There are no environmental solutions, only trade offs! Especially with Keystone XL.

Posted on July 9, 2013 by



If you think Keystone XL is a risk, can you please repeat after me:  Deepwater Horizon (or even Exxon Valdez)?

Bret Stephens has a piece on this today in the WSJ, par excellence.  Extreme environmentalists, for whom environmentalism is their religion, do not understand the inevitability of tradeoffs in the fallen world we live in.  If we just kill the evil Keystone Pipeline, we will save the world!  Of course in the supreme irony, their attacks against market outcomes WILL lead to higher levels of carbon emission.  In the Keystone Pipeline case, Canada will simply build a longer pipeline (more carbon emissions) to the West Coast, to send the oil by ship to China (more carbon emissions).  But even if they could totally kill it (which will NEVER happen due to Canada’s long history of supporting mining of all types as a primary industry), then we’d be back to more oil shipped from the middle east   (yes, with big tankers producing more carbon emissions).

As Bret highlights:

When it comes to the question of how best to transport oil, environmentalists tend to act like rabbis being asked for advice on how best to roast a pig: The thing should not be done in the first place. So opposition to Keystone XL becomes an assertion of virtue, indifferent to such lesser considerations as efficiency (or succulence).

But the pig will be roasted. The oil will be pumped. What happens then?


For Bereans, we understand that Utopia is not possible on this world until Christ comes again.  For the fallen world we live in, prudent trade-offs are the order of every decision.  What course of action will lead to the best result with the least harm?  Hoping for no harms (or costs) in this world is a utopian fantasy…

Posted in: Economic Growth