couple pennies in a couple decades.

    Maybe that is significant to you, but not to me.

  • entropy||

    http://www.imf.org/external/np.....92105o.htm

    Indeed, a large part of the price increase (both spot and futures) appears to reflect uncertainty regarding future market conditions. In this context, geopolitical developments, fears of potential supply and refinery disruptions, and other factors may place upward pressure on spot prices by feeding into expectations.

    The perception of a limited response of investment to higher oil prices has reinforced these expectations. Based on current investment plans, production capacity is unlikely to grow enough to outpace future growth in consumption and create adequate spare capacity. A significant capacity overhang (mostly amongst OPEC producers) in the 1980s, low oil prices prior to 2004, and environmental considerations in some countries have had an adverse impact on the growth in oil productive and refining capacity. While investment has picked up in the past two years and some oil exporting countries have announced major investment plans, the market does not appear convinced that adequate investment will be forthcoming. Limited openness to foreign investment and uncertainty about licensing terms in some countries, and caution on the part of both national and international oil companies appear to continue to impede investment.

    That's stupid.

  • entropy||

    http://www.cato.org/publicatio...../opec-dock

    Even if the primary factor in the current growth in demand is actual consumption because of economic growth, an important secondary factor is simple fear. Because little excess supply capacity exists and inventories are low, any supply disruption would increase prices even further.

    Accordingly, speculators are buying and holding oil in the hopes that they can cash it in when prices explode in the future. Private and public inventories around the world are likewise being built up as quickly as possible. The upshot is that both speculators and stockpile owners are holding oil for the future, increasing world oil prices even higher in the process.

    Regardless, once oil inventories are built back up again, the “fear premium” will likely dissipate somewhat. But until new oil production investment begins to bear fruit, we might have to live with relatively high oil prices for some time to come - and with the threat of a truly epic price spike that could make today’s gasoline prices look tame by comparison.

    Fear premium?? Cato is stupid.

  • sarcasmic||

    You know what's really stupid? The amount of effort you put into trying to prove wrong my assertion that lower gas prices is a lousy argument for opening ANWR. That's stupid.

  • entropy||

    Not much effort. I'm just having fun with your non-argument, which consists mostly of asserting you've already won, your opinion is obvious without need for support, and everyone else is stupid.

    A 2% supply crunch sends oil prices skyrocketing, but a 1% increase in supply certainly couldn't effect that. Oil surges because we lost capacity in Libya equal to the amount of capacity in ANWR (about 50% of Libya's total capacity), but that couldn't possibly effect prices.

    Can't argue with numbers. You can call them stupid though. Because you have a strong hunch.

  • entropy||

    You're psychologically reinforcing me with your weaksauce.

    When you revert to the common refrains of debate losers everywhere, decrying the racist math or lamenting how much effort your opponents put in, it makes me feel like I'm special because I just kicked your ass.

  • sarcasmic||

    So you're saying that a future two cent decrease in the price at the pump is a compelling argument to open drilling at ANWR.

    Gotcha.

  • entropy||

    Nope.

    Reading fail. Come on sarcasmic. Try harder.

    Libya didn't cause a two cent increase. CATO says the "fear premium" on oil is $20 a barrel.

  • entropy||

    It's the same type of "nonlinear price relationship" that applies to Giants tickets, he says. As long as there are plenty of tickets at the box office, the price of a resale ticket on StubHub will be low. But as the game approaches a sellout, "the price doesn't go up a little, it goes up a lot." After a sellout, the sky is the limit.

  • entropy||

    Also, you're missing the real point.

    I don't really have an argument as to whether or not we should drill in ANWR.

    My argument has always been that aggressively insisting your hunches is no substitute for an actual argument.

  • sarcasmic||

    My argument has always been that aggressively insisting your hunches is no substitute for an actual argument.

    Was I wrong? No. I was not. Why wasn't I wrong? Well, maybe because some things are obvious. Like for instance the amount of oil in ANWR compared to the rest of the fucking world is not enough to make a noticeable dent in the price of gas.

    You don't really need hard numbers to understand that one oil patch, when compared to the rest of the fucking world, is not very significant.

  • entropy||

    Like for instance the amount of oil in ANWR compared to the rest of the fucking world is not enough to make a noticeable dent in the price of gas

    You can continue to insist this, it does not address the numbers. You admit it is an issue of scale, but you refuse to put the scale in context.

    You don't really need hard numbers

    You don't NEED numbers? You might not need them, but you shouldn't have to avoid them.

    Do you know what our current global over-capacity is? 5%.

    The same percentage that ANWR represents to the domestic market.

    And you've yet to acknowledge the fear premium. ANWR would increase the global over-capacity by 20%.

  • sarcasmic||

    You might not need them, but you shouldn't have to avoid them.

    As I said in an above post, after some googling I concluded that the consensus on ANWR is that it would lower gas prices by around two cents over the next two decades.

    Them's the numbers, and them's not significant in my book.

    The rest of your argument is a red herring.

  • entropy||

    after some googling I concluded

    Whoopee for you. You're still ignoring the fear premium.

    It's assinine to suggest you "concluded" anything at all. You've been quite blatant about how you feel your initial impression should hold no matter what the facts are. You don't need numbers. You have self-certainty.

    Seriously look at yourself. Your whole argument is a smug assertion. Anyone can use your argument any time for any thing. "Because, duh! It's just obvious!"

    That's not an argument, it's a dismissal. Not everything in life in intuitive, and frankly, if you can't imagine your initial impressions might be wrong, there's little hope that anything can change your mind.

  • entropy||

    By the way, the amount of oil in ANWR compared to the rest of the world, is 1%.

    The entire world puts out 100 ANWR's in sum total. Not that many.

  • sarcasmic||

    By the way, the amount of oil in ANWR compared to the rest of the world, is 1%.

    That's known reserves. They're finding new oil all the time. Again, not significant enough to make a noticeable dent in the price of gasoline.

  • entropy||

    OK assertion monkey. I'm content with that. Anyone else reading can judge for themselves.

  • sarcasmic||

    You really need to see numbers to be convinced that opening ANWR wouldn't have a noticeable effect on the price of gas?

    Seriously?

    Is nothing obvious to you?

  • entropy||

    You think obvious is an argument.

    I'll bother to continue with you when you tell me where you were factually inaccurate in your comment @ 1:43PM.

    I've had my fun already, and there's no point in debating with someone who is not intellectually honest.

    If you actually have any ability for analysis at all, rather than just bluster, you should be able to point out where you distorted and misrepresented the facts you cited, and we can pick up from there.

  • sarcasmic||

    I'll bother to continue with you when you tell me where you were factually inaccurate in your comment @ 1:43PM.

    I don't know what you are talking about. They haven't found all the oil. New oil fields are being discovered all the time. If anything, saying ANWR has 1% of the world's reserves is likely inaccurate since no one can say for sure how much oil there is yet to be discovered. No one knows how much more oil will be found between now and when ANWR's oil hits the market.

    One thing is for sure. It won't save me more than thirty cents a tank, and that isn't very significant in my book.

  • entropy||

    There you go. You're not even close.

    This is why you need numbers even if you don't think you do. They keep shit honest.

    Known reserves don't effect price, capacity does. That is your error. It doesn't matter what they find in the ground if they are not taking it out.

    That's known reserves.

    BZZZT! That's a misrepresentation of an absolute fact. It's totally wrong. ANWR is not 1% of known reserves. It's not even close to that.

    If it was being extracted it would be 1% of global capacity. That is not the same thing. That amount of oil coming out of ANWR would in fact be about 1% of total global production.

    Care to re-evaluate?

  • sarcasmic||

    Care to re-evaluate?

    Nope. I stand by the obvious and self evident fact that opening ANWR would not make the noticeable dent in the price of gasoline that the "Drill, baby drill!" people would like us to believe.

    Now if oil was not fungible (economics) and if domestic drilling could increase supply by a significant amount (math), then I would agree with them.

    However basic economics and math (yes, even without numbers!) is enough to convince me that they are wrong.

  • entropy||

    Well there you have it. You know too much to be dissuaded by facts.

  • entropy||

    As a side note, I find it very sad that you think words constitute math and/or economics.

  • sarcasmic||

    You know too much to be dissuaded by facts.

    What facts exactly did you have that showed opening ANWR would have a noticeable effect on the price of gas?

    I didn't see any.

    As a side note, I find it very sad that you think words constitute math and/or economics.

    I find it very sad that you cannot think abstractly.

  • Randian||

    You honestly think that would make a noticeable dent in the price at the pump?

    Point of order: you didn't say 'noticeable' the first time.

    Same could be said of the "Drill, baby, drill!" crowd who think opening up ANWR will lower prices at the pump.

    A $.01 drop is still a 'lower price', even if it isn't 'noticeable'

  • sarcasmic||

    Pedants are pedantic.

  • entropy||

    Assertions are assertive.

  • DaveAnthony||

    REPEAT AFTER ME! FUN-GI-BLE.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I was just thinking that we need one of those old cartoon segments (e.g., "I'm Just a Bill") to explain fungibility.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Could be Otto the Oil Barrel singing "I'm Fungible"?

  • John C. Randolph||

    I wonder if these greentards would have any remorse if they stopped the pipeline, and that oil went into tankers, one of which then gets caught on a reef and has an Exxon Valdez-scale spill?

    Stopping the pipeline isn't going to stop the production of a profitable, globally fungible commodity.

    -jcr

  • Drake||

    That would just prove their point (in their little minds).

  • Drake||

    I trust that the Greens will all be riding their bicycles, horses, sailboats, or walking to DC for the protest.

  • RightNut||

    Probably buses, well the leaders of the sierra club jet around the country.

  • Rights-Minimalist Autocrat||

    Does a horse actually produce less CO2 per mile than a car? Keeping in mind the CO2 burned to produce the feed for the horse.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Don't forget the CO2 admitted by the horse passing gas....

  • Not an Economist||

    I believe that is a more powerful greenhouse gas called methane.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    damnit.

  • entropy||

  • entropy||

    Stupid elipses. Link is to a blog entry about "The Great Horse Manure Crisis of 1894".

    Reliance upon equine transportation produced unpleasant consequences in respect: urine, flies, congestion, carcasses, and traffic accidents. The main problem, however, was manure. A horse produces between 7 and 15 kilos of manure daily. In New York in 1900, the population of 100,000 horses produced nearly 1,200 metric tons of horse manure per day, which all had to be swept up and disposed of. In addition, each horse produces nearly a litre of urine per day, which also ended up on the streets.

  • Killazontherun||

    I just hope that in their enthusiastic protester vigilance one of them decides to throw a bucket of blood on the gas guzzling sports car of a local rapper out on his morning cruise to Starbucks.

  • Drake||

    How about the gas-guzzling 10-ton Caddy Obama rides around in?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    I don't know if making an ass out of yourself helps convince people not already onboard.

  • Killazontherun||

    It doesn't. Peaceful protest are useless. As glorified as the 60's were, the civil rights movements merely reflected a momentum shift that had already occurred in public opinion and the Vietnam War did not end one day sooner.

  • Killazontherun||

    Peaceful protest are useless.*

    *Stonewall wasn't peaceful.

  • JW||

    I had this discussion some years back with one of the anti-warBush protesters who thought blocking the DC streets was a good idea.

    "How does making my commute just that more difficult and acting like petulant children win you converts?"

  • Hugh Akston||

    1) Good for them for disobeying idiotic laws about failure to respect authoritah, even if the reason for doing it is kinda stupid.

    2) The Largest Climate Rally in History will attract 5-6k people, tops.

  • DanD||

    I went from being a believer in anthropogenic global climate change to being comfortably agnostic. Climate is a complex chaotic system, and to suggest that one factor (greenhouse gases) is a dominant driver of said system--without providing any sort of evidence via a controlled experiment--is just not enough to convince me. Correlation is necessary, but not sufficient for, causation.

    Couple that with the obvious financial conflicts-of-interest and horrible scientific practices of the hypothesis's advocates, and it all just comes across like a pseudoscience boondoggle.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    I dont give a damn if you believe in it or not. Just get your grimy hands off my car.

  • DanD||

    I ride my bike to work every day, and the only two times I've ever thought I was going to die via collision with a car, the car in question was a Prius. Maybe the drivers were jealous of my superior eco-prowess?

    "I'm not trying to show off! It's just cheaper for me to ride a bike! Don't kill me!"

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Don't get me wrong, instead of the false cult-like allegiance by AGWers to Mother Gaia, us conservationists pay attention to real problems like air and water pollution.

    Unlike Europe, our roads were paved without the extra foot necessary to cycle.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Unlike Europe, our roads were paved without the extra foot necessary to cycle.

    Have you ever actually been to Europe? Or the US, for that matter?

    If so, unless you were blindfolded, I don't see how you could think the above is true.

  • DanD||

    I agree with Tulpa here. In general I feel far safer biking on American roads than European roads.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It's a generalization of course. Here in Pgh we have mostly Europey roads due to the congested terrain. Of course, American drivers are far more likely to follow the rules of the road than those in Europe.

  • ||

    Here in Prague we got narrow streets, cobblestones, crazy drivers, crazy tram drivers, and tons of hills.

    I did bike to work for a while though, I was able to go through a Park for a large part of the way.

    See a lot of room for bikes there?
    http://www.globevision.net/pho.....rague.html

  • sarcasmic||

    American drivers are far more likely to follow the rules of the road than those in Europe.

    European governments haven't yet discovered how to use traffic laws as a revenue source and an excuse to harass and intimidate the general public. They actually treat drivers like adults instead of children in need of constant supervision.

  • ||

    Depends where you live, I suppose. In my experience the problem is that it's a revenue source but it's not very well correlated to how one actually drives. So you have to worry about getting pulled over for a frivolous reason but also people drive in an extremely childish and dangerous because of the rule-of-law disconnect. It seems much better in places like Germany.

  • sarcasmic||

    It seems much better in places like Germany.

    Do you know what it takes to get a license to drive in Germany? Lots of hoops and money. They have an incentive to not drive like morons.

  • ||

    But it also must depend on getting pulled over for driving in a reckless manner, and not being able to bribe your way out of it.

    It's theoretically the same here, but in practice there's little correlation between losing you license and driving dangerously. People respond to incentives as some economist once said.

  • LTC(ret) John||

    Yeah, that driving test was actually difficult. And the Germans are worse than any US jurisdiction when it comes to parking tickets.

  • ||

    Germans are some rule oriented fuckers. My wife was driving in Germany and pulled over to look at her map. Some guy came up, reached in her car and turned off the ignition. He then wagged a finger at her saying, "verboten." They apparently have an environmental law against idling cars.

  • JW||

    What's German for "fuck off, shitbag?"

  • np||

    Yep, same in Austria too. I presume this is where the idea of the start/stop ignition system some cars and practically all Germans cars have, came from.

  • ||

    Yeah, that driving test was actually difficult. And the Germans are worse than any US jurisdiction when it comes to parking tickets.

    There is something to be said for high driving standards. I felt super safe on the road in GER when I was there (lived there 3 mos.)

    UKR, it's pretty insane on the road outside of cities. (Do not get pulled over while DUI here. Just. Don't. I haven't and have no intention of doing so.)

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    It seems much better in places like Germany.

    I would speculate as to why but that's horribly ethnicist.

  • ||

    I would speculate as to why but that's horribly ethnicist.

    Slavs lack a law and order gene?

  • DanD||

    Right, conservationists are clearly far more rational and effective stewards of natural resources than eco-zealots. It's especially telling how they use their own money and time to protect the environment, rather than trying to use the force of government to force other people to obey prescribed priorities.

  • Randian||

    Unlike Europe, our roads were paved without the extra foot necessary to cycle.

    I see you've been called out already, but this is a bunch of crap. Many European roads are narrow, harrowing little things, many of which barely have room to walk, let alone bike.

  • ||

    And I see all you folks have dashed this claim to pieces. Well done.

    Roads in UKR (in cities, anyway) are generally narrow and terrible.

  • ||

    without providing any sort of evidence via a controlled experiment

    Controlled experiments are great, when possible, but they don't define science. Geology and evolutionary biology, for example, don't have lab controls. Instead, there's a continuous process of collecting data, refining theories, collecting more data, further refining, and so on.

    Correlation is necessary, but not sufficient for, causation.

    Very true. Unfortunately, we have both. (And nothing else to explain the warming, either.)

  • ||

    And nothing else to explain the warming, either.

    And no one is looking, because the science is settled.

  • DanD||

    (And nothing else to explain the warming, either.)

    That is completely wrong. Natural variation is a more plausible explanation, given the overwhelming evidence that the planet has gone through much greater extremes in temperature long before man-made emissions. There is still a tremendous amount of debate about what exactly plunged the planet into the various Ice Ages, and what brought it out of them. And that debate is wonderful. Curious inquiry instead of arrogant proclaimed omniscience is far more productive and conducive to discovery.

  • Adam330||

    Wait, what's the evidence for causation? I've missed that.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    Yep. The Sierra Club was for Natural Gas before they were against it.

    The same hypocrisy translates here. The most dangerous and expensive part of oil production is transportation. The Sierra Club would apparently rather have mega ton tankers transporting the oil than a relatively safe pipeline. Ever heard of "reefs" and the "valdez"? I know they say they would rather have "no oil", but remember, this is the left. They thrive off disasters. In order for more disasters to occur, they must make everything unnecessarily dangerous. The left makes Schools "gun free" zones. The left thrives off school shootings. The left makes it even more unnecessarily dangerous for oil companies to operate. The left thrives off a disaster like an oil slick.

    The propagate:thrive can be applied to almost everything leftist groups do.

  • ||

    The Sierra Club? The same organization that sends the most paper-heavy mailers I get, and I get a lot from all sorts of organizations. There's is by far the most wasteful. They need to get serious at home before anyone should take them serious when they want other people to change.

  • ||

    I give odds 80-20 that Obama nixes Keystone XL again.

    (A) He's not up for reelection again.
    (B) He's named climate change as one of the major goals for his next terms
    (C) He's public stated he'll use executive orders ot accomplish it

    Sure, many people in how own party will bitch and moan. Just as they will do with respect to gun control. His answer? We won. Or, fuck you, that's why.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Those odds are too low. I don't see any way he approves it. He's in full legacy mode now. He certainly doesn't care about what's best for America, and the only interest group on his side that will complain are a few union interests, which can easily be bought off in other ways. If the Congressional GOP had more balls, they would refuse to pass anything he wants until he approves Keystone or gives a valid reason for disapproving. But that's extremely risky as the media would be pushing the "Republican obstruction" line 24/7 while not mentioning Keystone.

    Oh.... I almost forgot

    ROMNEY WOULD HAVE DONE IT TOO!!!!!!

  • ||

    Before the inauguration speech, I'd have bet the house that he was just putting off an unpopular decision till after the election. Now, I've changed my mind. He may be only worried about his legacy now, but the funny thing is, he's going to be remembered as the man who single-handedly destroyed our economy.

    We'll see how much the left cares about the environment when they are standing in bread lines.

  • R C Dean||

    You left one out, Hazel:

    (D) Warren Buffet makes a nice piece of change off of rail transport of oil so long as Keystone isn't open.

    Never overlook the crony capitalist payoff. There's always one in there somewhere.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    That's kind of a chicken and egg thing. Buffet strikes me as more of a shameless opportunist (who happens to have a saintly image) than a crony capitalist.

  • ||

    You should brush up on Iron Law:

    Money and power always find each other

  • juris imprudent||

    His answer? We I won.

    FIFY

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Ironic that the protest where lawbreaking is authorized to prevent catastrophically high temperatures is occurring on one of the coldest days of the year.

    yes, I know weather isn't climate. But still it's ironic.

  • SaltySeaCaptain(LAOL)||

    What does the PA in your username stand for?

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    piss away

  • Number 2||

    And no doubt if supporters of Keystone XL engaged in "civil disobedience" to further their cause, it would be cited as political extremism and domestic terrorism.

  • Benjamin||

    My God I hope this gets violent.

    Anyway, whatever effect keystone would have on oil prices is negligible compared to the local economic effect. I think that's the main point, that this administration will intervene in ways that affect the economy negatively while providing no environmental/climate benefits (or possibly even inflicting environmental damage). Got to Lolz at that.

  • Russell||

    Semantic agression starts with bending words to fit agendas.

    The Alberta Tar Sands have been on the geological map as such for a century , because what theey contain is tar, as in hot tar and feathers, as in pitch, as in bitumen- a soild that needs melting to make it flow .

    As Ron knows , his polycyclic goo is former petroleum turned into a far cheesier product by tens of millions of years of oxidation and low temperature metamorphosis.

    Given its coal-like dearth of hydrogen and high carbon content their is no scientific justification for the campaign to re-label it as Honorary Oil, so I hope Ron will read the P-R handout from those pitching this pitch more skeptically in the future.

  • entropy||

    Semantic agression starts with bending words to fit agendas.

    About tar and coal? You were drinking a soy latte when you typed that, weren't you?

  • R C Dean||

    So it has to be industrially converted from tar to oil. So what?

    Doesn't change the fact that blocking Keystone won't change the rate of production or use of that resource, and thus is environmentally null.

  • Russell||

    No- the hydrogen togarbon ratio is radically worse than that of ordinary crude, and the process produces a phenomenal amount pf pitch coke - almost pure carbon which is burnt as power plant fuel displacing higher hydrogen bitumenous coal- it's aclose-lose situation on overall radiative forcing .

  • ||

    Whether or not tar sands oil is dirtier than regular oil has no bearing on whether the Keystone XL pipeline is dangerous to a Nebraskan aquifer.

  • Russell||

    Sorry for the typos in the above.

  • ||

    Sierra Club is on my list of organizations that I feel exist simply to rake in tax-free money. Step 1) pick an issue; step 2) aggressively raise money from nitwits who are so blinded by fervor that they don't care what you do with their donations; step 3) profit!!

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    Yep. Them, "nonprofit" universities, and CoS are the reason I support ending tax exemption for nonprofits.

  • Tulpa (LAOL-PA)||

    And how can I forget SPLC.

  • ||

    But realistically that's about as likely to happen as a repeal of the Commerce Clause.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Speaking of that, Randy Barnett has proposed a slate of amendments for trying to restore the Constitution's limits on government.

  • ||

    All I can say is that these hopeless causes will require lots of python hamburgers to fuel them.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I agree completely. In fact, if a Constitutional Convention were to happen (though Barnett suspects it would not), I'd recommend that the event be catered by Mountie Python® and that everyone be clothed in python skin, from head to foot.

  • nicole||

    If by CoS you mean Church of Scientology, I don't know if ending tax exemption for nonprofits actually helps. Seems churches might still get out of it on 1A grounds, just like they get out of zoning requirements.

  • R C Dean||

    For the life of me, I can't figure out how giving churches special treatment of any kind doesn't violate the Establishment Clause.

  • Pro Libertate||

    The logic is based on the taxes-can-destroy argument, I suppose.

  • nicole||

    Neither can I, but I know that's how the law works or whatever. As far as I'm concerned, if a government agency decides what is a religion and what's not, that's establishment.

  • Killazontherun||

    It has to be a scam by capitalist fascist who have an incentive to make more scratch from exploiting the social fission. It is not possible for a leftist to answer #2 with anything but a question mark.

  • Sevo||

    Ya know, I really don't care.
    That oil is going to be burned regardless of whether the SC whackos stand on their heads and spit nickles. You can pipe it to US refineries or you can ship it somewhere else, but it *will* become fuel and *will* get burned.
    So fuck the SC weenies.

  • A Mathematician||

    Why not build a refinery on the US-Canada border? Probably cheaper than building a pipeline through all those states.

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