Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Leading Science Academies of G8 Issue Warning

The national science academies of the G8 countries--plus several from the developing world have issued a remarkable document (PDF) about sustainability, energy efficiency and climate change. Here are some highlights:

It is important that the 2007 G8 Summit is addressing
the linked issues of energy security and climate change.
These are defining issues of our time, and bring together
the themes of growth and responsibility in a way that
highlights our duties to future generations.

In 2005, the Academies issued a statement emphasising
that climate change was occurring and could be
attributed mostly to human activities, and calling for
efforts to tackle both the causes of climate change and
the inevitable consequences of past and unavoidable
future emissions. Since then the IPCC has published the
Working Group 1 part of the Summary for Policymakers
of its fourth assessment report, and further reports are
expected later this year from IPCC. Recent research
strongly reinforces our previous conclusions. It is
unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very
likely that this is predominantly caused by the increasing
human interference with the atmosphere. These changes
will transform the environmental conditions on Earth
unless counter-measures are taken.

Our present energy course is not sustainable. World
population is forecast to reach 9 billion by 2050, with
the most rapid growth in the poorest countries. Escalating
pressures on land will accelerate deforestation. Major
increases in demand for energy are inevitable as
economies around the world accelerate and peoples
justifiably seek to improve their living standards.
Responding to this demand while minimising further
climate change will need all the determination and
ingenuity we can muster.

The problem is not yet insoluble, but becomes more
difficult with each passing day. A goal of confining global
warming to an average of 2 centigrade degrees above
pre-industrial levels would be very challenging, and even
this amount of warming would be likely to have some
severe impacts.

Read it all. The importance of this document is that it comes on the eve of a G8 conference in which the United States Government appears to be fighting any serious action by the G8 on climate change issues.

I was stunned to find virtually no coverage of this document in the mainstream press in the United States or Europe.

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