Major Science Organizations Send Letter to US Senate on Climate Change

Yesterday, the leaders of 18 major American scientific organizations — some of the most reputable and respected organizations in the world — sent the following letter to the US Senate, strongly urging Senators to address the issue of human-caused climate change and offering their help to become better informed.

October 21, 2009

Dear Senator:

As you consider climate change legislation, we, as leaders of scientific organizations, write to state the consensus scientific view.

Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver. These conclusions are based on multiple independent lines of evidence, and contrary assertions are inconsistent with an objective assessment of the vast body of peer-reviewed science. Moreover, there is strong evidence that ongoing climate change will have broad impacts on society, including the global economy and on the environment. For the United States, climate change impacts include sea level rise for coastal states, greater threats of extreme weather events, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, urban heat waves, western wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems throughout the country. The severity of climate change impacts is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades.

If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced. In addition, adaptation will be necessary to address those impacts that are already unavoidable. Adaptation efforts include improved infrastructure design, more sustainable management of water and other natural resources, modified agricultural practices, and improved emergency responses to storms, floods, fires and heat waves.

We in the scientific community offer our assistance to inform your deliberations as you seek to address the impacts of climate change.

The signatories of the letter:

Alan I. Leshner, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Thomas Lane, American Chemical Society
Timothy L. Grove, American Geophysical Union
May R. Berenbaum, American Institute of Biological Sciences
Keith Seitter, American Meteorological Society
Mark Alley, American Society of Agronomy
Tuan-hua David Ho, American Society of Plant Biologists
Sally C. Morton, American Statistical Association
Lucinda Johnson, Association of Ecosystem Research Centers
Kent E. Holsinger, Botanical Society of America
Kenneth Quesenberry, Crop Science Society of America
Mary Power, Ecological Society of America
William Y. Brown, Natural Science Collections Alliance
Brian D. Kloeppel, Organization of Biological Field Stations
Douglas N. Arnold, Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics
John Huelsenbeck, Society of Systematic Biologists
Paul Bertsch, Soil Science Society of America
Richard A. Anthes, University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

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