US agency sounds warning bells over climate change
London: A leading US research agency has sounded warning bells over the risk of dangerous climate change which is growing with every additional tonne of greenhouse gas emission.
A National Research Council committee has reiterated the pressing need for substantial action to limit the magnitude of climate change and to prepare to adapt to its impact.
The committee that authored the report included not only renowned scientists and engineers but also economists, business leaders, an ex-governor, a former congressman, and other policy experts.
"The goal is to ensure that climate decisions are informed by the best possible scientific knowledge, analysis, and advice, both now and in the future," said committee chair Albert Carnesale, chancellor emeritus and professor, University of California, Los Angeles.
The new report reaffirms that the preponderance of scientific evidence points to human activities -- especially the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere -- as the most likely cause for most of the global warming over the last several decades.
This trend cannot be explained by natural factors such as internal climate variability or changes in incoming energy from the sun. The report adds that the impact of climate change on human and natural systems can generally be expected to intensify with warming, according to a California statement.
While it recognised that climate change is inherently a global issue requiring an international response, the committee focused on the charge from Congress to identify steps and strategies that US decision-makers could adopt now.
Because emissions reductions in the US alone will not be adequate to avert dangerous climate change risks, US leadership needs to remain actively engaged in international climate change response efforts, the committee emphasised.
If the US pursues strong emission reduction efforts, it will be better positioned to influence other countries to do the same, the committee said.