The National Research Council (NRC) released three reports today making the case that climate change is real and largely caused by human activity. The reports advocate immediate action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and develop a national strategy to adapt to the inevitable impacts of climate change. The reports by the Research Council, the operating arm of the National Academy of Sciences and National Academy of Engineering, are part of a congressionally requested suite of five studies known as America’s Climate Choices.
“These reports show that the state of climate change science is strong,” said Ralph J. Cicerone, president of the National Academy of Sciences. “But the nation also needs the scientific community to expand upon its understanding of why climate change is happening, and focus also on when and where the most severe impacts will occur and what we can do to respond.”
The three reports, Advancing the Science of Climate Change, Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, and Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change, lay out the evidence for anthropogenic climate change, advocate methods for limiting its magnitude, and strategies for mitigating risks in the face of rising sea levels and more extreme weather phenomena.
The reports do not recommend a specific target for a domestic emissions budget, but suggest a range of emissions from 170 to 200 gigatons of carbon dioxide (CO2) equivalent for the period 2012 through 2050 as a reasonable goal, a goal that is roughly in line with the range of emission reduction targets proposed recently by the Obama administration and members of Congress.
The project was requested by Congress and is funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.