January 21, 2009

Scientists In Antarctica Hopeful Over Obama Administration

President Barack Obama's inauguration on Tuesday was a major cause for celebration by U.S. geologists working in Antarctica, who praise the Obama administration's stronger focus on science.

David Barbeau, assistant professor of geology at the University of South Carolina, told Reuters it is a very exciting time for his crew, as they watched the inauguration at the British Rothera research station on the Antarctic Peninsula.

"There certainly is a feeling that this administration will have science pretty close to the forefront," he added.

Obama's commitment to doubling the basic research funding over the next 10 years has been cause for inspiration and celebration throughout the entire science community.

Amanda Savrda, a graduate student in geology at the University of South Carolina working with Barbeau, told Reuters it is certainly very hopeful to have someone coming into office that is excited about science and supportive of it.

"It seems to bode well for my future and the future of a lot of people in science," she said.

Both scientists are attempting to pinpoint the exact time when the ocean formed between Antarctica and South America millions of years ago.

Other scientists at the Rothera base are studying everything from ice sheets to starfish for signs of how they may be affected by climate change.

The Obama administration has pledged to make the fight against global warming a top priority.

After refusing to adopt the Kyoto Protocol in 2001, former President George W. Bush angered many scientists and foreign governments.

Kyoto is the main U.N. plan for fighting climate change, backed by all other industrialized nations except for the United States and Australia.


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