Policy

Top U.S. Scientists To Nation: Global Warming. Really. We Are Not Kidding.

Last week the National Research Council, one the nation's leading scientific bodies, published yet another report on the current state of climate research. What was newsworthy about this effort was the degree to which (from my perspective) the nation's best scientists seemed to be getting fed up with being asked to write reports which are then ignored. The message was simple: climate change is happening and its happening now.

As the report states:

"The risks associated with doing business as usual are a much greater concern than the risks associated with engaging in ambitious but measured response efforts. This is because many aspects of an 'overly ambitious' policy response could be reversed or otherwise addressed, if needed, through subsequent policy change, whereas adverse changes in the climate system are much more difficult (indeed, on the time scale of our lifetimes, may be impossible) to 'undo.' "

What really set this report apart was the addition of business and political leaders in the author list. The report was commisioned by congress a couple of years ago and, reading through it, one senses a kind of growing desperation in the nation's scientific establishment as they watch their best efforts and best understanding swept out to sea under the currents of anything and everything but the science.

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