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The Death of Keystone XL | Environmentalism

1. Keystone XL

Keystone XL is officially pronounced dead. The politics and policies of federal politicians, bowing to the vested interests of radicalized environmentalists, are ruining this country. Our society is structured on balance, and in fact, this natural balance is a good thing. A man has different values and ideals than his neighbour, and one’s perception of the world is different than another. Perhaps nowhere is this observation as clear as it is in the energy sector. Some champion oil and others hate it. Some will preserve a Jack Pine at any cost, others will bulldoze them down to save cost. Together, the two sides jostle and wrestle for advantage and position, usually producing an outcome in the middle that is amiable for most.

But our country has a problem. Socialist ideologues infiltrating parliament and legislature, armed with tactical protestors and interest groups, have swung the pendulum of power into the grip of the environmentalist. And it’s rare, if ever, that an organization, institution, or group, with an abundance of power will not corruptly abuse that power. I have no doubt that unrestrained oil barons would blow holes through mountains if it promoted the most cost-effective route for a pipeline. But what about the environmentalist? Is it not true that they would see men freeze in the dark if it meant they stopped consuming heavy crude? Have they not, through the Harris administration, murdered Keystone XL? Such protestors would destroy our way of life (just listen to what they say on the news) if it encouraged saving a tree or two. But is this a good thing? Is it really a victory that Keystone XL is lost?

2. Price

Suppose we have two lobbyists: The pipeliner and the environmentalist. The pipeliner lobby’s the government to approve a pipeline, and the environmentalist lobby’s the government to deny the pipeline. Who is right? Both people are equal insofar as they are equally human, so how can we decide whether we ought to build the pipeline or not?

We use price.

All price does is signal value. Price is vital (contrary to the fantasy of the socialist) because it allocates goods in a finite world. If something has a relatively steep price, it is valued at a higher position, for whatever reason, than something else with a lower price…Why not put a price on a pipeline?

The most efficient, just, and effective way to incur a ruling regarding the legality of a pipeline is to ask the question, “Does the pipeline increase economic efficiency in the country?” That is to say, does the pipeline generate enough capital that those who benefit from the pipeline (most of us) can compensate those who lose from the pipelines (the environmentalists)? More than that, the compensation must make it so that those who lost are no worse off than they were before. If this is possible, we should build the pipeline; if not, we shouldn’t. In essence, we ask the environmentalist, “How much do you need to be paid [price] to stop complaining and allow the pipeline to built?”

To fully realize the theory, let’s investigate a possible example.

Suppose the construction of a pipeline requires felling 10 trees. Of course, the environmentalist will scream and shout that government must halt the pipeline. The oil baron will argue the opposite. To solve this puzzle, let’s introduce our aid, price. The regulator should ask the environmentalist, “How much does a tree cost?” or, “How much is a tree worth to you?” (Make no mistake about it, you can put a price on trees—look at your local garden centre). If the environmentalist replies “$100,” he could be compensated $1000 ($100 x 10 trees) as a result of building the pipeline, and he’d be no worse off than he was pre-pipeline. Perhaps he could use that $1000 to buy 30 trees, plant them, and leave the habitat with 20 more trees than it had before.

3. Socialism

I like this idea, and I believe it works, but the problem with the environmentalist (who is really just a socialist) is that they don’t believe in price. True, this is not a very pressing concern if they’re simply protesters. Some of them will stand on ceremony and proudly proclaim their stubborn refusal to degenerate and put a price on the physical thing that they love. But I don’t think that ceremony would last long if we confiscated their iPhones, clothes, cars, niche cafés, hair-dye, and rose-tinted glasses (which, by the way, are all produced using oil).

But if the socialist captures an abundance of power, as they have, it’s a different monster entirely.

We like the tool of price because it forms holistically, without the interference of know-it-alls who fashion themselves able to not only discover, but accommodate, the individual demand functions for every citizen of every good. This reality of price—the efficient allocation of finite goods in a fallen world—is constructed from countless millions of factors and is a miracle in and of itself. The socialist, however, doesn’t see it that way. They don’t believe in price, and as such, they don’t recognize negotiation. The only agreement they’ll sign is one without compromise.

Analyzing the explicit cost to the careful and minimal disturbance of land, the price of Keystone XL was not only fair, it was a bargain. It was evident that the benefits of Keystone XL vastly outweighed the expenses. Eliminating a chunk of the price differential between West Texas Intermediate and Western Canadian Select alone due to Keystone XL would have sufficiently compensated those who endured loss due to the pipeline. Instead, our centralized governments, politicians who clearly need to be replaced, decided to use their knowledge of what was best for society [themselves] and allocate scare recourses according to their fallible and foolish wisdom. Thus, a few trees, trees that we could replant, prevailed over the well-being and benefit of countless families—infinitely valuable human beings—across North America.

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