by Brian Merchant, Brooklyn, New York on 08.29.11
Photos: Josh Lopez via tarsandsaction on Flickr/CC BY
NASA's Dr. James Hansen, perhaps our nation's preeminent climate scientist, was arrested with over 140 others at the White House today. Scientists, environmentalists, farmers, students, and other concerned citizens were gathered in the nation's capitol to protest the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline that threatens to ruin many pristine habitats and spell certain disaster for the global climate system. Their stirring acts of civil disobedience made for yet another dramatic day in the series of scheduled protests that continue to put pressure on President Barack Obama to cancel the 1,700 pipeline.
524 people have now been arrested protesting the Keystone XL. Here are some photos from the day's protest:
For more information about the event, follow @TarSandsAction on Twitter and check out Tar Sands Action.
More on the Tar Sands Protest
Tar Sands Pipeline Protest Rocks White House (PHOTOS)
162 Tar Sands Pipeline Protesters Have Now Been Arrested
Bill McKibben Talks Tar Sands Pipeline on Olbermann, Democracy ...
James E. Hansen (born March 29, 1941) heads the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies in New York City, a part of the Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. He has held this position since 1981. He is also an adjunct professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at Columbia University.
After graduate school, Hansen continued his work with radiative transfer models, attempting to understand the Venusian atmosphere. Later he applied and refined these models to understand the Earth's atmosphere, in particular, the effects that aerosols and trace gases have on Earth's climate. Hansen's development and use of global climate models has contributed to the further understanding of the Earth's climate.
Hansen is best known for his research in the field of climatology, his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in 1988 that helped raise broad awareness of global warming, and his advocacy of action to limit the impacts of climate change. In recent years, Hansen has become an activist for action to mitigate the effects of climate change, which on several occasions has led to his arrest.
The Keystone Pipeline System is a pipeline system to transport synthetic crude oil from the Athabasca Oil Sands in northeastern Alberta, Canada to refineries in Illinois and Oklahoma, and further to the U.S. Gulf Coast. It consists of the operational "Keystone Pipeline" and proposed Keystone XL (Keystone Expansion) pipeline. Keystone XL has faced lawsuits from oil refineries, criticism from environmentalists and some members of the United States Congress. The U.S. Department of State in 2010 extended the deadline for federal agencies to decide if the pipeline is in the national interest.