February 1, 2011, Oakland, CA: Eighteen of the nation’s leading climate scientists, including Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick, have sent a letter to the new Congressional leadership urging them to take a fresh look at climate change as not just an environmental threat, but also a challenge to the economy, national security, and public health. Sea-level rise, drought vulnerability, flooding from more frequent extreme weather events, and other climate change impacts require planning and preparation.
The authors cite the National Academy of Sciences statement that “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities…and in many cases is already affecting a broad range of human and natural systems.” Congress needs to understand that scientists have concluded, based on a systematic review of all of the evidence, that climate change caused by human activities raises serious risks, and it is time for Congress to move on to the policy debate to address these risks.
Peter Gleick’s recent Congressional testimony is quoted, noting that “no one who argues against the science of climate change has ever provided an alternative scientific theory that adequately satisfied the observable evidence or conforms to our understanding of physics, chemistry, and climate dynamics.”
The letter calls for hearings to understand climate science and what it says about the likely costs and benefits of action and inaction – not to intimidate scientists or substitute ideological judgments for scientific ones – and stresses that we look to our Congressional representatives to lead the national response and work to develop a rational and practical national policy.
Read the full letter.