Thursday, March 11, 2010

2,000+ U.S. Scientists & Economists Urge Action On Climate Bill

Mar 11: Nobel Prize-winning economists and scientists delivered a letter to the U.S. Senate urging lawmakers to require immediate cuts in global warming emissions. The letter was signed by more than 2,000 prominent U.S. economists and climate scientists, including eight Nobel laureates, 32 National Academy of Sciences members, 11 MacArthur "genius award" winners, and three National Medal of Science recipients. 

    James McCarthy, one of the letter's organizers and a biological oceanography professor at Harvard University said, "The nation's leading scientists and economists have joined together to tell policymakers we agree about the urgency of addressing climate change now. The bad news is the science of climate change is indisputable. The good news is we can cost-effectively cut the emissions that are causing it." McCarthy is a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the chairman of the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) board, and a leader of the Nobel Peace Prize winning U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

    The letter states, "We call on our nation's leaders to swiftly establish and implement policies to bring about deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions. The strength of the science on climate change compels us to warn the nation about the growing risk of irreversible consequences as global average temperatures continue to increase over pre-industrial levels (i.e., prior to 1860). As temperatures rise further, the scope and severity of global warming impacts will continue to accelerate. . .
    "The longer we wait, the harder and more costly it will be to limit climate change and to adapt to those impacts that will not be avoided. Many emissions reduction strategies can be adopted today that would save consumers and industry money while providing benefits for air quality, energy security, public health, balance of trade, and employment. . .
    "A strong U.S. commitment to reduce emissions is essential to drive international climate progress. Voluntary initiatives to date have proven insufficient. We urge U.S. policy makers to put our nation onto a path today to reduce emissions on the order of 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050. The first step on this path should be reductions on the order of 15-20 percent below 2000
levels by 2020, which is achievable and consistent with sound economic policy. There is no time to waste. The most risky thing we can do is nothing."
    According to a release, the letter was issued "partly as a response to escalating attacks on climate science and disinformation about the costs of addressing global warming." Elinor Ostrom, an Indiana University professor and a Nobel Prize-winner in economics said, "In the economic emergency we are experiencing, some people think that we cannot afford to address the problem of climate change. It's the other way around. If we don't act now, we will run into even greater economic problems in the future."
    Access a release and link to the complete letter and signers (click here).