Kerry: Keystone decision shows US commitment to climate action

Kerry: Keystone decision shows US commitment to climate action
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Secretary of State John KerryJohn Forbes KerryA lesson of the Trump, Tlaib, Omar, Netanyahu affair Trump's winning weapon: Time The Memo: O'Rourke looks to hit reset button MORE it touting the rejection of the Keystone XL oil pipeline project as an example of how the United States is focused on combating climate change.

In a speech on climate policy in Norfolk, Va., on Tuesday, Kerry said the world should be moving toward energy production that is “different and far smarter and [more] readily available” than the oil that would have traveled from Canada through the United States in the Keystone pipeline.


Kerry’s State Department conducted the final review into the project, and last week recommended that President Obama deny developers a permit to build the pipeline. Obama did just that on Friday. 

“I know all the arguments. I heard them backwards and forwards for the last year and a half,” Kerry said at Old Dominion University on Tuesday.

“What [Keystone] would do — or would have done — was facilitate the passage into and through our country of one of the dirtiest fuels on the planet.”

Instead, he said, the world should move toward a “low carbon economy,” and he plugged the growth of the renewable energy sector in the United States. 

“The sooner we can move to a lower carbon economy and lead the world in the new technologies to do so, the sooner we will solve this problem in its entirety,” he said of climate change.

Obama rejected the Keystone pipeline on Friday, saying that if the world is to confront climate change, some fossil fuels would need to stay in the ground. The pipeline was subject to presidential approval — and a State Department review — because it would have crossed the international border with Canada. 

Also Tuesday, Kerry pledged to pursue an aggressive international climate deal at a United Nations climate conference next month. 

A deal to cut carbon emissions worldwide “won’t be [a] silver bullet that eliminates the climate change threat,” he said, “but the truth is we won’t eliminate it without an agreement in Paris.”

Kerry reiterated long-held warnings about the impact of climate change on foreign relations and military preparedness. He said he would convene a State Department task force to look into integrating climate change concerns into American foreign policy. 

“We have a responsibility to protect the future of our nation and world,” he said. “That’s our charge. That’s our duty. We have to get it right.”