Climate change is real

22 June 2005

There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring and that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities. So say the national scientific authorities of 11 nations ahead of next month’s G8 summit in the UK.

A joint statement from the science academies of Russia, the UK, Japan, Italy, China, Brazil, Canada, Germany and perhaps most significantly, the US, says: ”The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now, to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions.”

With carbon dioxide levels having increased from 280 ppm in 1750 to over 375 ppm today – higher than any previous levels that can be reliably measured in the last 420,000 years – the academies state that such warming has already led to changes in the Earth's climate, causing temperatures to rise by approximately 0.6 oC over the twentieth century.

Given the complexity of climate, a lack of full scientific certainty about some aspects of climate change is not a reason for delaying an immediate response, the statement says. Consequently, the academies call upon world leaders, particularly those of the G8 countries, to acknowledge that the threat of climate change is clear and increasing, to address its causes, and to prepare for its consequences.

However, despite the apparently overwhelming evidence, it seems that the White House and its occupant, US president George W. Bush, continues to insist that we still do not know enough.

The Academy statement comes as it is revealed that a former oil lobbyist has been editing Administration scientific reports in an apparent attempt to play up the uncertainty associated with climate change.

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