WASHINGTON: Global warming threatens the well-being of people of all nations, putting them at risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes,” showed a report released on Tuesday by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).
The report, titled “What We Know,” marked the launch of a new initiative by the AAAS to expand the dialogue on the risks of climate change.
“We’re the largest general scientific society in the world, and therefore we believe we have an obligation to inform the public and policymakers about what science is showing about any issue in modern life, and climate is a particularly pressing one,” Alan Leshner, CEO of the AAAS, said in a statement.
The AAAS report quoted a 2013 survey as saying that only 42 percent of American adults believed that “most scientists think global warming is happening” and that 33 percent said “there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.”
“Thus, it is important and increasingly urgent for the public to know there is now a high degree of agreement among climate scientists that human-caused climate change is real,” it said. “The science linking human activities to climate change is analogous to the science linking smoking to lung and cardiovascular diseases.”
The report said scientists working with economists believe there are ways to manage the risks of climate change while balancing current and future economic prosperity because people have responded successfully to other major environmental challenges such as acid rain and the ozone hole with benefits greater than costs.
“There’s much we can do to respond to the challenge and risks of climate change, particularly by tapping America’s strength in innovation,” the report said.
“The longer we wait to respond, the more the risks of climate change will increase. Conversely, the sooner we take action, the more options we will have to reduce risk and limit the human and economic cost of climate change,” it added.
The report was generated by a climate science panel chaired by Nobel laureate Mario Molina of the University of California, San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography. PNA