The nation’s scientific establishment has issued a blunt warning that the risks posed by climate change are “pressing” and demand substantial action, reports The New York Times.
The warning came in a report by the National Research Council, part of the National Academy of Sciences. It offered no specific recommendations to Congress, which had requested the report. However, it pushed for a strong federal policy and praised the idea of imposing a cost on emissions of carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas associated with climate change.
Already, the report noted, sea levels have risen in many coastal towns around the country, and the average temperature has increased 2 degrees in the last half-century. “The risks associated with doing business as usual are a much greater concern than the risks associated with engaging in ambitious but measured response efforts,” the paper concludes.
The report, called “America’s Climate Choices,” comes at a time when many Republicans are questioning the science of climate change while other lawmakers, including Democrats, express concern about how a policy to combat the phenomenon could cause economic hardship.
Advocates pushing for action on climate change faulted the report for failing to suggest specific remedies. “This is the classic problem — the divide between scientific reality and political courage,” Paul W. Bledsoe, a senior adviser with the Bipartisan Policy Center, told the Times. “The scientific organizations are reluctant to advocate detailed policy prescriptions, while political actors are tentative about the scientific realities.”