James Hansen arrested, taken to Anacostia jail

In front of the White House today, NASA climatologist James Hansen got arrested along with 139 other people. They were calling upon President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry oil from Canada’s oil sands down to the refineries of the US Gulf Coast. In particular, he highlighted the fact that burning all that oil would contribute substantially to climate change, which will already occur to a dangerous extent because of human greenhouse gas emissions.

As has been the case for every day since September 21st, those arrested in front of the White House were taken to the Anacostia jail, which is the headquarters of the Park Police. Within a few hours of being arrested, all the protesters were released.

It is a bit dispiriting that a scientist of Hansen’s calibre feels the need to get arrested in protest. You would hope the American political system would be able to incorporate scientific knowledge in a more ordinary way, and that concerns like abrupt or runaway climate change would be incorporated into undertakings like the U.S. State Department’s environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Unfortunately, the American political system continues to ignore the seriousness of climate change and the policies that are necessary to reduce the risk of it becoming a catastrophe. Hopefully, this action will help to alert Barack Obama to what needs to be done, and he will take an important first step by blocking this pipeline.

6 thoughts on “James Hansen arrested, taken to Anacostia jail

  1. .

    Aug 29 Press Release: 
    Largest Day of Arrests Yet at White House Pipeline Protest

    WASHINGTON, DC – America’s top climate scientist and a large group of religious leaders were arrested at the White House this morning with 140 other Americans to push President Obama to deny the permit for a massive new oil pipeline. (1)“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,” said NASA’s Dr. James Hansen, who was arrested at the White House this morning.President Obama must decide whether or not to grant a “presidential permit” for a Canadian company, TransCanada, to begin construction of the Keystone XL, a 1,700 mile pipeline from the Canadian tar sands to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.Earlier this summer, Dr. Hansen and twenty other leading scientists sent a letter to the White House urging the President to prevent the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, writing: “If the pipeline is to be built, you as president have to declare that it is ‘in the national interest.’ As scientists, speaking for ourselves and not for any of our institutions, we can say categorically that it’s not only not in the national interest, it’s also not in the planet’s best interest.”

  2. .

    Politics: NASA Scientist Hansen Arrested At Tar Sands Protest – A Grim Sign of the Times

    AUGUST 31, 2011 | 5:06AM

    In the 1970s, it was a photo of Earth from space taken by Apollo 17 that galvanized the environmental movement. The so-called “Blue Marble” photo showed earth as a lonely sphere adrift in space. To many in the struggling-to-be-born environmental movement, it suggested how fragile and precious our planet really is. 

    This photo of the world’s best known and most outspoken climate scientist, James Hansen of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, handcuffed and hauled off to jail yesterday may not achieve the iconic stature of the Blue Marble photo, but as a symbol of our times, it’s pretty potent.

    Hansen’s arrest was no surprise – in fact, it was deliberate. Hansen was taking part in a civil disobedience action at the White House organized to halt the approval of the Keystone XL pipeline, which will bring dirty oil from the Canadian tar sands down to US refineries in the Gulf. Hansen is just one of more than 500 protesters who have been arrested since the action began on August 20 (it continues through September 3 – you can learn more about it at tarsandsaction.org.

  3. marilyn hunt

    acrylonitrile found in water where drilling was done here caused mammary tumors in rats and is very toxic..it is used in the Halliburton patent for the casing and also in mixes for process..it is also called vinyl cyanide. Do you have information on worker thyroid failure linked to perchlorate exposure? we have a man who worked in Pa on drilling who came home with thyroid failure..he was very healthy when he left. Bayer continues to try to suppress the water study here. please help me. Marilyn Hunt

  4. .

    The White House & Tar Sands” write-up, now posted on my webpage, includes:

    Remarks made in front of the White House on 29 August 2011.

    Notes intended for use in Lafayette Park; instead I made only the above remarks to allow time for religious leaders to speak, but the notes summarize the main points in my briefing at the National Press Club that morning.

    Powerpoints used at National Press Club on 29 August 2011.

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