Today's rejection of the proposed Keystone Pipeline by President Obama is, indeed, mostly symbolic. Climate change remains a grave threat even without Keystone, and Keystone itself would not have done much to make matters worse.
But symbolism matters. And in this case the practical benefits of that symbolism -- a cleaner planet -- are positive, even if those effects are small.
In any event it's much more impressive to walk the walk than to talk the talk. Hats off to our President.