Of the 521 arrested this week in protest over a proposed oil line from Canada into the US, perhaps the most acclaimed activist was put behind bars this morning: NASA veteran and world famous climatologist Dr. James Hansen.
Dr. Hansen has been with NASA for over four decades, but that didn’t keep him from being detained by DC’s finest in a Monday morning protest outside of the White House. Hansen and 139 others were arrested today for protesting a pipeline that, at a price of $7 billion, would pump around 500,000 barrels of crude each day out of the Great White North all the way to the Gulf coast of Mexico.
Also arrested today were Greenpeace Executive Director Phil Radford, president of CREDO Mobile Michael Kieschnick, 350.org Executive Director May Boeve over 100 more. Planned protests occurring since last Saturday, August 21, have already caused for over 500 arrests.
Hansen and colleagues were protesting against the placement of the 1,700 mile pipeline, which has become a hot issue of environmentalists as of late. He argues that not only would the construction of the pipeline be detrimental to the environment, the oil coming out of Canada would simply be not worth it. Tar sand in Canada requires more separation to refine, demanding a higher energy input that thus creates up to 4 times more greenhouse gas emissions that normal oil production.
"If Obama chooses the dirty needle it will confirm that the President was just green-washing all along, like the other well-oiled coal-fired politicians, with no real intention of solving the addiction," Hansen said, reports Raw Story.
While the US hasn’t formally signed onto the project, State Department officials noted last week that a failure for America to sign on will allow Canada to still profit off of the product by moving the oil abroad. So far China has shown interest in inking a deal with Canadians over the crude.
Hansen currently runs NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and is known world-wide as one of the premiere climate scientists. He has written extensively on the subject before and has been arrested in the past for protesting.
Before the demonstration went underway on Monday, Hansen told reporters that “We have a planetary emergency” and said that up to 40 percent of species on Earth will be extinct by 2100 if humans continue to burn fossil fuels at their current rate. “We’ll have to move to clean energy at some point so we may as well do it before we burn all the fossil fuels and ruin the future of our children,” said Hansen.