Senate Votes On Keystone XL Pipeline BillMichael Bloomberg, former New York City Mayor, said in a recent op-ed that President Obama should use the Keystone XL pipeline as a bargaining chip in negotiating a broader climate deal with Canada.

Canada is one of the USA’s most important allies and trading partners and most policy frameworks are closely aligned. But Canada is considered to be near the bottom among industrialized countries in making efforts on climate change. And both the US and Canada are under pressure to demonstrate progress on climate change in the lead up to the Paris Climate Conference later this year.

Bloomberg argues that the Keystone XL debate has created diplomatic gridlock in the US relationship with Canada. Instead of continuing to negotiate with the Republicans, the President should turn his attention to the Canadians. The pipeline is more economically important to Canada than the US, and so President Obama could negotiate with Canada for the pipeline approval in exchange for a broader deal on carbon emissions.

A deal of this nature with Canada could allow Republicans in the US Congress an economic victory, while giving Democrats an environmental win. Canada could both get the much desired pipeline, while also showing progress on climate internationally. President Obama would be able to claim important international climate agreements with our two biggest trade partners, Canada and China.

“The Keystone XL pipeline has become a perfect symbol of Washington’s dysfunction. Democrats exaggerate its environmental impact while Republicans exaggerate its economic benefits. In the debate, each side talks past the other, because each cares more about gaining a political advantage than a policy achievement. Yet a path exists for President Barack Obama to transcend these differences and allow both sides to declare victory.” – Michael R. Bloomberg