Crucial Climate Data Archive Taken Offline Amid Shutdown
A number of websites for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are currently unavailable for public access due to a "lapse in appropriations" from the ongoing government shutdown, an agency spokesperson told The Hill.
For instance, the website for the National Centers for Environmental Information (NCEI)—a vast and significant archive of historical climate, oceanic, atmospheric and geophysical data—redirects to https://governmentshutdown.noaa.gov/.
The online portal is a publicly available resource and is vital for studies on climate change and other earth sciences.
But the page now states: "NOAA.gov and specific NOAA websites necessary to protect lives and property are operational and will be maintained during this partial closure of the U.S. Government."
"See weather.gov for forecasts and critical weather information," it adds.
Parts of the U.S. Government are closed & this account will not be updated. @NOAA websites & social media necessary… https://t.co/DqJKUmhn1m— NOAA NCEI Climate (@NOAA NCEI Climate)1545836973.0
The NOAA spokesperson was "unable to comment on the number of pages across the agency that are currently redirected" and did not comment on why the sites were pulled entirely instead of allowing archived data to remain online, according to The Hill.
The National Centers for Environmental Information, headquartered in Asheville, North Carolina, hosts "the world's largest climate and weather data archive," according to a NASA blog post.
It holds a trove of environmental information, from Thomas Jefferson's weather observations to near-real time satellite remote sensing data, the post noted.
The NCEI is "the nation's leading authority for environmental information," a National Parks Service (NPS) blog post stated. NPS listed the website as one of the top online tools "to help people identify climate threats and vulnerabilities, as well as reduce their risks from the impacts of climate variability and change."
Screenshot of NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information website before the shutdown
NCEI represents the merger of three former NOAA data centers: the National Climatic Data Center, the National Geophysical Data Center and the National Oceanographic Data Center. The website for each individual center redirects to the shutdown page.
That's not the only way the partial U.S. government shutdown has delayed or disrupted scientific research. Affected agencies such as the National Science Foundation have stopped awarding research grants.
Government scientists—as well as university researchers, nonprofits and private companies that collaborate with the government—have also seen their work jeopardized due to lack of federal funding, the Associated Press reported.
How the #GovernmentShutdown Could Impact the Nation’s Environment https://t.co/7OBrP0EHJQ— EcoWatch (@EcoWatch)1545968651.0
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Fractures Among Young Climate Conservatives<p>While young conservatives have united around the urgency of climate change, they remain divided over how to bring their concerns to the ballot box. Some embrace right-wing <a href="https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/biden-attacks-republican-convention/2020/08/24/434e5b46-e66d-11ea-970a-64c73a1c2392_story.html" target="_blank">attacks</a> painting Biden as a "tool of the left" and find his climate agenda "radical." Others can't find a way to justify voting for Trump, even if it means breaking with their party.</p><p>Patrick Mann from Orange County, California, voted for Trump in 2016. But today, he's leading Aggies for Joe at Texas A&M University and is co-founder of Texas Students for Biden. </p><p>Mann grew up watching wildfires ravage his home state, nearly forcing his family to evacuate in 2017. The GOP is failing to "meet the moment" for climate action, Mann said. He's hoping Biden will deliver on a promise to "<a href="https://www.desmoinesregister.com/story/opinion/columnists/caucus/2020/01/06/joe-biden-democrat-president-iowa-caucus-restore-soul-our-nation/2806422001/" target="_blank">restore the soul of our nation</a>." </p><p>Taylor Walker from Pensacola, Florida, is also determined to make her voice heard on climate, including by casting her first-ever vote for president—but not for Biden.</p>
A False Equivalency<p>Young climate conservatives may fear climate denial and delayed climate action, but more than that, they fear the growing political momentum around the Green New Deal, the massive spending it entails and <a href="https://joebiden.com/climate-plan/" target="_blank">Biden's citing of it</a> as a "crucial framing for meeting the climate challenges we face."</p><p>Many don't want to split with their party to support a Democrat whose <a href="https://www.npr.org/2019/09/03/757220130/joe-biden-on-bipartisanship-gun-control-and-regrets-over-inaction-after-a-traged" target="_blank">allegedly bipartisan intentions</a> they doubt. If stymieing what they consider a radical green agenda means re-electing a climate change denying president, so be it. </p><p>"I'm scared of climate change, but I'm also scared of the Green New Deal and what it means for America," said Ben Mutolo, a republicEN spokesperson and junior at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry. </p><p>Mutolo felt encouraged by former Ohio Governor John Kasich's <a href="https://www.rollcall.com/2020/08/17/kasich-speech-to-democratic-convention-follows-years-of-building-conservative-credentials/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">appearance</a> at the Democratic National Convention, but he still struggles to see himself voting for Biden. Though the candidate paints himself as a <a href="https://www.latimes.com/politics/story/2020-08-12/harris-biden-different-generation-similar-political-instinct" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">centrist,</a> Mutolo believes he's "cozying up to the ultra-progressive left." </p><p>Mutolo, who wants to see market-based climate solutions like a carbon tax, feels torn between a candidate whose climate plan relies on taking an "<a href="https://joebiden.com/environmental-justice-plan/#" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">All-of-Government approach</a>," and one with no efforts to reign in global warming at all. <span></span></p><p>Leiserowitz said he appreciated how a conservative might feel Biden's climate plan "doesn't jive with their limited government, free-market approach."</p><p>But he sees a strong distinction between voting for a presidential candidate with a <a href="https://www.nytimes.com/2020/07/14/us/politics/biden-climate-plan.html" target="_blank">$2 trillion climate plan</a> that includes large renewable energy investments, which have <a href="https://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/politics-global-warming-april-2020/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">bipartisan support</a>, and a candidate trying "to take the country in the opposite direction, towards more fossil fuels."</p>
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