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Burning the Midday Oil

Not one to let physical and economic reality get in the way of a good one-liner, Newt Gingrich recently remarked that the United States could “open up enough oil fields in the next year that the price of oil worldwide would collapse.” But as Sharon Astyk reports on Casaubon’s Book, it can take years to develop such resources. And, as demonstrated by the hurdles that have tripped up the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, getting far-flung crude to the right refineries can be a logistical nightmare. Sharon says that most of the interred oil “won’t be economically viable to extract or move,” and would probably end up in China anyway. Meanwhile, on Class M, new research shows “that the global climate may not be as sensitive to rising atmospheric CO2 levels as everyone has assumed.” In fact, the median rate of temperature increase may be about 20% less. James Hrynyshyn writes, “the lower estimate implies we have one or two more decades than previously thought to play with before hitting the 2 °C mark, which is where most estimates say the bad stuff kicks in.” Also on Class M, James reports that Canada will withdraw from the Kyoto protocol, which despite increased emissions from the U.S. “will meet its modest goals.”

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