An interesting debate is playing out between the NY Times Joe Nocera and Joe Romm and friends. You can read the details here. I would like to add one simple point. When has a boycott succeeded? If Canada doesn't sell us their fossil fuel, will it really sit in the ground and not be consumed? Global GHG emissions would be lower if such natural resources weren't tapped. This is really an issue of transportation costs and economic incidence. If the pipeline had been built connecting Alberta, Canada to U.S consumer destinations, what would have been the gains to trade? In the absence of this pipeline, will this natural resource now be shipped to Asia? At what transportation cost and what are the gains to trade? So, does not building the pipeline have a causal effect on the dirty resource staying in the ground? China smells an arbitrage opportunity here and is stepping in. Have well meaning greens defended their "line in the sand" or have they merely diverted oil that will be consumed anyway? World trade poses a challenge to the boycotters.
For the Kauffman Economic Outlook: A Quarterly Survey of Top Economics Bloggers of 2012, the Kauffman Foundation sent invitations to more than 200 leading economics bloggers as identified in the Palgrave's econolog.net December 2010 rankings about their views of the economy, entrepreneurship, and innovation.
Looking ahead, only 33 percent now anticipate U.S. poverty to increase in the next three years, a significant positive change from previous surveys. Respondents also believe that employment and global output will rise faster than anything else and, surprisingly, some expect a higher marginal tax rate.
When asked to identify policy options to stimulate the economy, top economics bloggers overwhelmingly supported approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, with 77 percent in agreement (25 percent strongly agreeing), and 75 percent favor opening up more domestic areas to oil and gas exploration and drilling. Other preferred policy recommendations included giving states flexibility to set their own minimum wage (67 percent agreeing) and the revenue-neutral adoption of a value added tax (58 percent agreeing). Opinion remained split on raising the top marginal income tax.
I was one of those bloggers who favored the pipeline. I agree with Matt in terms of Keystone climate policy. Until there is a carbon tax or cap-and-trade, climate policy via restrictions on energy supply seems like a waste of time.
Can one favor strong climate policy, all the while supporting projects that product energy? I think so, as long as all of the benefits and costs of the energy project are accurately included in the analysis. In the case of Keystone I'm not sure, but it seems like the potential environmental costs could be efficiently internalized.