Will Biden Really Cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline?
Biden’s team has released an agenda for his early days in office. How much of it will he actually go through with?
With Joe Biden set to assume the office of the Presidency on January 20th, his team has released a list of executive actions that he will take on a wide variety of issues ranging from coronavirus to climate change. According to CBS News, “Rescind Keystone XL Pipeline permit” is evidently scheduled for day one. While of course I am glad to see that Biden intends to use the power of the Presidency to rescind the permit for this cross-border pipeline, I and I’m sure many others are hesitant to get excited. While we wait to see what other steps the Biden administration will take in the effort to combat the ever-increasing threat of climate catastrophe, the cynical part of me can’t help but worry the rescinding of the permit and re-joining of the Paris Climate Accord are just an effort to make it appear as though he is taking appropriate action.
Frankly, I will be more than happy to be proven wrong, but I do not trust Joe Biden to go much further beyond these gestures.
Of course the permit should be rescinded and the nation should rejoin the Climate Accord. That said, before these steps have even taken place, I can already hear the left among the Democratic base and groups like Sunrise Movement being told to lessen their critiques when urging the administration to do more. When the left is pressing the Biden administration to enact the policies proposed in the Green New Deal before it’s too late, it seems almost inevitable that loyal liberal voters and corporate democratic lawmakers will eagerly point to these two giant symbols of the climate crisis as their idea of proof that the administration is doing enough.
All that said — while I expect that he probably will at the end of the day — there’s still reason to be skeptical that he’ll even go through with the executive action to rescind the pipeline permit. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has long been in favor of the Pipeline, and I’m sure his own administration will waste no time behind closed doors urging Joe Biden to re-consider. There are also those surrounding Biden within his own inner circle like Cedric Richmond, the newly selected senior advisor to the President, who also happened to take more money from the fossil fuel industry than almost any other Democrat in congress, and will be entrusted with serving as a liaison between climate activists and big business. Can we afford to pretend as though his top donors who got him to the position he’s in today won’t be making a few phone calls, expecting a return on their investment? Even if the pipeline permit is rescinded, how much more will they allow Biden’s administration to accomplish before they expect Richmond to step in?
We are rapidly approaching the point where the planet will not be able to support human life. Greed and incrementalism are quite literally killing us, and could result in human extinction if we continue on this path. There is no middle ground, and the time for nothing more than symbolic gestures has long been over. I genuinely hope that the rescinding of the Keystone XL pipeline and re-entering of the Paris Climate Accord are nothing more than the first steps in necessary bold action, but I will be far from surprised if that isn’t the case.