Today, CFR posted on Facebook a question following a new piece about Keystone XL’s proponents. Below is my opinion.
“The Keystone XL oil pipeline debate is a distraction from things that really matter to the future of U.S. energy and climate policy,” writes CFR’s energy expert Michael A. Levi. Do you agree?
As much as I don’t like blowing things out of proportion, I think what happens to Keystone XL and how it’s handled is significant in terms of how similar issues are dealt with down the road. It’s something people will refer to and point to just because it’s a big name. So even if it doesn’t have significance in terms of actual energy or jobs implications, it does have value. Obviously it does or Levi wouldn’t have written so extensively about it – and I’m glad he has. But there are things missing from the discussion.
As far as there being bigger fish to fry, absolutely. When China is approaching Europe and saying “let’s hold hands to push the US forward”, that’s saying something. The US does not fund it’s R&D of new energy well enough. And while Keystone XL is ‘a hot topic’, there are countless other areas to focus on that would better position the US in dealing with the future of energy.
So I wouldn’t say that Keystone XL isn’t without importance, just that the rest of the context for US energy is left out, and severely neglected – generally reduced to politicized talking points and vague foreign fears. US needs to have an open and honest dialogue and stance about where to go with energy – what its domestic strengths and weaknesses are and what the future of energy will be, and how the US will be a part of it. The focus only one item here or there – Keystone XL, Solyndra, BP Oil- is problematic.
Until the climate of energy discussion in the US moves from making energy discussion a trite add-on to economics or environmental discourse, to a serious national (and even global) matter of importance in and of itself, nothing will change. And the longer nothing changes, the further away from being a leader (and closer to becoming outdated) the US will be.
- CASE STUDY: Keystone XL Pipeline (jesseparent.wordpress.com)
- NEWS: State of The Union 2012 & Energy (KeystoneXL Saga: #4) (jesseparent.wordpress.com)
- NEWS: Keystone XL a distraction? CFR (jesseparent.wordpress.com)