The benefits keep coming! Will Earth survive?! 700 federal scientists forced to miss climate conference junket during government shutdown


By: - Climate DepotJanuary 7, 2019 9:57 AM with 0 comments

Via Associated Press: https://www.apnews.com/bab6ca69ba754fb094b76bf66b500d8f

Associated Press: Hundreds of government scientists are also no longer allowed to attend the conference or two other major scientific gatherings scheduled to begin this week. Those meetings will address pressing issues in the fields of technology, space exploration, extreme weather and climate change.

But the shutdown’s impact on science stretches well beyond the empty chairs at this week’s conferences, said Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society. It means some of the nation’s smartest scientific minds are sitting at home, not doing science, for weeks, with no clear end in sight.

“That’s difficult to recover from,” said Seitter. “We’ll be seeing ripple effects from this for a long time.”

Attendees of the events describe them as crucial opportunities for scientists from the government, the private sector and academia to exchange research and ideas. The gatherings are like three-legged stools, said Kevin Petty, the chief science officer for the private climate company, Vaisala. And this week one of the legs is missing.

“That’s the value of these conferences, it’s the people I run into in the hallway or the coffee line, start up a conversation and realize there’s a connection between what they’re doing and what I’m doing,” said Amanda O’Connor, a satellite imaging expert who is attending a weather conference. “It’s those serendipitous encounters that are lost and really important.”

Some 700 federal employees who planned to attend the American Meteorological Society conference in Phoenix are staying home.

Even Jim Bridenstine, NASA’s new administrator, and the leaders of the National Weather Service are no longer able to attend the weather conference, and the organizers scrambled to replace their presentations.

“If you can’t guarantee that you’re going to be able to pay your employees,” she said, “then it does make you second guess whether that’s where you want to work.”