Wednesday, January 30, 2008

600+ U.S. Scientists Urge Congress To Act On Climate Change

Jan 29: According to a release from the National Wildlife Federation (NWF), more than 600 prominent scientists from across the United States are calling on Congress to pass legislation that will curb America’s global warming pollution and help protect wildlife and other natural resources threatened by global warming. Spearheaded by some of America’s greatest scientific minds, including Harvard Professor E.O. Wilson, Thomas Lovejoy, Paul Ehrlich and Camille Parmesan, the scientists have sent a letter to Congress urging action.

Dr. Thomas Lovejoy, renowned conservation biologist and president of the H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment said, “The science is irrefutable not only about the reality of climate change, but also that plant and animal species are already being harmed by it. Alarming effects are already being observed in nature from mountaintops to the oceans, and from the equator to the polar regions. We have the choice to allow these effects to intensify or to move to avoid the more disastrous consequences for life on earth.”

Dr. Dan Svedarsky, president of The Wildlife Society, on behalf of its over 8,000 professional wildlife biologists said, “The precarious status of polar bears and their melting sea ice habitat in the Arctic is only the tip of the iceberg. It’s not just polar bears -- wildlife across America are being impacted by global warming, including birds, butterflies, fish and mammals.” Jeff Price, one of the authors of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report awarded the Nobel Peace Prize (2007) said, “The science is clear that without major action to both reduce global warming pollution and to help wildlife survive global warming, species will suffer rapidly increasing extinction rates. It is not too late, but we must take action now.”

The U.S. Senate is currently considering legislation that would begin to take the urgent actions these scientists say are necessary [See WIMS 12/6/07 & 1/18/08]. The Climate Security Act (S. 2191), introduced in 2007 by Senators Joe Lieberman (I-CT) and John Warner (R-VA), creates a market-based system that cuts global warming pollution and helps communities address the impacts of climate change. John Kostyack, executive director of wildlife and global warming at NWF said, “Global warming is an unprecedented challenge for wildlife, adding a host of new threats such as thawing permafrost, disappearing mountain snow pack, and the warming of rivers, lakes and estuaries. Senators Lieberman and Warner recognize the gravity of the threat and the necessity of timely and effective action. The Climate Security Act provides the best hope for saving wildlife at risk of extinction and for conserving ecosystems that are essential for both wildlife and people.”

The signers are hoping to convey to Congress “our sense of urgency. Global warming is already causing serious damage and disruptions to wildlife and ecosystems, and reliable projections call for significant additional damage and disruptions. To fulfill the nation’s longstanding commitment to conserving abundant wildlife and healthy ecosystems for future generations, Congress must craft legislation that greatly reduces global warming pollution and generates substantial dedicated funding to protect and restore wildlife and ecosystems harmed by global warming.”

Access a release from NWF (
click here). Access the letter and complete list of signers, organized by state (click here). [*Climate]