The Oil Industry Has Been Put on Notice

There were two huge developments today, both for the oil industry and the earth's climate. New York’s top lawyer issued a subpoena to Exxon, seeking information on whether the world’s biggest oil explorer deceived the public for almost 40 years about climate change. Hours later, President Obama announced that the U.S. would reject the Keystone pipeline.

The rejection of Keystone is more symbolic than substantive. The pipeline would have added $3.4 billion in economic growth but contributed to climate change by speeding up production of oil-sands crude, which is about 17 percent more carbon-intensive than the conventional barrel. Rejection will neither halt oil-sands production nor damage the broader economy. Perhaps anticipating rejection, TransCanada had asked to postpone the final review earlier this week. 

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