AGU Responds to Op-ed entitled "No Need to Panic about Global Warming," published by The Wall Street Journal, 27 January 2012
03 February 2012
Daniel Patrick Moynihan once said, “Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to their own facts.”
As we look at the ever-increasing attacks on those whose research has established the fact that climate change is real and human activity is most probably the cause, Moynihan’s sentiment still holds true. There are those who would want us to believe that climate change isn’t happening and that human activity isn’t playing a role, but unfortunately wishful thinking won’t make the facts disappear.
Attacking the character and motives of a scientist or organization because they stand behind a conclusion that is politically charged – that the Earth's climate is out of balance and human activities are in all probability responsible for global warming – is counterproductive and short sighted. Likewise, we ignore the scientific evidence for climate change at our peril because it will have an impact on national security, the economy, our food supply, and many other areas that affect our health and well-being.
The research and discovery process that has led scientists to these conclusions is governed by well-established and widely accepted practices designed to ensure the integrity of scientific findings. These same methods have also brought civilization profound achievements like human flight, life-saving vaccines, electric power and the Internet.
As leaders from around the world tackle the challenge of addressing and mitigating the impacts of changing climate, there are three things they can be assured of: (1) Climate change is real, and in all likelihood is being caused by human behavior; (2) There is wide-spread consensus on this point, with 97 percent of the climate science community agreeing; (3) That consensus is rooted in a foundation of scientific knowledge gained through careful, thoughtful, and thorough research, not political or ideological rhetoric.
Read the op-ed - No Need to Panic about Global Warming