From: Jeremy Hance, MONGABAY.COM, More from this Affiliate
Published February 19, 2013 09:16 AM

Over 35,000 march on Washington demanding climate action and rejection of Canada's 'carbon bomb'

Yesterday over 35,000 people rallied in Washington D.C. for urgent action on climate change, which, according to organizers, was the largest climate march in U.S. history. Activists called on the Obama Administration to do much more to tackle climate change, including rejecting the Keystone XL Pipeline, which would bring carbon-heavy tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. to a world market.

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"For 25 years our government has basically ignored the climate crisis: now people in large numbers are finally demanding they get to work. We shouldn't have to be here—science should have decided our course long ago. But it takes a movement to stand up to all that money," said Bill McKibben, founder of the climate activist group 350.org, at the rally. McKibben called the tar sands in Alberta, Canada, "one of the largest carbon bombs in history."

There is considerable debate about how much higher carbon emissions are from tar sands oil, but no one doubts that they are larger. Cambridge Energy Research Associates (CERA) estimated the greenhouse gas emissions of the tar sands was 5-15 percent higher than conventional sources, while the International Energy Agency (IEA) found that emissions were 20 percent higher. However, recent research has shown that the destruction of boreal forest and peatlands adds considerable more carbon emissions to the controversial fuel source. In fact, one study estimated that if the entirety of the tar sands were exploited it would raise global temperatures 0.64 degrees Fahrenheit (0.36 degrees Celsius), representing about 45 percent of how much the world has already warmed since the Industrial Revolution.

The rally took place less than a week after U.S. President, Barack Obama, noted in his State of the Union speech that, "For the sake of our children and our future, we must do more to combat climate change."

Since winning re-election last November, Obama has become increasingly outspoken on the need to tackle climate change, including connecting the warming planet to recent disasters, such as drought in the Southwest and Hurricane Sandy last fall. Still, no one knows what the Obama Administration will decide on the Keystone Pipeline. Proponents of the pipeline, which include 52 U.S. Senators, say it will add jobs (though most will be temporary) and bring oil from a friendly neighbor instead of the Middle East.

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