Before he was taken into custody today, Hansen took a megaphone and implored Obama to act "for the sake of your children and grandchildren."
"If Obama chooses the dirty needle it will confirm that the president was just green-washing all along," Hansen, 70, who took a vacation day from his job at the New York based institute to participate in the protest, said in an e-mailed statement.
PBS aired a tar sands/pipeline debate between environmentalist Bill McKibben and Robert Bryce, senior fellow of the Manhattan Institute. McKibben organized the protests at which Hansen was arrested. Bryce made the case in favour of the Tar Sands in a very direct fashion.
this tar sands in Alberta is a big deal. It's the second largest pool of carbon on Earth, after the oil fields of Saudi Arabia. Jim Hansen of NASA, who was arrested today, really the world's foremost climate scientist, said -- as he was speaking this morning, said, if we go ahead and begin tapping these unconventional energy sources, of which the tar sands are the biggest example, it is -- and here I quote - "essentially game over for the climate."
Since, for once, Obama can stop a project without having Congress in the way, this has become the focal point. And these arrests have -- actually now over 500 people. The numbers are just growing and growing day after day.
I appreciate Bill McKibben passion on the issue. I understand his position. But my position is very simple. I'm for cheap, abundant, reliable energy, particularly now in the U.S., when we have over 45 million Americans on food stamps, we have more than nine million unemployed. The actually unemployed or underemployed is probably twice that number.
We need cheap, abundant, reliable energy. And this project will in particular provide abundant and reliable energy. The tar -- the oil sands in Canada have over 100 billion barrels of oil in them. And we need it no, given -- particularly because we want North American energy production.
Of course what Bryce leaves out is "cheap for whom?" Cheap for the end users, the American consumer, but devastatingly costly for the masses, mainly in the Third World, enduring the scourge of climate change. Bryce and those who think like him put a price on those lives ruined and lost - and it's "cheap."