Cllimate change action ≠ energy security

Geoff Styles pokes the hole that's begging to be poked in the idea that action on climate change and energy security can be melded into one-and-the-same cause:
There are still cases with strongly divergent energy security and climate change implications, and a new pipeline that will deliver crude extracted from Canadian oil sands is a prime example. The US State Department's approval of this project looks entirely appropriate and sensible, even if it conflicts with the administration's emphasis on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Like it or not--and largely because of past decisions concerning our own off-limits oil resources--Canadian oil sands have become an essential pillar of US energy security.
The Canadian oils sands are the killer example of a climate-unfriendly source of energy security, due to their proximity and abundance, and the decline of other nearby and friendly sources.
The "Alberta Clipper" pipeline of Enbridge, Inc. could eventually bring up to 800,000 barrels per day of Canadian crude oil to refineries in the US Midwest, as oil sands production in Alberta Province continues to grow. This oil would displace imports from the Middle East and West Africa, which absent oil sands are likely to grow, in spite of increasing biofuel production and higher fuel economy standards for new cars. That's because output from Mexico, our other main local supplier, is dropping sharply, while higher production from Brazil may only offset declines in Venezuela, which has grossly mismanaged its oil sector.
Styles also reinforces the point that oil sands are not much dirtier than other kinds of oil:
The main concern cited about oil sands relates to its higher emissions of greenhouse gases, compared to conventional oil production. This is indisputable, though it's important to put those higher emissions into perspective, while also recognizing that technology and an increased Canadian emphasis on these emissions should reduce this disparity over time. The most recent study I've seen on the subject indicates that although the processes for producing useful liquids from Canadian oil sands result in roughly three times the upstream greenhouse gas emissions of the average barrel of US supply, the well-to-wheels lifecycle emissions are only 17% higher than average. In either case, most of the emissions from oil occur when it is burned in vehicles or other end-uses, not during production.
Finally, he points out rightly that our future reliance on oil sands is a direct consequence of policies aimed at preserving the environment (in America):
Greenhouse gas emissions aren't the only environmental impact associated with oil sands, but we lack any reasonable or consistent way to assess the trade-off between the others and the potential impacts--physical or aesthetic--of increasing our own oil production from the significant resources we have placed off-limits to exploitation, including the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the outer continental shelves of California and other states. In effect, American policy makers and consumers have implicitly chosen to ramp up oil output in Alberta to spare other areas of greater concern to American voters.
We have effectively outsourced our environmental impact, but rather than to developing countries, to our neighbor to the north. There is not a clear consensus framework for how these trade-offs should be assessed, but at the very least it is productive that they be recognized.

Overall, the point is that using energy independence to sell climate action is a seemingly attractive but flawed strategy. This is not to say that climate change action wouldn't contribute to other kinds of national security, but beware that if your starting point and stated goal is "weaning the U.S. off of Middle Eastern oil", climate-friendly policies are not necessarily what come out the other end.

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