Scientist's Letter on Global Warming
cdanck at lemur.org
Wed Feb 9 15:33:59 EST 2000
Dear Concerned Scientists:
Ozone Action, a national environmental non-profit organization devoted to
atmospheric protection, is working on an initiative to ensure that all
presidential candidates make climate change a priority. We are urging
presidential candidates to articulate concrete plans on how to limit
greenhouse gas emissions. The leadership of the scientific community is
crucial if the candidates are going to give climate change the attention it
deserves as an issue of national concern.
Accordingly, we are seeking the support of scientists here in Florida and
across the nation to call on the presidential candidates to engage in an
open, honest and candid dialogue on climate change and discuss their plans
to address this critical issue. Below you will find a letter by George
Woodwell of Woods Hole Research Center calling on the presidential
candidates to make global climate change an integral part of their election
season debates and to develop specific plans of action to reduce domestic
sources of greenhouse gases. =20
We hope that you will join scientists from across Florida in signing onto
this important statement. To join this effort, simply reply to this e-mail
and affirm that you would like your name added to the "Scientists' Letter
to the Nation on Global Warming." Thank you for your concern. If you have
any questions about this initiative, please e-mail cdanck at lemur.org or call
Florida Field Organizer
Elections offer an opportunity for change, and change is clearly needed in
the U.S. response to climatic disruption. The issue must become a part of
the debate in the series of elections later this year. Scientists have had
a key role in advancing the issue to this point and we cannot now allow our
progress to falter.
I ask that you renew your participation in the political process by joining
once again in a clear and simple statement from the scientific community
reiterating the reality, the scale and seriousness of the problem and the
necessity of governmental leadership. The statement will be used as the
basis for advancing intensive discussion during the election regarding the
need for governmental action to deflect climatic disruption. Please
consider joining me in this brief statement.
Woods Hole Research Center
Scientists=92 Letter to the Nation on Global Warming:
In June 1997, 2,400 scientists joined in a letter confirming the
seriousness of the climatic disruption then conspicuously underway. They
took that unusual action because there had been systematic efforts from a
coalition of petroleum and allied interests to undermine in the public eye
the strong basis in science behind the observations of global climatic
changes. Our own government, despite having joined virtually all other
nations globally in ratifying the Framework Convention on Climate Change,
has found itself powerless to act in addressing the purpose of the
Convention: stabilization of the heat-trapping gas content of the
atmosphere at levels that will protect human interests and nature. The
costs of this failure are accumulating as irreversible changes in the
composition of the atmosphere that are triggering increasingly costly
global climatic disruption, including rapid changes in the mean temperature
of the earth into the indefinite future.
Since the 1997 statement we have watched the steady further accumulation of
evidence of the warming of the earth and its disruptive effects. The
warming trend has continued with 1998 the warmest year ever. Recent data
from the Arctic Ocean confirm a 40% reduction in the volume of the ice
cover over recent decades. Observations from the Antarctic have shown
massive losses from the ice shelves surrounding that frozen continent.
There has been an
accentuation of climatic anomalies such as the El Nino/southern Oscillation
that brought drought and fires to the normally moist rainforests of the
Amazon and Borneo and extraordinary rains and unusually severe and costly
storms to Central America and the southeastern US. Shorter, milder winters
are affecting the health and vigor of trees in mid-latitude and northern
forests which become vulnerable to insects and diseases. We have seen damag=
to coral reefs due to warmer waters around the world. We have also seen a
systematic expansion of the ranges of the great human diseases such as
malaria, schistosomiasis, and dengue fever as the earth warms.
While these observations are in addition to the observations published by
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 1996, they do not reflect
the commitment to further warming already made in the present accumulation
of heat-trapping gasses in the atmosphere. That commitment reaches well
beyond current predictions into the realm of surprises involving changes in
the circulation of oceanic water and major patterns of atmospheric
circulation. In a world of six billion people these surprises are likely
to be disruptive, unwelcome, and politically and economically
destabilizing. The issues are real, immediate, unequivocally a part of our
world and require our attention and that of the rest of the world.
Constructive U.S. leadership is needed now.
During the 1990=92s, the United States=92 emissions of greenhouse gases hav=
continued to climb despite our commitments under the Convention and despite
voluntary reductions proposed by the US under the Kyoto Protocol to the
Convention. The Protocol, although signed by the US, has not been ratified.
During the same period experience has shown around the world that
reductions can be made in greenhouse gas emissions while improving not only
human welfare but also economic development. Advances continue in
alternatives to fossil fuels for industrial energy.
The elected officials of the United States, present and future, local and
national, must deliver a concrete plan of action that will result in real
and significant reductions in U.S. emissions of greenhouse gasses beginning
immediately. Such a program for the US will provide the leadership for an
international cooperative effort that is unlikely to emerge otherwise.
We urge business and other civic leaders to join in this national effort to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Avoiding an unfolding human disaster of
continued global warming will take major efforts throughout the foreseeable
future from the scientific community and from government, supported
steadfastly and relentlessly by a well-informed and alert public.
The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
sponsors coral-list and the Coral Health and Monitoring Program
(CHAMP, http://www.coral.noaa.gov). Please visit the Web site
for instructions on subscribing and unsubscribing to coral-list.
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