James Hansen makes the case against Keystone XL and tar sands extraction

On Monday, The New York Times reported that climate scientist, James Hansen is retiring from NASA to focus his time and energy to slowing the release of greenhouse gases. Mike wrote about his influential role as the face of NASA's climate research.

In an op-ed at The Los Angeles Times today, Hansen lays out the case against the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline:

The perspective of pipeline apologists is contrary to the laws of physics and basic economics, neither of which gives a damn about politics. Here are a few points the State Department ought to reconsider:

Nothing to see here. The draft review suggests the climate impacts of the pipeline are limited because the project will not substantially "induce growth in the rate of extraction in the oil sands." This narrow analysis misses the mark. Researchers now say that the Alberta tar sands contain 360 to 510 billion tons of carbon — more than double that of all oil burned in human history. While only a fraction is considered economically recoverable right now, we humans are genius at finding new and better ways to dig junk out of the ground. Digging begets more digging. Once the big spigot is open, TransCanada will have every incentive to milk the massive tar sands basin for all it is worth.

Read the rest.

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