How environmental activists turned a pipeline into a climate movement

by Naureen Khan,  AlJazeera

In the summer of 2011, James Hansen, then the director of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, raised the alarm about an obscure oil pipeline project that appeared to be on track for approval, just as hundreds of others like it had been approved in prior years. 

The 1,179-mile proposed pipeline would transport crude oil extracted from Canada’s tar sands — a particularly intensive process that produces 17 percent more emissions than conventional extraction — to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

“The U.S. Department of State seems likely to approve a huge pipeline to carry tar sands oil (about 830,000 barrels per day) to Texas refineries unless sufficient objections are raised,” Hansen, one of the world’s foremost climate scientists, wrote in an essay titled “Silence Is Deadly.” “An overwhelming objection is that exploitation of tar sands would make it implausible to stabilize climate and avoid disastrous global climate impacts.” He argued constructing the pipeline and the subsequent development of the oil sands in Canada that it would enable would essentially be game over for the world’s climate.  Read the entire story.

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