Tuesday, October 8, 2013

USA Government shutdown may cancel entire Antarctic research season for Americans

It has been heartbreaking realizing that we have a group of Republican Representatives who literally want to destroy the USA government they had sworn themselves to uphold.*  It adds to the growing feeling of hopelessness in the face of global issues that need an adult's objectivity rather than a self-obsessed child's destructive tantrums.

Dogma over thinking and rational problem solving.  
Rejection of learning and compromise.  Disregard for all they don't understand.  Contempt for others.  Those seem to be core principles of the TeaParty faction.  And with this attitude we are supposed to meet the growing challenges we have created for ourselves? 

*{All this over a law that got passed fair and square and that had been cleared by US courts.}

To underscore the Republican disconnect from the real world I'm sharing a few news stories including a complete REPOST of Andrew Freedman's October 1st Government Shutdown Affects Weather, Climate Programs.  First there is 
this NPR story from yesterday:

Even Antarctica Feels Effects Of The Government Shutdown

October 07, 2013  
It looks like even Antarctica isn't far away enough to avoid getting caught up in the government shutdown. 
That's because it's currently springtime there, and scientists who study this remote, rugged continent are poised to take advantage of the few months when there's enough daylight and it's warm enough to work. Advance teams have already started working to get things set up and ready for the researchers, who usually begin heading south right about now. 
But they're hearing that the government's contractor for logistics in Antarctica, Lockheed Martin, will run out of funding for its Antarctic support program in about a week. A decision about whether they will need to start pulling back personnel is expected very soon. 
The fear is that this year's entire research season will effectively be cancelled — that scientists and logistical support workers will be called back home, and only skeleton crews will be left to keep the three U.S. research stations going. ...
{read and listen to the rest of the story at: http://www.npr.org/2013/10/07/230170093/even-antarctica-feels-the-effects-of-the-government-shutdown }
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Here are more stories exploring various aspects of what this Republican shut down of our government means for climate research:
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US shutdown hits Obama's climate agenda as EPA staff are sent home
Officials say government shutdown will disrupt monitoring of air and water quality and delay new rules for penalising polluters 
Suzanne Goldenberg, US environment correspondent 
theguardian.com, Wednesday 2 October  
"About 94% of the employees of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) have been sent on leave of absence as part of the US government shutdown. 
Nearly all of the agency's 16,205 employees across the country, with oversight of air quality, industrial waste, water and sewage treatment plants, have powered down their computers, updated their voicemail, filled in their last timesheets, and left buildings as part of the shutdown. 
Only 1,069 essential staff ... remained on duty... 
EPA officials said the shutdown would disrupt monitoring of air and water quality.
It could also set back the agency's efforts to advance Barack Obama's climate change agenda.
Employees are barred from checking government email, using government-issued cellphones during the furlough, or catching up on any of their work for the duration of the shutdown. ..."
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The Top Five Energy and Climate Related Impacts of the Government Shut Down 
posted by Andrew Holland on October 3, 2013  
"It is strange in Washington right now: traffic is light, DC’s golf courses are closed (as are the Smithsonian Museums and our many parks administered by the National Park Service).
How is this impacting energy? Doesn’t everything flourish without government oversight? 
Not exactly: here’s a list of the top 5 impacts of the shutdown on energy and climate issues. 
1. The Department of the Interior has furloughed over 80% of its staff. Most press accounts have focused on how this has closed America’s National Parks to visitors, but this also means that the processing of permits for drilling of oil and gas on federal lands have been suspended. 
2. Over 95% of staff at the Environmental Protection Agency have been furloughed. Most functions of the EPA’s regulatory and enforcement duties are suspending, including the Clean Air Act and the Clean Water Act enforcement. 
3. The Department of Energy has furloughed about 70% of its employees. Among the many duties that won’t be enacted, the DoE will not approve any further of the 20 permits for LNG exports currently under DoE review. 
4. Advanced Energy Research Projects – Energy (ARPA-E) has been completely shut down. This agency identifies and supports creative and transformational, next-generation energy research. 
5. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has shut-down non-essential functions, that includes research into climate change and its impacts on the United States."
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As shutdown continues, concerns mount over its impact on climate science 
Stephanie Paige Ogburn, E&E reporter 
ClimateWire: Friday, October 4, 2013 
"In the era of the Internet, the government's decision to shut down access to websites and data sets has made research difficult for many weather and climate researchers. 
Take Bruce Vaughn, who runs a climate science lab at the University of Colorado, Boulder. His lab analyzes samples of greenhouse gases collected from around the world by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
But when the shutdown hit Tuesday, he was faced with losing access to the NOAA computers he needs to do his work. ..."
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Government Shutdown: Chilling Effects on Antarctic Research 
By Becky Oskin, Staff Writer   |   October 07, 2013 
"Scientists who risk their lives for Antarctic research fear their entire field season may be canceled because of the ongoing government shutdown. 
The U.S. Antarctic research program relies on government-funded planes, ships and tractors to transport scientists and equipment across the frozen ice and seas. After the Oct. 1 government shutdown, all travel stopped, except for flights to supply people already at McMurdo Station in Antarctica. And the summer research program, originally scheduled to kick off Oct. 3, is on hold until the congressional standoff ends. ..."
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Here is a Repost of Andrew Freedman's informative October 1st article examining some of the rippling impacts of the Republican government shut-down because they refuse to accept that democracy means you don't always get your way.

Government Shutdown Affects Weather, Climate Programs (via Climate Central)
By Andrew Freedman

With the federal government shut down for the first time in 17 years, many of the nation’s weather forecasters remain at work, but longer-term climate research is taking a hit. According to Commerce Department documents…

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