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GSA Participates in Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill

Hess and Udall
Left to right: Jack Hess, GSA Executive Director; Ellen Klicka, American Meteorological Society, Amy Braverman, JPL; Senator Mark Udall (D-CO); Jeff Taylor, NEON; Rachel Gallery, University of Arizona; Brian Wee, NEON (click for larger image).
White and McDermott
Left to right: Peter Guttorp, University of Washington; Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA); Christopher Gambino, Washington State University; Kasey White, GSA Director for Geoscience Policy (click for larger image).

GSA joined a dozen scientific societies on 1 Feb. for Climate Science Day on Capitol Hill. GSA Executive Director Jack Hess and GSA Director for Geoscience Policy Kasey White were part of a contingent of scientists visiting Members of Congress and their staff to discuss climate science. Interdisciplinary teams that included geoscientists, statisticians, atmospheric scientists, and crop and soil scientists held more than 100 meetings on Capitol Hill. A related Climate Science Day briefing by Columbia University’s Earth Institute attracted a standing-room only crowd.

Kasey White, who co-chairs the Climate Science Working Group that hosted the event, provided opening remarks at a briefing for participants held the day before the visits. The briefing also featured a bipartisan panel of congressional staff: Ed Maibach, Director of the Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University, and policy professionals with tips to help build relationships between the scientists and policymakers.

The following day, scientists met with Members of Congress, their personal office staff, and congressional committee staff. The purpose of the visits was to provide a non-partisan opportunity for scientists of many disciplines to build relationships and provide members of Congress access to the best possible climate science information; the event did not include advocacy for any policy position.

Jack Hess held meetings with Boulder Representative Jared Polis, Colorado Senators Bennet and Udall, and many Arizona representatives, including staff for Subcommittee on Technology and Innovation Chairman Ben Qualye. Water availability was a key concern that arose in many of these western meetings.

White’s visits took place with Peter Guttorp, a professor of statistics at the University of Washington, and Christopher Gambino, a Ph.D. student with the Department of Animal Science at Washington State University. In addition to meeting with the Washington state delegation, the team met with the Republican staff for the House Science, Space, and Technology Committee, who had questions on the peer-review process and findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. In the Washington meetings, the team discussed local impacts, such as water availability for hydropower, and offered themselves as a resource on questions related to global change.