Pacific Science Center Position On Global Climate Change
The following statement is consistent with a similar policy statement adopted by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, and the Joint National Academies' statement on climate change.
The scientific evidence is clear: global climates are changing and human activities are contributing to the rate of change. Accumulating data from across the globe reveals a wide array of effects: rapidly melting glaciers, destabilization of major ice sheets, increases in extreme weather, rising sea level, shifts in species ranges, and more. The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last several years. To combat this growing threat to society, we must control greenhouse gas emissions now.
The atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, a critical greenhouse gas, is higher than it has been for at least 650,000 years. The average temperature of the Earth is heading for levels not experienced for millions of years. Scientific predictions of the impacts of increasing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels and deforestation match observed changes. As expected, intensification of droughts, heat waves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms is occurring, with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems and societies. These events are early warning signs of even more devastating damage to come, some of which will be irreversible.
Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs. The longer we wait to tackle climate change, the harder and more expensive the task will be. History provides many examples of societies confronting grave threats by mobilizing knowledge and promoting innovation. We need an aggressive research, development and deployment effort to transform the existing and future energy systems of the world away from technologies that emit greenhouse gases. Developing clean energy technologies will not only provide economic opportunities but also ensure future energy supplies.
In addition to rapidly reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is essential that we develop strategies to adapt to ongoing changes and make communities more resilient to future changes
The growing body of scientific evidence presents a clear message: we are already experiencing global climate change. While our scientific understanding of this continues to grow, the time is now for each of us to rise to the challenge and take action. We owe this to future generations.