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Posted at 12:30 PM ET, 04/28/2009

Greenpeace Protest Ties Up Traffic; Not So Green

By Dan Stillman

* Full Forecast: Heat to Retreat | Heat Wave by the Numbers *

By climbing a 140-foot crane and unfurling a large banner around sunrise yesterday, seven Greenpeace protesters made their "Stop Global Warming" message heard loud and clear to 17 environmental leaders from around the world -- and in the process ruined the Monday morning commute for thousands of Washingtonians and (oops!) actually contributed to global warming.

Keep reading for more on Greenpeace's not-so-green protest...

D.C. area rush hours can be rough even when everything goes right -- quiet weather, no major accidents and no major events. Throw an unexpected downtown protest into the mix and you've got yourself a recipe for traffic nightmare, which is exactly what many commuters experienced downtown and in Northern Virginia yesterday morning.

Officials responded to the Greenpeace protest by closing a stretch of 23rd St. between Constitution Ave. and C St., staging rescue squad trucks and other emergency equipment, and eventually arresting the protesters (for unlawful entry to the construction site) after they came down from the crane around 9 a.m.

Traffic responded by backing up all over downtown and onto bridges and major highways heading into D.C. from Northern Virginia.

Carroll Muffett, deputy campaigns director for Greenpeace, seemed quite pleased with the attention attracted by the protest: "We believe our message was heard," Muffett told the Washington Post. Muffett also mentioned, proudly, that government ministers meeting at the State Department to discuss global warming came outside to take pictures of the protest.

I'm guessing the thousands of drivers who were late to work and likely brimming with road rage were not as impressed as Muffett. Messing up someone's Monday morning commute isn't exactly the best way to garner sympathy or support for your cause. Not to mention some of those caught in the gridlock are probably elected officials or decision-makers involved in legislation and other actions related to climate change.

Of course, the traffic mess was probably exactly the kind of attention-getting disruption the protesters were hoping for. It seems that Greenpeace cares more about the publicity gained than it does the inconvenience, frustration and lost work hours suffered by the local community.

I do wonder, though, whether Muffett or others at Greenpeace care that their protest gave thousands of idling and slow-moving vehicles a chance to emit an extra helping of carbon dioxide and other pollutants into the atmosphere?

By Dan Stillman  | April 28, 2009; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  Climate Change, Environment  
Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati   Google Buzz   Previous: Heat Wave By the Numbers
Next: PM Update: Heat and Pollen On the Downswing


Actually the Greenpeace protest isn't that bad an idea!

The problem with this country and our economy is our country's car-crazy society. It's also figuring into the climate-change issue. Not to mention the hassles non-drivers like I have to go through: destruction of trees to widen the Beltway, threats to destroy the W&OD Trail in order to widen I-66 inside the Beltway etc. etc. etc. Meanwhile Metro actually ponders Draconian "service cutbacks" for lack of money, and trolleys destined for D.C. sit idle in the Czech Republic.

It's time we quit catering to the automotive interests and supported mass transit, bicycles, hiking, passenger trains and fuel-efficient vehicles. Let GM and Chrysler go bankrupt if it's necessary, and build more fuel-efficient hybrids while taking all these gas-guzzling pickups, Hummers and SUV's off the road! And let's quit encouraging this car-craziness by tearing up all our green space for yet more concrete and asphalt. You ought to see what's happening around the Beltway out here in Fairfax County. Thousands of trees and valuable wildlife habitat are being cleared out to be replaced by concrete sound barriers. All this will do is enhance the Northern Virginia heat island.

Posted by: Bombo47jea | April 28, 2009 1:19 PM | Report abuse

I'm all for environmental protestors (I'm an environmental attorney) but WOW.


Posted by: anarcho-liberal-tarian | April 28, 2009 2:14 PM | Report abuse

It doesn't top the release of mink by animal rights folks that resulted in lots of farm animals being gobbled up and lots of minks being squished by cars or eaten by other predators.

But close.

Posted by: ah___ | April 28, 2009 2:17 PM | Report abuse

The global-warming impact is a red herring. Traffic-disrupting festivals and protests are a fact of life in Washington. It's the underside of being an important place. If those commuters had been on the Metro they wouldn't have noticed a thing. I usually commute by car myself, but I know better than to whine about the traffic impact of a protest.

Posted by: csdiego | April 28, 2009 2:41 PM | Report abuse

Nothing less disruptive or insensitive to the plight of others could or would be expected of Greenpeace.

These folks have a focused agenda which evolves over time, along with tunnel vision regarding the promotion of that agenda. Many of their supporters have very little tolerance, and no respect for anyone with an opposing view. They thrive on disruption to garner attention.

Since their glorious introductory splash with the "Phyllis Cormack" back in 1971, which was thwarted by the U.S. military, they have never failed to amuse.

Since they are often outside the realm of sanity with their actions, they can always be counted on to alienate and nurture mistrust with many who may otherwise be sympathatic to portions of their agenda.

Greenpeace is a friend to wish on your worst enemies.

Posted by: AugustaJim | April 28, 2009 3:41 PM | Report abuse

Greenpeace and politicians pushing environmental dogmas have already done more damage to the environment and to humanity than many terrorist groups, and they want to do even more!

That is why Czech president Vaclav Klaus says, “environmentalism is the new communism and climate change is a dangerous myth.” And Lord Christopher Monckton says, "The environmental movement has to be outlawed, because their policies have murdered 40 million people, mainly children, with the ban on DDT… They have caused mass starvation and food riots with their nonsensical drive for bio-fuels. The forces of darkness in the environmental movement want create a new dark age in which humanity is pushed back to the Stone Age and without the right to light a fire."

Posted by: AntonioSosa | April 28, 2009 6:22 PM | Report abuse

More and more scientists and thinking people all over the world are realizing that man-made global warming is a hoax that threatens our future and the future of our children. More than 700 international scientists dissent over man-made global warming claims. They are now more than 13 times the number of UN scientists (52) who authored the media-hyped IPCC 2007 Summary for Policymakers.

Additionally, 32,000 American scientists have signed onto a petition that states, "There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate…"

"Progressive" (communist) politicians like Obama seem determined to force us to swallow the man-made global warming scam. We need to defend ourselves from the United Nations and these politicians, who threaten our future and the future of our children. Based on a lie, they have already wasted billions and plan to increase taxes and increase the cost of energy, which will limit development, destroy our economy and enslave us.

If not stopped, the global warming scam will enrich the scammers (Gore and Obama’s Wall Street friends), increase the power of the United Nations and communists like Obama, and multiply poverty and servitude for the rest of us.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | April 28, 2009 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The Greenpeace whackos are being used to push the global warming/Cap and Trade hoax. Cap and Trade “would be the equivalent of an atomic bomb directed at the U.S. economy—all without any scientific justification,” says internationally famed climatologist Dr. S. Fred Singer.

Cap and Trade will increase taxes; increase the cost of energy; force many companies to close; and multiply unemployment, poverty and despair. We must fight the global warming/Cap-and-Trade scam that is threatening our future and the future of our children.

Posted by: AntonioSosa | April 28, 2009 6:29 PM | Report abuse

Bombo, if your idea of an efficient and credible organization is Metro, then I've got beachfront property for sale in Kansas.

Metro's management and operations would make even Marion Barry's look competent.

Posted by: MMCarhelp | April 28, 2009 9:17 PM | Report abuse

it is disappointing because in principle i am "on board" with the greenpeace agenda, but as dan said, "Messing up someone's Monday morning commute isn't exactly the best way to garner sympathy or support for your cause." - to say nothing of the extra co2 they caused to be emitted.

Posted by: walter-in-fallschurch | April 29, 2009 8:16 AM | Report abuse

Where are the snipers to take out these terrorist when you need them.

Posted by: peterp22 | April 30, 2009 7:30 AM | Report abuse

The recent recovery in the arctic sea ice may be the news event of the decade. The predictions that the arctic would be ice free in a few years are now risible.

Posted by: FrederickMichael | April 30, 2009 10:56 AM | Report abuse

Here's an idea:

Instead of blocking traffic, the police could have just waited for the protesters to have their say and come down from the construction crane.

The protesters make their (very valid and needed point), the police (eventually) make their arrest, and (hopefully) the politicians respond by (finally) actually doing something to solve climate change.

It's a win, win, win.

Posted by: AndrewDavies | May 5, 2009 4:17 AM | Report abuse

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