Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Science Association Says Human Climate Change Evidence Is Clear

Feb 18: Another major international group of scientists has adopted a statement on global climate change. Ironically, the statement adopted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, "Triple A-S" (AAAS), was approved by its Board on December 9, 2006, and released on February 18, 2007 at the groups annual meeting in San Francisco. AAAS is an international non-profit organization dedicated to advancing science around the world by serving as an educator, leader, spokesperson and professional association. Founded in 1848, AAAS serves some 262 affiliated societies and academies of science, serving 10 million individuals. AAAS publishes the journal Science, which has the largest paid circulation of any peer-reviewed general science journal in the world, with an estimated total readership of one million.

According to the statement, "The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society. Accumulating data from across the globe reveal a wide array of effects: rapidly melting glaciers, destabilization of major ice sheets, increases in extreme weather, rising sea level, shifts in species ranges, and more. The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last five years. The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now.

"The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, a critical greenhouse gas, is higher than it has been for at least 650,000 years. The average temperature of the Earth is heading for levels not experienced for millions of years. Scientific predictions of the impacts of increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and deforestation match observed changes. As expected, intensification of droughts, heat waves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms is occurring, with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems and societies. These events are early warning signs of even more devastating damage to come, some of which will be irreversible.

"Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs. The longer we wait to tackle climate change, the harder and more expensive the task will be.

"History provides many examples of society confronting grave threats by mobilizing knowledge and promoting innovation. We need an aggressive research, development and deployment effort to transform the existing and future energy systems of the world away from technologies that emit greenhouse gases. Developing clean energy technologies will provide economic opportunities and ensure future energy supplies.

"In addition to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that we develop strategies to adapt to ongoing changes and make communities more resilient to future changes.

"The growing torrent of information presents a clear message: we are already experiencing global climate change. It is time to muster the political will for concerted action. Stronger leadership at all levels is needed. The time is now. We must rise to the challenge. We owe this to future generations."

A footnote to the statement indicates, "The conclusions in this statement reflect the scientific consensus represented by, for example, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the joint National Academies' statement."

Access the statement (click here). Access the AAAS Climate Change Resources website for additional information (click here). Access the AAAS website (click here). [*Climate]