Although we already have a virtual consensus on man-made climate change, yet another prominent scientific body clearly attributed the warming of the planet to greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the burning of fossil fuels. This is the conclusion contained in a position statement released by the American Geophysical Union on August 5th, 2013. The American Geophysical Union is composed of more than 62,000 Earth and space scientists hailing from 144 countries. It releases position statements approximately every four years.
These scientists stated with unprecedented confidence that human activity is responsible for most of the observed warming of 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 140 years.
“Human activities are changing Earth’s climate,” the 537-word statement begins, going on to add that “extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming.” Among the observations cited are warming air and sea temperatures, melting glaciers and rising seas.
While the 15 person committee who carefully crafted the statement said that society will face unavoidable consequences from climate change, they also indicated that there is time to lessen the impacts.
“Actions to diminish the threats posed by climate change to society and ecosystems include substantial cuts to emissions to reduce the magnitude of climate change, as well as preparing for changes that are now unavoidable,” the statement says.
“In addition, human-induced climate change may alter atmospheric circulation, dislocating historical patterns of natural variability and storminess.”
These scientists have indicated that climate change will produce wide ranging affects from extreme weather events to threats to agriculture and coastal infrastructure.
Some of the impacts of climate change are somewhat counter intuitive such as cooling in some regions.
“While important scientific uncertainties remain as to which particular impacts will be experienced where,” the statement reads, “no uncertainties are known that could make the impacts of climate change inconsequential.”
“I think it is going to be very, very hard for the world to come to grips with this,” North said. “So one thing we really need to do is think about adaptation: How are we going to adapt to climate change?”
© 2013, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.
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