Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Climate Scientists On Climate Change

The largest scientific organization in the world, the American Association for the Advancement of Science ("AAAS"), released a report entitled "WHAT WE KNOW:  THE REALITY, RISKS AND RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE" on March 18, 2014.  The report begins decisively:
The overwhelming evidence of human-caused climate change documents both current impacts with significant costs and extraordinary future risks to society and natural systems. The scientific community has convened conferences, published reports, spoken out at forums and proclaimed, through statements by virtually every national scientific academy and relevant major scientific organization — including the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) — that climate change puts the well-being of people of all nations at risk.

Surveys show that many Americans think climate change is still a topic of significant scientific disagreement. Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is real. Moreover, while the public is becoming aware that climate change is increasing the likelihood of certain local disasters, many people do not yet understand that there is a small, but real chance of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts on people in the United States and around the world. [footnote removed]
As climate change continues, so do debates among voters and their representatives about what action to take, whether preventive, adaptive, or both.  The AAAS committee who wrote "WHAT WE KNOW" (a co-chair of which, James J. McCarthy, was a wonderful mentor to me at Harvard University) certainly hope their report will change the political climate of climate change.  A superb work of research and advocacy, I believe it will.