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Ten widely cited climate scientists say the State Department’s review of the proposed Keystone XL pipeline should include a “serious” evaluation of how enabling Canadian oil sands development will affect the planet’s climate.

Their new letter is part of an effort by anti-Keystone activists to keep pressure on the Obama administration, which last year delayed a decision on TransCanada Corp’s proposed Alberta-to-Texas pipeline until 2013.

The July 17 letter alleges that the scope of State’s current review plan is inadequate.

“The vast volumes of carbon in the tar sands ensure that they will play an important role in whether or not climate change gets out of hand; understanding the role this largescale new pipeline will play in that process is clearly crucial,” states the letter from scientists including Ken Caldeira of the Carnegie Institution, James Hansen of NASA and Columbia University, Penn State University’s Michael Mann and others.

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