Statements on Climate Change

From Global Warming Art

This page contains excerpts from position statements on climate change adopted by various professional and scientific organizations.


National Science Academies - 2005

From the Joint Statement on Climate Change adopted on June 7, 2005 by the national science academies of 11 countries, including all members of the Group of Eight industrial powers:

"Climate change is real. There will always be uncertainty in understanding a system as complex as the world’s climate. However there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities. ... The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions." [1]

See also: National Academies Statement in 2001

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - 2001

Selected statements from the summary sections of the Third Assessment Report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change:

"There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities. ... Human influences will continue to change atmospheric composition throughout the 21st century ... [and] anthropogenic climate change will persist for many centuries. ... Further action is required to address remaining gaps in information and understanding." [2] (Adopted January 2001)
"Projected climate change will have beneficial and adverse effects on both environmental and socio-economic systems, but the larger the changes and rate of change in climate, the more the adverse effects predominate. ... The impacts of climate change will fall disproportionately upon developing countries and the poor persons within all countries, and thereby exacerbate inequities in health status and access to adequate food, clean water, and other resources. ... Adaptation has the potential to reduce adverse effects of climate change and can often produce immediate ancillary benefits, but will not prevent all damages." [3] (Adopted September 2001)

See also: IPCC Third Assessment Report

American Meteorological Society - 2003

From the statement on climate change by the American Meteorological Society, adopted February 2003:

"Human activities have become a major source of environmental change. Of great urgency are the climate consequences of the increasing atmospheric abundance of greenhouse gases and other trace constituents ... [that] interact strongly with the Earth's energy balance, resulting in the prospect of significant global warming. ... Because greenhouse gases continue to increase, we are, in effect, conducting a global climate experiment, neither planned nor controlled, the results of which may present unprecedented challenges to our wisdom and foresight as well as have significant impacts on our natural and societal systems. It is a long-term problem that requires a long-term perspective. Important decisions confront current and future national and world leaders." [4]

National Research Council - 2001

Climate change assessment produced by the National Research Council, a branch of the US National Academies of Science, at the request of the White House in 2001:

"Greenhouse gases are accumulating in Earth's atmosphere as a result of human activities, causing surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures to rise. Temperatures are, in fact, rising. The changes observed over the last several decades are likely mostly due to human activities, but we cannot rule out that some significant part of these changes is also a reflection of natural variability. Human-induced warming and associated sea level rises are expected to continue through the 21st century. ... The impacts of [climate change] will be critically dependent on the magnitude of the warming and the rate with which it occurs." [5]

American Geophysical Union - 2003

Position statement by the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest association of Earth scientists, adopted December 2003:

"Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth's climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth's history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century. ... A particular concern is that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide may be rising faster than at any time in Earth's history, except possibly following rare events like impacts from large extraterrestrial objects. ... Moreover, research indicates that increased levels of carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It is virtually certain that increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer. ... The unprecedented increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, together with other human influences on climate over the past century and those anticipated for the future, constitute a real basis for concern." [6]

See also: 1999 AGU Position Statement

Geological Society of America - 2006

The Geological Society of America adopted a climate change position statement in October 2006:

"The Geological Society of America (GSA) supports the scientific conclusions that Earth’s climate is changing; the climate changes are due in part to human activities; and the probable consequences of the climate changes will be significant and blind to geopolitical boundaries. Furthermore, the potential implications of global climate change and the time scale over which such changes will likely occur require active, effective, long-term planning. ... GSA strongly encourages that the following efforts be undertaken internationally: (1) adequately research climate change at all time scales, (2) develop thoughtful, science-based policy appropriate for the multifaceted issues of global climate change, (3) organize global planning to recognize, prepare for, and adapt to the causes and consequences of global climate change, and (4) organize and develop comprehensive, long-term strategies for sustainable energy, particularly focused on minimizing impacts on global climate." [7]

American Chemical Society - 2004

The American Chemical Society, the world's largest scientific organization with over 155,000 members, issued the following policy statement in July 2004:

"Accumulating evidence clearly shows that our environment and the global climate system are changing. Global average temperatures, atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, sea levels, and extreme weather events are on the rise. ... There is now general agreement among scientific experts that the recent warming trend is real (and particularly strong within the past 20 years), that most of the observed warming is likely due to increased atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations, and that climate change could have serious adverse effects by the end of this century. ... In addition to climate research, scientists, industry, and government should implement measures to cost-effectively protect the climate and intensify efforts to develop technologies that—in addition to meeting other societal goals—could help us mitigate and adapt to the potential effects of climate change." [8]

Stratigraphy Commission - Geological Society of London - 2004

Position statement from the Stratigraphy Commission of the Geological Soceity of London, the world's oldest and the United Kingdom's largest geoscience organization:

"Global climate change is increasingly recognised as the key threat to the continued development – and even survival - of humanity. ... We find that the evidence for human-induced climate change is now persuasive, and the need for direct action compelling." [9]

American Association of State Climatologists - 2001

Position statement from the American Association of State Climatologists (AASC), a professional organization uniting the politically designated State Climatologists from each state, adpoted November 2001:

"The AASC recognizes that human activities have an influence on the climate system. Such activities, however, are not limited to greenhouse gas forcing and include changing land use and sulfate emissions, which further complicates the issue of climate prediction. Furthermore, climate predictions have not demonstrated skill in projecting future variability and changes in such important climate conditions as growing season, drought, flood-producing rainfall, heat waves, tropical cyclones and winter storms. These are the type of events that have a more significant impact on society than annual average global temperature trends. ... The difficulty of prediction and the impossibility of verification of predictions decades into the future are important factors that allow for competing views of the long-term climate future. Therefore, the AASC recommends that policies related to long-term climate not be based on particular predictions, but instead should focus on policy alternatives that make sense for a wide range of plausible climatic conditions regardless of future climate. ... [O]ngoing political debate about global energy policy should not stand in the way of common sense action to reduce societal and environmental vulnerabilities to climate variability and change." [10]

American Association of Petroleum Geologists - 1999

The following position statement was adopted by the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG) in 1999. Unlike all other large scientific organizations with position statements on this issue, the AAPG is officially skeptical of global warming. A membership review of this position statement was conducted in June-October 2006, but no changes have been adopted as of January 2007.

"Geologists who study past climate variations understand that current climate warming projections fall well within documented natural variations in past climate. Therefore, for scientific reasons, the American Association of Petroleum Geologists does not support placing a carbon tax upon fossil energy sources as a tool to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, nor do we support any implementation of the Kyoto Protocol prior to Senate ratification. ... Recently published research results do not support the supposition of an anthropogenic cause of global climate change. ... Detailed examination of current climate data strongly suggests that current observations do not correlate with the assumptions or supportable projections of human-induced greenhouse effects. ... Human-induced global temperature influence is a supposition that can be neither proved nor disproved. ... Climate naturally varies constantly, in both directions, at varying rates, and on many scales. Warming events have been historically good for most human society, while cold events have been deleterious to much of society. ... The AAPG urges that any actions to implement or to ratify the Kyoto Protocol and any future declarations of climate policy be delayed until there is better understanding of present climate." [11]