Obama: Keystone may contribute to ‘disastrous’ climate change

President ObamaBarack Hussein Obama Chelsea Manning tests positive for COVID-19 The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by National Industries for the Blind - Tight security for Capitol rally; Biden agenda slows Obama backs Trudeau in Canadian election MORE told comedian Stephen ColbertStephen Tyrone ColbertFox News dominates prime-time ratings during Afghanistan crisis Colbert confirms he was disinvited from Obama's 60th Colbert: Trump era 'almost like a spell was being cast' on the American people MORE that he is weighing the benefits of the Keystone XL oil pipeline against its potential contribution to “disastrous” climate change.

Obama made the comments Monday night on  “The Colbert Report,” which was taped at George Washington University.


He highlighted many drawbacks of the proposed pipeline to connect Alberta’s oil sands to the Gulf Coast, and dismissed some of its supposed benefits.

“We’ve got to make sure that it’s not adding to the problem of carbon and climate change,” Obama said.

“It could create a couple of thousand potential jobs in the initial construction of the pipeline, but we’ve got to measure that against whether or not it is going to contribute to an overall warming of the planet that could be disastrous.”

The remarks largely reflect what Obama said last summer about how he is evaluating whether to approve the permit for the pipeline to be constructed across the border with Canada.

Then, he said he would approve it only if it does not substantially increase carbon emissions.

Opponents and backers of the pipeline both believe that their position fits with Obama’s stated priorities on climate change, and both groups have research to back up their claims.

“We have to examine that, and we have to weigh that against the amount of jobs that it’s actually going to create, which aren’t a lot,” he said.

Obama has delayed a decision on Keystone for more than six years. The most recent delay came because he wanted his staff to keep an eye on a Nebraska court case challenging the pipeline’s route.

Speaking to Colbert, Obama also repeated a controversial claim he has made before, saying that Keystone would allow Canadian oil to pass “through the United States to be sold on the world market.”

Media fact checkers have taken issue with that assertion, saying that the refined petroleum products would be sold on a global market and not necessarily to any particular countries.