Significant Figures by Peter Gleick

National academies of sciences from around the world have published formal statements and declarations acknowledging the state of climate science, the fact that climate is changing, the compelling evidence that humans are responsible, and the need to debate and implement strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Not a single national science academy disputes or denies the scientific consensus around human-caused climate change. A few examples of joint academy statements since 2000 on climate are listed here. Many national academies have, in addition, published their own reports and studies on climate issues. These are not included here.

climate change is a reality science tells us

The Science of Climate Change (Statement of 17 National Science Academies, 2001)

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/292/5520/1261

Following the release of the third in the ongoing series of international reviews of climate science conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chang (IPCC), seventeen national science academies issued a joint statement, entitled “The Science of Climate Change,” acknowledging the IPCC study to be the scientific consensus on climate change science.

The seventeen signatories were:

  • Australian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts
  • Brazilian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Society of Canada
  • Caribbean Academy of Sciences
  • Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • French Academy of Sciences
  • German Academy of Sciences, Leopoldina
  • Indian National Science Academy
  • Indonesian Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Irish Academy
  • Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy)
  • Academy of Sciences Malaysia
  • Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • Turkish Academy of Sciences
  • Royal Society (UK)

Joint science academies’ statement: Global response to climate change (Statement of 11 National Science Academies, 2005)

http://nationalacademies.org/onpi/06072005.pdf

Eleven national science academies, including all the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, signed a statement that the scientific understanding of climate change was sufficiently strong to justify prompt action. The statement explicitly endorsed the IPCC consensus and stated:

“…there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001). This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.”

The eleven signatories were: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Joint science academies’ statement on Growth and responsibility: sustainability, energy efficiency and climate protection (Statement of 13 National Science Academies, 2007)

http://www.pik-potsdam.de/aktuelles/nachrichten/dateien/G8_Academies%20Declaration.pdf

In 2007, thirteen national academies issued a joint declaration reconfirming previous statements and strengthening language based on new research from the fourth assessment report of the IPCC, including the following:

“In 2005, the Academies issued a statement emphasizing 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.”

The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

A joint statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change (Statement of 13 individual National Science Academies and the African Academy of Sciences, 2007)

http://www.interacademies.net/File.aspx?id=4825

In 2007, the Network of African Science Academies submitted a joint “statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change:”

“A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reached this conclusion with ’90 percent certainty’ in its Fourth Assessment issued earlier this year. The IPCC should be congratulated for the contribution it has made to public understanding of the nexus that exists between energy, climate and sustainability.”

The thirteen signatories were the science academies of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as the African Academy of Sciences.

Zmian klimatu, globalnego ocieplenia i ich alarmujących skutkow: “Climate change, global warming and its alarming consequences” (Statement of the Polish Academy of Sciences, December 2007)

http://bit.ly/2jwgtNL

In December 2007, the General Assembly of the Polish Academy of Sciences (Polska Akademia Nauk), issued a declaration endorsing the IPCC conclusions, and stating (in translation):

The problem of global warming, climate change and their negative impact on the human life and the functioning of the whole society is one of the most dramatic of contemporary challenges. The most recent studies indicate that the content of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere increased in the last century by about 25%. If you add to that a similar increase in the presence in the atmosphere of other harmful gases generated by human activity, overall, the effective increase in the amount of these gases in the period under consideration is about 40% and the specific acceleration gained over the past decades. This makes that the situation extremely worrisome…

It is the duty of science and Polish state authorities to develop thoughtful, organized and active efforts in the implementation of these ideas. Priority should be given to vast and diversified areas of research, including physical and biochemical mechanisms of climate change and their mathematical modeling. It should also develop appropriate technical measures and rules for their implementation, and legal and economic regulations limiting the emission of so-called greenhouse gases in all areas of economic activity of the state.

It is also necessary to take measures aimed to understand society-scale threats and response measures. The General Assembly of the Academy calls on national scientific communities and the state authorities to actively support Polish participation in this important endeavor.

We believe that the right step to counteract the effects of global warming require, under the auspices of the Polish Academy of Sciences, a Special Program to counteract climate threats and their consequences…

Joint Science Academies’ Statement: Climate Change Adaptation and the Transition to a Low Carbon Society (Statement of 13 National Academies of Sciences, June 2008)

http://www.nationalacademies.org/includes/climatechangestatement.pdf

In 2008, the thirteen signers of the 2007 joint academies declaration issued a statement reiterating previous statements and reaffirming

“that climate change is happening and that anthropogenic warming is influencing many physical and biological systems.”

Among other actions, the declaration urges all nations to

“(t)ake appropriate economic and policy measures to accelerate transition to a low carbon society and to encourage and effect changes in individual and national behaviour.”

The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Climate change and the transformation of energy technologies for a low carbon future (Statement of 13 National Academies of Sciences, May 2009)

http://www.leopoldina.org/en/press/press-releases/press-release/press/713/

In May 2009, thirteen national academies issued a joint statement that said among other things:

“The IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment of climate change science concluded that large reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases, principally CO2, are needed soon to slow the increase of atmospheric concentrations, and avoid reaching unacceptable levels. However, climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid. Feedbacks in the climate system might lead to much more rapid climate changes. The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.”

The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Health Effects of Climate Change (Statement of the Inter Academy Medical Panel/42 National Academies of Sciences, 2010)

http://www.leopoldina.org/de/publikationen/detailansicht/publication/health-effects-of-climate-change-2010/

Statement on the health co-benefits of policies to tackle climate change

It is widely agreed that human activities are changing Earth’s climate beyond natural climatic fluctuations. The emission and accumulation of greenhouse gases associated with the burning of fossil fuels, along with other activities, such as land use change, are the principal causes of climate change…

Climate change poses a significant threat to human health in many direct and indirect ways…

Although there are some uncertainties about the magnitude of climate change and its impacts, there is widespread consensus that to mitigate climate change and reduce its impact on health, near term deep cuts in global greenhouse gas emissions are needed. Actions should be greatest in those high-income countries that have benefited most from burning fossil fuels. The longer we delay, the more severe the impacts on health, the environment and the economy; and the greater the future cost of mitigation. Since some degree of climate change is now inevitable, countries will have to adapt to the associated health risks…

Signatories

  • Academia Nacional de Medicina de Buenos Aires
  • Academy of Medical Sciences of Armenia
  • Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • Bangladesh Academy of Sciences
  • Academia Boliviana de Medicina
  • Brazilian Academy of Sciences
  • Chinese Academy of Engineering
  • Academia Nacional de Medicina de Colombia
  • Croatian Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • Academy of Scientific Research and Technology, Egypt
  • Académie Nationale de Médecine, France
  • The Delegation of the Finnish Academies of Science and Letters
  • Union of German Academies of Sciences and Humanities
  • Deutsche Akademie der Naturforscher, Leopoldina
  • Academia de Ciencias Medicas, Fisicas y Naturales de Guatemala
  • Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • Indonesian Academy of Sciences
  • Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
  • TWAS, academy of sciences for the developing world
  • Islamic World Academy of Sciences
  • Science Council of Japan
  • African Academy of Sciences
  • Kenya National Academy of Sciences
  • The National Academy of Sciences, Rep. of Korea
  • Akademi Sains Malaysia
  • National Academy of Medicine of Mexico
  • Nigerian Academy of Science
  • National Academy of Science and Technology, Philippines
  • Polish Academy of Sciences
  • The Caribbean Academy of Sciences
  • Russian Academy of Medical Sciences
  • Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • Academy of Science of South Africa
  • National Academy of Sciences of Sri Lanka
  • Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • The Tanzania Academy of Sciences
  • Thai Academy of Science and Technology
  • Turkish Academy of Sciences
  • Uganda National Academy Sciences
  • Academy of Medical Sciences, UK
  • Institute of Medicine, US NAS

Climate Change: Evidence and Causes (Joint Statement of the Royal Society and the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, February 2014)

http://nas-sites.org/americasclimatechoices/events/a-discussion-on-climate-change-evidence-and-causes/

The Royal Society and the US National Academy of Science jointly published the document “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes.” Given their similar missions to “promote the use of science to benefit society and to inform critical policy debates,” the Academies “offer this new publication as a key reference document for decision makers, policy makers, educators, and other individuals seeking authoritative answers about the current state of climate-change science.”

Position de l’Académie sur les Changements Climatiques (Statement of the Académie Royale des Science, des Lettres & des Beaux-Arts de Belgique, November 12, 2014)

https://t.co/SZT9VvU8vx

“La teneur de l’atmosphère en GES a fortement et régulièrement augmenté dans les dernières décennies. Une analyse approfondie de ces GES, notamment de leur composition isotopique, montre sans équivoque que cette modification de la composition de l’atmosphère est, directement ou indirectement, liée à l’activité humaine (origine anthropique)…

La rapidité du changement climatique global annoncé est vraisemblablement sans précédent…

Dans ces conditions, la communauté internationale doit s’engager résolument, et globalement, dans une démarche volontariste et ambitieuse de réduction des émissions de gaz à effet de serre.

  1. a) Cette réduction doit être concertée, globale et équilibrée ; elle doit se faire dans le cadre d’accords internationaux. Le caractère global et de très long terme des effets, et donc des politiques à mettre en oeuvre, demande qu’elles soient coordonnées par des organismes supranationaux qui impliqueront, à côté des États, les entreprises et les citoyens qui ont chacun des rôles cruciaux et complémentaires à jouer.”

U.K. Science Communiqué on Climate Change (Joint Statement of the Royal Society and member organizations, July 2015)

https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF

In July 2015, the Royal Society and member organizations issued a joint “U.K. Science Communiqué on Climate Change.” In part, that statement reads:

“The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that the climate is warming and that human activity is largely responsible for this change through emissions of greenhouse gases.

Governments will meet in Paris in November and December this year to negotiate a legally binding and universal agreement on tackling climate change.

Any international policy response to climate change must be rooted in the latest scientific evidence. This indicates that if we are to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming in this century to 2°C relative to the pre-industrial period, we must transition to a zero-carbon world by early in the second half of the century.

To achieve this transition, governments should demonstrate leadership by recognising the risks climate change poses, embracing appropriate policy and technological responses, and seizing the opportunities of low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.”

Signatories

  • The Academy of Medical Sciences (UK)
  • The Academy of Social Sciences (UK)
  • The British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • The British Ecological Society
  • The Geological Society (UK)
  • The Challenger Society for Marine Sciences
  • The Institution of Civil Engineers (UK)
  • The Institution of Chemical Engineers
  • The Institution of Environmental Sciences
  • The Institute of Physics
  • The Learned Society of Wales
  • London Mathematical Society
  • Royal Astronomical Society
  • Royal Economic Society
  • Royal Geographic Society
  • Royal Meteorological Society
  • Royal Society
  • Royal Society of Biology
  • Royal Society of Chemistry
  • Royal Society of Edinburgh
  • Society for General Microbiology
  • Wellcome Trust
  • Zoological Society of London

Facing critical decisions on climate change (Joint Statement of the European Academies Science Advisory Council and its 29 members, 2015)

http://www.leopoldina.org/de/publikationen/detailansicht/publication/facing-critical-decisions-on-climate-change-in-2015/

Facing critical decisions on climate change in 2015

The science of climate change reported by the IPCC Fourth Assessment (2007) and Fifth Assessment (2014) have been thoroughly evaluated by numerous national academies (e.g. Royal Society/National Academy of Sciences, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences) and by international bodies. Advances in science and technology have increased our knowledge of how to mitigate climate change, uncertainties in the scientific analysis continue to be addressed, co-benefits of mitigation to health have been revealed, and new business opportunities have been found. EASAC remains concerned, however, that progress in turning this substantial evidence base into an international policy response has so far failed to match the full magnitude and urgency of the problem

Even if emissions of GHG stopped altogether, existing concentrations of GHG in the atmosphere would continue to exert a warming effect for a long time. Whatever measures are put in place to reduce the intensity of global human-induced climate forcing, building resilience through adaptation will be necessary to provide more resilience to the risks already emerging as a result of climate change…

Signatories/Members of the European Academies Science Advisory Council

  • Academia Europaea
  • All European Academies (ALLEA)
  • The Austrian Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Academies for Science and the Arts of Belgium
  • The Bulgarian Academy of Sciences
  • The Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • The Czech Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Danish Academy of Sciences and Letters
  • The Estonian Academy of Sciences
  • The Council of Finnish Academies
  • The German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina
  • The Academy of Athens
  • The Hungarian Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Irish Academy
  • The Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei
  • The Latvian Academy of Sciences
  • The Lithuanian Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences
  • The Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters
  • The Polish Academy of Sciences
  • The Academy of Sciences of Lisbon
  • The Romanian Academy
  • The Slovak Academy of Sciences
  • The Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts
  • The Spanish Royal Academy of Sciences
  • The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences
  • The Swiss Academies of Arts and Sciences
  • The Royal Society
  • The Federation of European Academies of Medicine (FEAM) (Observer)

 

[This list is not a complete summary of the many individual or joint statements of national academies of sciences. Please send additions and corrections to pgleick@pacinst.org)

 

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