American Geophysical Union (AGU) issues revised position statement on Climate Change

The statement and description are at the AGU site. In announcing the statement, Gerald North, chair of the AGU’s Climate Change Position Statement Review Panel said:

 Because our understanding of climate change and its impacts on the world around us has advanced so significantly in the last few years, it was vitally important that AGU update its position statement. The new statement is more reflective of the current state of scientific knowledge. It also calls greater attention to the specific societal impacts we face and actions that can diminish the threat.

The statement is now titled

Human-induced climate change requires urgent action. Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes.

The previous statement opened with

Humans Impact Climate, and the Scientific Community has the Responsibility to Educate and Communicate the Implications of Climate Change to the Public and Policy Makers. The scientific evidence for human activity impacting climate is strong and widely accepted within the scientific community. Given the significant current and potential impacts of climate change, scientists have a unique responsibility to educate the public and public policy makers on this topic.

The panel members and their votes are listed below:

    • Amy Clement, Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami (approve)
    • John Farrington, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (approve)
    • Susan Joy Hassol, Climate Communication (approve)
    • Robert Hirsch, U.S. Geological Survey (approve)
    • Peter Huybers, Harvard University (approve)
    • Peter Lemke, Alfred Wegener Institute (approve)
    • Gerald North, Texas A&M University (approve, panel chair)
    • Michael Oppenheimer, Princeton University (approve)
    • Roger Pielke Sr., University of Colorado Boulder (dissent)
    • Ben Santer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (approve)
    • Gavin Schmidt, Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA (approve)
    • Leonard A. Smith, London School of Economics (approve)
    • Eric Sundquist, U.S. Geological Survey (approve)
    • Pieter Tans, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (approve)

The statement concludes:

Impacts harmful to society, including increased extremes of heat, precipitation, and coastal high water are currently being experienced, and are projected to increase. Other projected outcomes involve threats to public health, water availability, agricultural productivity (particularly in low-latitude developing countries), and coastal infrastructure, though some benefits may be seen at some times and places. Biodiversity loss is expected to accelerate due to both climate change and acidification of the oceans, which is a direct result of increasing carbon dioxide levels.

While important scientific uncertainties remain as to which particular impacts will be experienced where, no uncertainties are known that could make the impacts of climate change inconsequential. Furthermore, surprise outcomes, such as the unexpectedly rapid loss of Arctic summer sea ice, may entail even more dramatic changes than anticipated.Actions that could diminish the threats posed by climate change to society and ecosystems include substantial emissions cuts to reduce the magnitude of climate change, as well as preparing for changes that are now unavoidable.The community of scientists has responsibilities to improve overall understanding of climate change and its impacts. Improvements will come from pursuing the research needed to understand climate change, working with stakeholders to identify relevant information, and conveying understanding clearly and accurately, both to decision makers and to the general public.

I have underlined the statement, adding emphasis which was not in the original.


About ecoquant

See Retired data scientist and statistician. Now working projects in quantitative ecology and, specifically, phenology of Bryophyta and technical methods for their study.
This entry was posted in climate, climate education, economics, environment, geophysics, oceanography, physics, politics, rationality, reasonableness, science and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a reply. Commenting standards are described in the About section linked from banner.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.