Did the President Give a Green Light to the Keystone XL Pipeline?

In his speech today laying out his Climate Action Plan, President Obama took a few minutes to address the Keystone XL pipeline.

The fate of the pipeline is still in the hands of the State Department, where the president said they are stilling mulling it over.

But he said today that he would only approve the pipeline if it did not “significantly exacerbate” carbon dioxide emissions and if the climate impacts of the pipeline were negligible. He said “The net effects of climate impact will be absolutely critical to determining whether this project will go forward. It is relevant.”

This is great to hear.

I testified before the House Subcommittees on Energy and Environment on exactly this topic back in the beginning of May.

Here is how I summarized the pipeline’s impact on the climate:

[I]f the Keystone XL pipeline were to operate at full capacity until the end of this century, it would, worst case, raise the global average surface temperature by about 1/100th of a degree Celsius. So after nearly 100 years of full operation, the Keystone XL’s impact on the climate would be inconsequential and unmeasurable. [emphasis in original]

According to the president’s criteria, that should pretty much guarantee his approval of the pipeline.