Continuing his recent efforts to reach out to young Americans in non-traditional and innovative ways—including an appearance on Zach Galifianakis’ “Between Two Ferns” and a blog post on Medium—Barack Obama took over the Colbert Report’s “The Word” section on Monday night to address a number of topics. In discussion with Colbert after presenting the segment, he also had some strong words to say about the Keystone XL pipeline.
In the one-on-one with Colbert after his self-deprecating turn presenting “The Decree,” Obama underlined that the Keystone XL pipeline would largely only be good for Canada—possibly only creating a few thousand jobs in the U.S., and only during the initial construction. Afterwards, he noted, it would run Canadian oil through the U.S., not lowering gas prices here—and, of course, the overall effect of the pipeline on the environment would be disastrous.
In his appearance, which is hilarious, the President stated more seriously:
“If we look at this objectively, we’ve got to make sure that it’s not adding to the problem of carbon and climate change, because these young people are going to have to live in a world where we already know temps are going up. And Keystone is a potential contributor of that—we have to examine that, and we have to weigh that against the amount of jobs that it’s actually going to create, which aren’t a lot.”
Obama also noted that the pipeline’s oil would for the most part simply be passing through on its way elsewhere, therefore not helping reduce the price of gas in the States. “It’s good for Canada. It could create a couple of thousand jobs in the initial construction of the pipeline. But we’ve got to measure that against whether or not it is going to contribute to an overall warming of the planet that could be disastrous,” he added.
While Obama’s head and heart are in the right place about Keystone XL, the reality of Stephen Harper’s ruthlessly mercantile approach is that a refusal by the U.S. to allow the pipeline may lead to Harper simply choosing to sell oil directly to China instead.