"This report is the most reliable and comprehensive statement of what scientists know about global warming. The world's best scientists are warning that our planet is being remade from the upper atmosphere to the ocean's depths as a result of human activity. This report leaves no room for doubt and it has never been clearer that Congress has no time to waste.
"The clarity and completeness of the IPCC's global warming findings permanently relegates skeptics to the fringe. Lawmakers should move quickly to adopt mandatory measures that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy legislation helps serve as a down payment toward that goal."
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has issued three reports on the science of global warming since 1990. With each, the certainty of the human effect on the climate has increased while the likelihood of other factors being responsible has declined.
The IPCC assessment reports on global warming receive a higher degree of scrutiny by scientists and participating nations than any other in the world – making their conclusions the most rigorous that exist.
Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the IPCC assesses the "risk of human-induced climate change." The panel is open to all member countries of the WMO and UNEP, and includes over 2,000 scientists from 154 countries. Scientists are nominated for participation in the panel by their own governments.
The U.S. Congress is on the verge of undertaking serious policy-making on global warming for the first time. Recently, Senators Biden and Lugar introduced a resolution that urges the U.S. to go back to the international bargaining table. Other pro-active measures have been introduced by Senators McCain, Lieberman and Obama, and by Senator Lincoln from Arkansas. Senator Boxer, who recently introduced her own bill is launching hearings. In the House, Congressman Waxman is expected to introduce a comprehensive bill shortly, and Reps. Gilchrest and Olver have just introduced their bipartisan bill.
President Bush's inclusion in his State of the Union Speech of a number of measures that could help reduce global warming reflects the administration's strongest recognition to date of the need to address the crisis at hand. The inclusion of these measures could indicate the administration is now more committed than in the past to ending the U.S. addiction to oil. Still, its willingness to take the strong steps needed to combat global warming remains, at best, uncertain.
A platform to address global warming crisis released by environmental groups on the eve of the State of the Union address is available at www.audubon.org/energy.
The full UN report is available at http://www.ipcc.ch/index.html.