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Published: 2010

Scientists call for an end to ‘political assaults’

More than 200 members of the US National Academy of Sciences have called for an end to ‘political assaults’ on climate science and climate scientists, which they say are typically driven by special interests or dogma, not by an honest effort to provide an alternative theory that credibly satisfies the evidence.

There are limits to how far human society and the human body can adapt to severe warming.
There are limits to how far human society and the human body can adapt to severe warming.
Credit: istockphoto

In a recent letter published in Science, the scientists say the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other scientific assessments of climate change, which involve thousands of scientists producing lengthy and comprehensive reports, have made mistakes which, when pointed out, have been corrected.1

But, they added, these small errors do not change the following fundamental, scientifically based conclusions about climate change.

  1. The planet is warming due to increased concentrations of heat-trapping gases in our atmosphere.

  2. Most of the increase in the concentration of these gases over the last century is due to human activities, especially the burning of fossil fuels and deforestation.

  3. Natural causes always play a role in changing Earth’s climate, but are now being overwhelmed by human-induced changes.

  4. Warming the planet will cause many other climatic patterns to change at speeds unprecedented in modern times, including increasing rates of sea-level rise and alterations in the hydrological cycle. Rising concentrations of carbon dioxide are making the oceans more acidic.

  5. The combination of these complex climate changes threatens coastal communities and cities, our food and water supplies, marine and freshwater ecosystems, forests, high mountain environments and many other environments.

1 Science 7 May 2010, 328, no. 5979, pp. 689–690, DOI:10.1126/science.328.5979.689

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