On November 6 Climate Science Watch joined with thousands of other demonstrators at the White House calling on President Obama to block a permit for the proposed Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Climate scientist James Hansen and others spoke at a rally in Lafayette Square before demonstrators formed a human chain around the White House. Days later, Obama, apparently feeling some pressure from people whose support has been too-long taken for granted, decided to delay a decision on the pipeline until after the 2012 election.
Good reporting by Juliet Eilperin in the Washington Post November 11 on the decision to delay a decision on the pipeline permit : Keystone pipeline route in Nebraska to be reassessed. More discussion of the politics of the pipeline permit in a subsequent post.
Jim Hansen framed his remarks in terms of the urgency of dealing with climate disruption by ending our dependence on fossil fuels, and of the need to put a price on carbon emissions. He made clear his concern for the future of the young people who made up the majority of the demonstrators, and warned them that politicians and corporations cannot be trusted to protect their future and must be subjected to effective pressure. The demonstrators were of all ages, but it was good to see so many of the best of the millennial generation using the protest demonstration mode of action creatively and with such positive energy.
Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism, also was among the speakers. "We need to bring the movement demanding economic justice and the movement demanding climate justice together, so that they are one strong movement," she said. This is on the mark in making an essential point: the discourse on social and economic justice and the discourse on climate change and sustainable habitability of the planet, which have for the most part developed in parallel and without much real connectivity, need to be integrated -- both in their analysis of the system and in action to bring the power elite under democratic control.
Following a rally in Lafayette Park across the street from the White House, demonstrators formed a human chain that stretched from 15th Street on the east side to 17th Street on the west side, and from the Ellipse on the south side of the White House to Lafayette Park on the north side -- thus encircling not only the White House but also the Eisenhower Executive Office Building and the Treasury Department. We helped to carry a long pipeline float the full length of the human chain.