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The president declared in June that Keystone XL’s approval will be predicated on whether it “will significantly exacerbate the problem of carbon pollution.” Setting aside the fact that carbon is not a pollutant, any metric applied to assessing the oil sands’ carbon footprint would suggest approval is forthcoming.

The Energy Information Administration projects that Canada’s oil output in 2014 will exceed 4 million barrels per day. At OPEC’s recent meeting in Geneva, Iran and Iraq declared their intention to each produce 4 million barrels per day in 2014.

While this is unlikely, Mr. Obama’s diplomatic resources appear devoted to helping Iran and Iraq do so while ensuring that supplies from Canada will decline or maybe disappear altogether. Between friends, what’s 4 million? More to the point, which nation is a friend?

Robert Skinner is executive fellow in the School of Public Policy at the University of Calgary.