Washington, D.C. – Bipartisan Policy Center President Jason Grumet made the following statement in response to President Obama’s decision to reject the Keystone XL pipeline:
“The White House batted .500 on combating climate change today.
“The White House took two steps today related to climate change—one that will capture the nation’s attention with little to no actual impact on greenhouse gas emissions, and another that few will notice but could substantially reduce the threat of climate change.
“As the president acknowledged, the Keystone pipeline has occupied an ‘overinflated role’ in our nation’s energy discussion. Unless you believe that the oil will stay in the ground, rejecting the pipeline will have no impact on climate emissions. However, the president’s decision is significant in vindicating the misguided notion that we can accelerate clean energy development by standing against modern infrastructure. Our nation’s climate policy will fail miserably if we reward efforts to obstruct energy supply. It simply won’t work. The answer to climate change lies in reducing energy demand and developing clean alternatives. If the White House wants to unite the nation behind climate action, it must embrace the benefits of energy abundance while working to speed the transition to a low-carbon future. By rejecting the Keystone pipeline, the president has unfortunately reinforced the false choice between abundance and sustainability.
“On the other hand, today’s White House summit on nuclear energy could have significant impact on reducing the risks of climate change. Nuclear power is by far the largest source of zero-carbon energy. Absent a significant increase in nuclear generation, it is hard to construct a scenario that solves for climate change while bringing reliable electricity to billions more people. Nuclear power faces many challenges, but none approach the potential risks or costs associated with climate change. The president should be applauded for acknowledging the significant role nuclear power currently plays in reducing polluting emissions. The nation and the world would benefit greatly from a sustained U.S. effort to develop a new generation of safe, economic, and carbon-free nuclear facilities.”