Correction: An earlier version of this commentary incorrectly represented 12 one-thousandths of 1 percent (0.012 percent) as 0.0012. This version has been updated.
Lamar Smith, a Republican, represents Texas’s 21st District in the U.S. House and is chairman of the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology.
Climate change is an issue that needs to be discussed thoughtfully and objectively. Unfortunately, claims that distort the facts hinder the legitimate evaluation of policy options. The rhetoric has driven some policymakers toward costly regulations and policies that will harm hardworking American families and do little to decrease global carbon emissions. The Obama administration’s decision to delay, and possibly deny, the Keystone XL pipeline is a prime example.
The State Department has found that the pipeline will have minimal impact on the surrounding environment and no significant effect on the climate. Recent expert testimony before the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology confirms this finding. In fact, even if the pipeline is approved and is used at maximum capacity, the resulting increase in carbon dioxide emissions would be a mere 12 one-thousandths of 1 percent (0.012 percent). There is scant scientific or environmental justification for refusing to approve the pipeline, a project that the State Department has also found would generate more than 40,000 U.S. jobs.