Nature advocates for approval of the pipeline, in order “to break out of the mould and lay the foundation for something larger”:
[T]he pipeline is not going to determine whether the Canadian tar sands are developed or not. Only a broader — and much more important — shift in energy policy will do that. Nor is oil produced from the Canadian tar sands as dirty from a climate perspective as many believe … By approving Keystone, Obama can bolster his credibility within industry and among conservatives. The president can also take advantage of rising domestic oil and gas production to defuse concerns over energy security. … But all will be for naught unless the president can build on these trends and somehow reset the climate discussion.
David Roberts counters, stressing the difference between wonks and activists:
Economists and Very Serious People keep telling the movement that it can’t stop the tar sands entirely. The only sensible response is, “F*ck you. Watch me.” … As I’ve said many times, wonk logic and activist logic are different. A wonk ranks fossil fuel projects by tons of carbon per unit of energy. An activist looks for opportunities to break through the news cycle, to force confrontation, to create a symbol, to build a movement. Neither logic trumps the other.