November 30, 2023

Taylor Daily Press

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German climate scientist faces expulsion for refusing to fly

German climate scientist faces expulsion for refusing to fly

Grimaldi was told on Friday that he would lose his job if he was not at his office in Kiel, northern Germany, on Monday. The employer’s patience had clearly run out, as he was already expected to return in July after a scientific tour of Bougainville Island, the largest of the Northern Solomon Islands in the Pacific Ocean. Grimaldi spent six months studying the impact of climate change on the lives of indigenous communities.

But since the German refuses to fly on principle – he also completed a 22,000km overseas flight in February largely across land and sea – he has not met that deadline. Instead, on Monday, he waited for a cargo ship that would take him to Europe.

3.6 tons of carbon dioxide

In all, Grimaldi estimates his return trip will take about two months. However, he says that he will only emit 400 kilograms of carbon dioxide this way, saving 3.6 tons, and this is the most important thing to him. “I sent a message to the president of the institute where I teach that I cannot be there today and that I will return by ship and land,” Grimaldi told reporters on Monday. Watchman. “I feel fine at the moment, but the last few days have been very painful. I did not expect this kind of behavior from my colleagues, but I think I made the right decision.”

According to Grimaldi, his presence in Kiel is not necessary to do his job. “I don’t teach and I don’t have to attend seminars or meetings. When I’m in Kiel, I usually sit alone in the office. I can also do the work I do there on a ship or on a train. They know that I’m very productive when I travel.”

Robbed and held hostage

As he put it, Grimaldi’s investigation was postponed due to unforeseen circumstances. He was allegedly robbed twice and even taken hostage once by “local fighters wielding machetes.” It also turns out that it is not easy to communicate with the locals. “It takes time to build trust between the community and the ‘white men’, as they call me here. Sometimes I had to go back two or even three times before I could start my field research.

It is not yet clear whether he has actually been fired in the meantime. Grimaldi says in his X account that he has not yet received his September salary. A Kiel Institute spokesman declined to comment on “internal HR matters,” but said that “employees are supported to travel in a climate-friendly manner.”

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