The National Research Council has released three reports focusing on why the US should act now to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and form a coherent plan to deal with the changing climate.
[social_buttons]”These reports show that the state of climate change science is strong,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “But the nation also needs the scientific community to expand upon its understanding of why climate change is happening, and focus also on when and where the most severe impacts will occur and what we can do to respond.”
The first of these reports, Advancing the Science of Climate Change focuses on what we know of climate change while acknowledging what we don’t know, and puts forward the need for a single federal entity to be given authority and the resources to coordinate a national and multidisciplinary research effort.
What is known about climate change, according to this report, is that “there is a strong, credible body of evidence, based on multiple lines of research, documenting that Earth is warming.” The report goes on to say that “strong evidence also indicates that recent warming is largely caused by human activities, especially the release of greenhouse gasses through the burning of fossil fuels.”
“While much remains to be learned, the core phenomenon, scientific questions, and hypotheses have been examined thoroughly and have stood firm in the face of serious scientific debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations.”
The report was specific to note the complexities of what we do and don’t know. The authors specifically note that there is “less certainty in other projections, such as how the combination of greenhouse gas increases, temperature increases, precipitation changes, and [how] other climate and climate-related changes will affect agricultural crops and natural ecosystems in different regions.”
The report concludes that America is in need of a unified body of scientific endeavour that will lead and advise. Seven cross-cutting research themes are identified to support this more comprehensive and integrative scientific enterprise. A single federal entity or program was also advised, one that integrated multiple fields of study and research including those across and among the physical, social, biological, health and engineering sciences, as well as being action oriented, flexible and focused on use-inspired research.
“As decision makers respond to these risks,” states the report, “the nation’s scientific enterprise can contribute both by continuing to improve understanding of the causes and consequences of climate change, and by improving and expanding the options available to limit the magnitude of climate change and to adapt to its impacts.”
The America’s Climate Choices website includes briefs of each of the three new reports.
Please check out our articles on the other two reports:
Source: National Academy of Sciences
Image Source: Just Being Myself