Dr. Peter Gleick Addresses Congress on Climate Change and Water Policy

For Immediate Release: January 8, 2008

(Washington, D.C.)– Dr. Peter H. Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, Calif., brings water policy recommendations to the U.S. Congress on January 9, and the message is clear: water is central to policy around energy, climate change, and national security – and far too little has been done to prepare our water systems for inevitable climate changes.

Peter Gleick, a member of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, a MacArthur Fellow, and one of the world’s leading authorities on water, advises that both mitigation of and adaptation to climate change must be pursued as we face a hotter world with uncertain changes in precipitation, extreme weather events, dramatic changes in snowfall and runoff timing, and rising sea level.

In addition to Dr. Gleick, three other speakers will address legislators and staff from the House of Representatives and the Senate on “Climate Change: Intersections of Science and Policy” in two briefings sponsored by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The other experts include Timothy Wirth, president of the United Nations Foundation, Dr. Susan Solomon of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and Dr. Ted Parson from the University of Michigan.

“It is crucial we stop assuming that future climate will look like past climate,” said Gleick.

“The evidence that climate change is already affecting the nation’s water resources is compelling, and complex impacts on every sector of society, including our water resources and agricultural productivity, are now unavoidable.”

The briefing is organized to provide information for policymakers as they bring science to bear on new legislation addressing the nation’s energy, climate, and water challenges. Gleick recommends that climate changes be integrated into all federal water planning and management efforts, and that federal water policy be brought into the 21st century by updating federal water laws, expanding protections of drinking water, and expanding international efforts to reduce conflicts over shared water resources.

“It is past time that the nation began to manage the now unavoidable consequences of climate change while also working to avoid those changes that will be unmanageable,” said Gleick. “Comprehensive and sustainable national water policy is not a luxury but a necessity.”

Based in Oakland, California, the Pacific Institute is a nonpartisan research institute that works to create a healthier planet and sustainable communities. Through interdisciplinary research and partnering with stakeholders, the Institute produces solutions that advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity – in California, nationally, and internationally.  For more information, visit www.pacinst.org.

Dr. Gleick’s presentation to Congress, along with Pacific Institute national water budget recommendations, can be found here.