US climate scientists throw ball into politicians’ court

Climate scientists across the Pond recently released three reports on climate change and its mitigation. These lengthy documents, which are part of a five-year study commissioned by Congress and known as America’s Climate Choices, present our current knowledge of climate science, and provide a number of recommendations for limiting and adapting to climate change.

There are no freely available PDF files of the full texts, only executive summaries. But the full documents can be viewed online at no financial cost through an embedded PDF browser…

Quoted in a news report from American Geophysical Union Eos staff writer Randy Showstack, Natural Resources Defense Fund Climate Center director Dan Lashof describes the National Research Council reports as “quite forceful” in their conclusions and recommendations…

“It is now up to politicians to respond appropriately to what scientists are saying. I think [the reports] have gone as far as the science community can go in terms of making clear conclusions about what’s happening and what response options are.”

Rick Piltz, a former senior associate in the US Climate Change Science Program who in 2005 resigned following political interference from the Bush administration, and is now director of the education and advocacy project Climate Science Watch, told Eos that the NRC reports are…

“…the intellectual basis that could be a template for a much more constructive national approach. But it needs to be taken up by the leadership.”

Ending on a positive note, Pamela Matson, a biogeochemist who chaired the NRC panel responsible for putting together the first of the reports listed above, said…

“There are some things that are in our control, and climate change is one of them. Humans are causing these changes, humans can fix the problem. We’re working on it, and I have great optimism that we will get there.”

And so it’s over to the politicians. To use another and this time peculiarly American sporting analogy, will they step up to the plate?