21 October 2009

A Letter You Should Read

Posted by Dan Satterfield

The letter below was signed by the directors of the following scientific organizations.
I’m a member of three.
They are right.

October 21, 2009

American Association for the Advancement of Science

Dear Senator:

As you consider climate change legislation, we, as leaders of scientific
organizations, write to state the consensus scientific view.
Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is
occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the
greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver.

These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence,
and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of
the vast body of peer-reviewed science. Moreover, there is strong
evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on
society, including the global economy and on the environment.

For the United States, climate change impacts include sea level rise for coastal
states, greater threats of extreme weather events, and increased risk of
regional water scarcity, urban heat waves, western wildfires, and the
disturbance of biological systems throughout the country. The severity
of climate change impacts is expected to increase substantially in the
coming decades.1

If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions
of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced. In addition,
adaptation will be necessary to address those impacts that are already
unavoidable. Adaptation efforts include improved infrastructure design,
more sustainable management of water and other natural resources,
modified agricultural practices, and improved emergency responses to
storms, floods, fires and heat waves.

We in the scientific community offer our assistance to inform your
deliberations as you seek to address the impacts of climate change.

American Association for the
Advancement of Science
American Chemical Society
American Geophysical Union
American Institute of
Biological Sciences
American Meteorological
American Society of
American Society of Plant
American Statistical
Association of Ecosystem
Research Centers
Botanical Society of America
Crop Science Society of
Ecological Society of America
Natural Science Collections
Organization of Biological
Field Stations
Society for Industrial and
Applied Mathematics
Society of Systematic
Soil Science Society of
University Corporation for
Atmospheric Research

1 The conclusions in this paragraph reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for
example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and U.S. Global Change Research
Program. Many scientific societies have endorsed these findings in their own statements,
including the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Chemical
Society, American Geophysical Union, American Meteorological Society, and American
Statistical Association.