Statement: National Academies Release Climate Change Assessment

Today the National Academies released its most comprehensive assessment of climate change entitled America’s Climate Choices.

Statement of Eileen Claussen
President, Pew Center on Global Climate Change

May 19, 2010

I commend the National Academies for producing America’s Climate Choices – a landmark study that puts an authoritative stamp on strategies to tackle climate change.

Fulfilling a Congressional mandate, the National Academies have provided U.S. policymakers and the American public with an independent, comprehensive assessment of the science of human-induced climate change and what is required to reduce and adapt to its impacts.

“These reports show that the state of climate change science is strong,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, President of the National Academy of Sciences. The study emphasizes that our current understanding of human-induced climate change is supported by many independent lines of evidence that have weathered intense debate and serious exploration of alternative explanations.

The study underscores that, more than ever, we have credible and convincing evidence that human activities are driving our changing climate. “Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for – and in many cases is already affecting – a broad range of human and natural systems,” the report says. Further delay in addressing these risks will only make climate change impacts more severe and the costs of action more expensive.

The urgency is reflected by impacts beginning to happen in our own backyards – more heat waves across the Midwest; wildfires in California and other western states; sea-level rise encroaching on the eastern seaboard. Effective national strategies to limit the causes and adapt to certain unavoidable changes to our climate are urgent. Scientific uncertainty is no longer an excuse to delay action. The case for action is clear and we must find the political will to reduce our nation’s greenhouse emissions and adapt to unavoidable changes already in motion.

Pew Center Contact: Tara Ursell, 703-516-4146