Most environmentalists say construction of the Keystone XL pipeline would be "game over" for the climate, but former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there's an upside—if President Obama can trade it for a climate deal with Canada.
Bloomberg, in his first official statement on the pipeline, wrote an op-ed suggesting that the contentious oil-sands pipeline can be a major chip in talks with Canada. Used correctly, he said, the pipeline can even result in a deal along the lines of the monumental U.S.-China deal that "far more than offsets the potential impact of the pipeline."
"Here in the U.S., Republicans in Congress could declare economic victory, while Democrats could declare environmental victory," wrote Bloomberg, now a special envoy to the United Nations on cities and climate change. "The president could declare both, while also burnishing his foreign policy legacy and building momentum for the conference in Paris."
As countries prepare for United Nations negotiations this year, Canada is facing international pressure to clean up its reliance on fossil fuels. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has been reticent to address climate change, saying he doesn't want to put the country's robust oil and gas industry at risk for an international deal.