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Updated: Greenpeace Climbers Arrested for Climate Change Protest at Mount Rushmore National Memorial


Greenpeace protesters unfurled a huge banner on Mount Rushmore to protest climate change and U.S. policy. Greenpeace photo.

Eleven Greenpeace members were arrested Wednesday for mounting a protest on the granite presidential faces of Mount Rushmore National Memorial to urge President Obama to "show real leadership on global warming."

Park staff were alerted by security systems at 10:11 a.m., local time that a number of individuals had breached a controlled area and accessed the top of the monument. While the climbers were able to unfurl a 65-foot-by-35-foot banner next to Abraham Lincoln's face, they were arrested shortly thereafter and taken to Rapid City, South Dakota, and jailed. Possible charges range from trespass to destruction of government property.

Park workers planned to assess the monument for any damage and were to remove the banner as soon as they could safely do so.

National Park Service officials would not say how the 11 managed to evade Mount Rushmore's security systems, reach the top of the monument, and rappel down its face, nor would they describe what security measures are employed at Mount Rushmore.

The banner draped across the front of the monument featured an unfinished portrait of President Obama with the message, "America honors leaders not politicians: Stop Global Warming."

The demonstration comes as President Obama met with other G8 leaders in L'Aquila, Italy, on Wednesday to discuss the global warming crisis in the lead-up to UN climate treaty negotiations in Copenhagen this December.

"This monument celebrates leaders who rose to the great challenges of our past. Global warming is the greatest crisis humankind has ever faced and it is the defining test of leadership for this generation. It's an open question whether President Obama will pass that test," said Greenpeace USA Deputy Campaigns Director Carroll Muffett.

According to a Greenpeace release the activists were trained in rock and industrial climbing and took special care not to damage the monument, using existing anchors placed by the National Park Service for periodic cleanings.

The demonstration followed a series of protests in Italy earlier Wednesday where other Greenpeace activists hung banners on coal plant smokestacks calling attention to the collective failure of leadership on global warming at the G8.

"We're at a moment in history where President Obama must show real leadership on global warming, not only for Congress and the American people, but for the world. Unfortunately, the steps taken to address the crisis so far have been grossly inadequate," said Muffett. "While President Obama's speeches on global warming have been inspiring, we've seen a growing gap between the president's words and his actions."

According to Greenpeace, "the best science shows that to avoid catastrophic global warming, governments must take action to keep global temperature rise as far below 2 degrees Celsius as possible.

"Given President Obama's pledge to follow the science, it's troubling that his administration has not yet endorsed emission targets strong enough to keep us below that critical threshold," the activist group said.

Furthermore, the group, said, the experience earlier this year "with climate legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives, which was drastically weakened by lobbyists for the oil and coal industries and other big polluters, showed that unless the president provides strong leadership on this issue, special interests will win out over the common interest."

"Doing what it takes to solve global warming demands real political courage," Muffett added. "If President Obama intends to earn a place among this country's true leaders, he needs to show that courage, and base his actions on the scientific reality rather than political convenience."

Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to use every tool at his disposal, both within and outside Congress, to strengthen U.S. climate policy with scientific integrity, and to take that policy to Copenhagen in December as evidence the U.S. will do what it takes to solve the climate crisis.

Specifically, Greenpeace is calling on President Obama to:

* Strive to keep global temperatures as far below a 2 degrees Celsius increase as possible, compared to pre-industrial levels to avert catastrophic climate change;

* Set a goal of peaking global emissions by 2015 and be as close to zero as possible by 2050, compared to 1990 levels;

* Cut emissions in the U.S. by 25-40 percent by 2020, compared to 1990 levels;

* Join and encourage other members of the G8 to establish a funding mechanism that provides $106 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries adapt to global warming impacts that are now unavoidable and halt tropical deforestation.

Greenpeace is also calling on President Obama to attend the Copenhagen conference personally to ensure a strong, science-based agreement is reached.


Beamis, while I appreciate the elevated stature you've given me -- "Even Kurt Repanshek is on board..." -- I think you've taken my declaration just a tad out of context. That context, if you read my entire comment, does contain a dose or two of sarcasm. That said, yes, I'm fairly comfortable with the IPCC's conclusions given the global scrutiny they receive.

People looking for attention do stupid things sometimes. And by the way, has anyone actually "proved" that there is man made global warming besides the guy that invented the internet?

And by the way, has anyone actually "proved" that there is man made global warming besides the guy that invented the internet?

I'd say that most readers of this site would view a global warming "non-believer" as a sort of modern day Philistine. Man-made (oh, I mean non-gender specific "human created") climate change is just one of the many new quasi-religious doctrines of the post-modern era that sit at the right hand of the politically correct Gods, along with worship of the nation-state and the infallibility of mob ruled democracy. The mere questioning of these doctrines is an invitation to ridicule and worse.

Doctrines indeed. The global warming cult almost rivals the geocentric views held by the holy Church during the Dark Ages. Galileo was punished. Are global warming skeptics next?

Since Kurt is "fairly comfortable with the IPCC's conclusions", logically, he must denounce the cap and trade bill because the IPCC determined it is likely that nothing we do now can stop or even slow future warming.

Cap and trade is a production tax, one we can ill afford.

The global warming cult almost rivals the geocentric views held by the holy [Catholic] Church during the Dark Ages. Galileo was punished. Are global warming skeptics next?

Frank, please tell me that I'm confused when I interpret this to mean that you're suggesting that those who disagree with the IPCC will be subjected to the sort of horrors that my church perpetrated during the Middle Ages or that you're comparing those with your belief to Galileo. I'm hoping this is hyperbole on your part...

And I would pose another question: Ignore the idea of human-caused climate change, and the predictions of global doom, then ask yourself: Should we be blowing up the Appalachian mountains in search of cheap coal, a fuel that is cited as a cause of climate change? Can we afford to? Is the stopping of mountaintop removal mining, something that I know all too well, having lived my life among it (the Kingston/TVA ash spill last December was less than a half-hour drive from home), not worth our time and attention?

If cap and trade, and the resulting decrease in carbon-belching, mountain-destroying, filthy coal plants, stops Big Coal from running roughshod over Appalachia, then more power to President Obama. I'll pay through the nose for the safety of my friends and neighbors rather than watch our land blown up and our homes swept away by toxic sludge again.

>>the IPCC determined it is likely that nothing we do now can stop or even slow future warming.<<

Frank, got a source for that? Here's what I found on the IPCC site:

Renewable energy resources can play a key role in meeting the growing energy demand while reducing greenhouse gas emissions. As shown in the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report, in association with energy-efficiency measures, they can make a substantial contribution to climate change mitigation as early as 2030.The Special Report on “Renewable Energy Sources and Climate Change Mitigation” aims to provide a better understanding and broader information on the mitigation potential of renewable energy sources: technological feasibility, economic potential and market status, economic and environmental costs&benefits, impacts on energy security, co-benefits in achieving sustainable development, opportunities and synergies, options and constraints for integration into the energy supply systems and in the societies. It will also assess resources by region and impacts of climate change on these resources.

That certainly sounds like it's highly likely we can turn things around....if we have the desire;-)

"Frank, please tell me that I'm confused..."

You're confused. Try to find a class on Austrian economics at your community college to help enlighten you. Or better yet, save the money and read Rothbard.

Kurt, a 2007 UN (IPCC) report in 1997 showed, according to the Associated Press, that "[w]orld sea levels will keep rising for more than 1,000 years even if governments manage to slow a projected surge in temperatures this century blamed on greenhouse gases...". I misspoke and retract "global warming" and insert "some of global warming's predicted effects".

The methods you quote from the UN all require heavy-handed central planning, coercion, and is largely one big pipe dream (we are technologically many decades away from replacing fossil fuels). This is feel-good, non-scientific, greenwashed mumbo jumbo.

And finally, IPCC admits that they could be wrong about humans causing global warming. If you are unwilling to admit that humans are not causing global warming, then you are a fundamentalist. And fundamentalists of any stripe pose a significant danger to liberty.

God bless these brave Greenpeace folks.

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