An open letter to U.S. policy makers signed by 31 leading nonpartisan scientific societies reaffirms the reality of man-made climate change. The letter sends a clear signal that the country’s foremost and prestigious scientific societies unanimously agree that climate change is caused by human activities and greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced massively to avoid significant, possibly catastrophic, consequences to the economy and health of the nation’s citizens.
“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research concludes that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver,” the collaborative said in its 28 June letter to Members of Congress. “This conclusion is based on multiple independent lines of evidence and the vast body of peer-reviewed science.”
“The severity of climate change impacts is increasing and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades,” the letter added.
“Climate change is real and happening now, and the United States urgently needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions,” said AAAS Chief Executive Officer Rush Holt, executive publisher of the Science family of journals. “We must not delay, ignore the evidence, or be fearful of the challenge. America has provided global leadership to successfully confront many environmental problems, from acid rain to the ozone hole, and we can do it again. We owe no less to future generations.”
The letter is commendable, for obvious reasons, but let’s not be naive. Despite the U.S. Presidency has committed to reduce the country’s greenhouse gas emissions to 26% to 28% below 2005 levels by 2025, the Republican-majority in Congress seems to largely be against climate change mitigating measures.
Earlier this year, the Center for American Progress Action Fund found that there are 182 climate deniers in the current Congress: 144 in the House and 38 in the Senate. This effectively means six in ten Americans are represented by people who have fundamentally anti-science views, given over 99% of climate scientists agree climate change is real, man-made and poses a great threat. That’s a discrepancy because polls show 76 percent of Americans, including 59 percent of Republicans, accept the reality that climate change is happening.
And as if not following the wishes of their constituents wasn’t enough, some members of Congress actively discredit climate change activism and research. Who can forget the asinine Sen. James Inhofe, who called “climate change the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people” and threw a snowball on the Senate floor to make a point?
That’s not only insulting the intelligence of American citizens, but extremely despicable as it was later found Inhofe received over $2 million in funding from fossil fuel companies who have a direct interest to silence climate change mitigation. Over $73 million in contributions from oil, gas, and coal companies have been awarded in total over the course of their careers to climate change denialists from Congress.
As such, the present letter will likely fall on deaf ears because it doesn’t fit the current narrative in Congress — that climate change is bogus and the Republican-run Congress knows better about science-driven policy than a bunch of eggheads from NASA.
The 28 June letter was signed by leaders of the following organizations:
- American Association for the Advancement of Science
- American Chemical Society
- American Geophysical Union
- American Institute of Biological Sciences
- American Meteorological Society
- American Public Health Association
- American Society of Agronomy
- American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
- American Society of Naturalists
- American Society of Plant Biologists
- American Statistical Association
- Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography
- Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation
- Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
- BioQUEST Curriculum Consortium
- Botanical Society of America
- Consortium for Ocean Leadership
- Crop Science Society of America
- Ecological Society of America
- Entomological Society of America
- Geological Society of America
- National Association of Marine Laboratories
- Natural Science Collections Alliance
- Organization of Biological Field Stations
- Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
- Society for Mathematical Biology
- Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles
- Society of Nematologists
- Society of Systematic Biologists
- Soil Science Society of America
- University Corporation for Atmospheric Research