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Kevin ClarkeMay 17, 2011

The National Research Council of the National Academies released a report on May 12 in another addition to the scientific consensus on the reality of climate change and the various hazards posed by the phenomenon. According to the report, the last in the “America’s Climate Choices” series of studies on climate change by the NRC, the significant risks that climate change poses to human society and the environment provide “a strong motivation to move ahead with substantial response efforts.”

“Climate change is occurring, is very likely caused primarily by the emission of greenhouse gases from human activities and poses significant risks for a range of human and natural systems," write the report’s authors. They add, "The environmental, economic and humanitarian risks posed by climate change indicate a pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare for adapting to its impacts.”

The scientists and policy experts who prepared the study acknowledge that there is uncertainty about the scale and severity of future risk, but add, “Uncertainty is not a reason for inaction, however; it is, in fact, a compelling reason for action, especially given the possibilities of abrupt, unanticipated, and severe impacts.”

The authors say, “The sooner that serious efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions proceed, the lower the risks posed by climate change and the less pressure there will be to make larger, more rapid and potentially more expensive reductions later. In addition, every day around the world, crucial investment decisions are made about equipment and infrastructure that can ‘lock in’ commitments to greenhouse gas emissions for decades to come.

"Most actions taken to reduce vulnerability to climate change impacts are also common sense investments that will offer protection against natural climate variations and extreme events. Finally, while it may be possible to scale back or reverse many responses to climate change (if they somehow proved to be more stringent than actually needed), it is difficult or impossible to ‘undo’ climate change, once manifested.”

The report suggests that while current efforts of local, state, and private sector to respond too climate change are important, they will not be enough and urges “strong federal policies that establish coherent national goals and incentives and that promote strong U.S. engagement in international-level response efforts.”

Read the report here.

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David Backes
12 years 9 months ago
Last week I posted a two-minute video that shows the names of well over a hundred major scientific organizations around the world that have formally stated their belief that the scientific evidence is conclusive: humans are causing climate change.  A National Academy of Science study last year showed that 97 percent of the scientists actually doing research in the area believe this.  It is mind-boggling to think that so many of our so-called leaders are willing to deny the validity of 97 percent of the experts, and even claim they are engaged in a hoax.  Here's the link: http://new-wood.blogspot.com/2011/05/climate-change-consensus-and-delusion.html
12 years 9 months ago
It is interesting that the solutions proposed for climate change (née global warming) will cause extreme poverty for much of the world.  A cruel fate awaits the poor when we implement what much of the climate change advocates prescribe.  Are we caught in a Catch 22?

Bjorn Lomborg thinks we are doing the wrong things.  Here is a recent video where he discusses the problem


And his website is

Todd Flowerday
12 years 9 months ago
Any modern world upheaval will affect the poor disproportionately. They don't have politicians in their employ, after all. And most languish in the hermeneutic of corruption in their respective nations thanks to European colonial culture.

If climate change tips us to a serious alteration in sub-tropical weather patterns, then it's likely that hundreds of millions of Asians will die in the resulting famine and inevitable war that will follow. I can see how Western elites bathing in oil would not care about the deaths of Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, or godless communists.

We have the capability and the resources to plan to avoid world catastrophe. Humankind, unfortunately, lacks the maturity and will to do so. Our leaders, elected and enriched both, choose self-interest instead.
Vince Killoran
12 years 9 months ago
It's true that many solutions will disproportionately hurt the poor, especially in less developed countries (just as industrialization & capitalism did) but there are serious proposals out there that will spread the pain more evenly.

I'm not a fan of Bjorn Lomborg: he's not a trained scientist with an outsized personality that distracts from finding real solutions.  His "go slow" solution is a bad idea. 
Vince Killoran
12 years 9 months ago
Sorry-I should have typed "he's not a trained scientist and his outsized personality distracts from finding real solutions."
Stanley Kopacz
12 years 9 months ago
For a critique of Lomborg:



At any rate, it seems like a different tack on the "Don't worry, be happy" approach.  Of course, we'd all like to go on in our merry way and not have to do anything.  That's in the lazy part of our human nature.  Unfortunately, we will either start making big changes up front based on a collective purpose, or those changes will be made for us by nature and more painfully.  These changes should have been started thirty years ago but Reagan was oblivious and we liked being oblivious along with him.  I wonder if I'll be saying "sixty years ago" thirty years from now at age 92.  Not impossible with my genes.

Bill Collier
12 years 9 months ago
There can of course be reasonable disagreement about how to fix the climate change problem, but the important thing is that people realize there is a problem. The Earth's biosphere is, relative to the volume of the Earth as a whole, an extremely thin layer on the surface of the planet, and beyond the upper reaches of the habitable atmosphere is nothing but an airless, frigid void. We may have but one chance to reverse the environmental degradation currently taking place. The senseless destruction of our habitat (and, more importantly, the habitat of our children and grandchildren) is similar to the stupidity of a person marooned on the ocean in a life raft who routinely lets air out the raft. 

IMO the "Key Findings" section of the link provided by Kevin Clarke contains the ?follow?ing important warning???????? ?that we ignore at our dire peril:?
??????? ???
"The risks of continuing 'business as usual' are greater than the risks associated with strong efforts to limit and adapt to climate change. Policy changes can potentially be reversed or scaled back if needed, whereas many adverse changes in the climate system would be difficult or impossible to 'undo.'"
Jim McCrea
12 years 9 months ago
Facts?  facts??  We don't need no stinkin' facts!!!!
12 years 9 months ago
''A National Academy of Science study last year showed that 97 percent of the scientists actually doing research in the area believe this. ''

The so called solution to the climate change scenario would put these people out of work.  I wonder then how much of a consensus there would be.  To implement programs that would eliminate green house gases would put 20-25% of the people out of work and the subsequent shortage of revenues would be felt in all sorts of areas, mostly the poor but in programs like science that are not necessary for today.

People naively think life will go on just as it is now except there will be no green house gas emissions.  Sorry, but that scenario will not happen. Maybe 30-50 years from now but not next year or the next 10 years and the advocates who want the green solution will be out of work begging for handouts from the few who have a way of making a living.  And China and India will be upset but not reduce their green house gases as they have to find new markets for their goods and services.

The problem with the green movement is that it is suicide pact and doesn't know it.  If we are to reach a stable environment it will have to be gradual and less onerous methods will have to be  taken.  Like any other liberal pipe dream it never estimates the secondary and tertiary effects of what they want.  If it is a good intention, let's do it.  When I said the poor would be hurt, I wasn't talking about the equator, I was talking about the inner cities here in the US. 

And by the way scientific consensus means nothing.  They know where their money is coming from and if they deviate an iota, they will end up in the soup lines.  I have no respect for scientists, they are as political as any group and their behavior is conditioned by the culture they live in.

Oh, Nancy Pelosi came out for drilling and nuclear energy yesterday. 

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