I just came across a sobering website published by the American Association for the Advancement of Science called “What We Know.” These folks are for real -- they are the largest non-government general science membership organization and the publisher of Science, a leading scientific journal.
I feel grateful that credible scientists are joining together to share what they know. And, at the same time, I am fearful for our future. My hope is that by sharing this information with others – we will be able to turn the tide and create a sane response to the issues that are facing us.
I hear in my mind the words of Albert Einstein: “We cannot solve our problems with the same level of thinking that created them.” Now is time for citizens to actively participate in the decision making that will create a thriving future for all – and, not leave the decisions to the corporations or the ultra wealthy power elite.
The What We Know site is dedicated to ensuring that the three “R’s” of climate change are communicated to the public.
- The first is REALITY— 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
- The second is RISK — the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts that we can expect. We also must consider what might happen -- especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.
- The third R is RESPONSE — there is much we can do and the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.
Waiting to take action will inevitably increase costs, escalate risk, and foreclose options to address the risk.
The CO2 we produce accumulates in Earth’s atmosphere for decades, centuries and longer. It is not like pollution from smog or wastes in our lakes and rivers, where levels respond quickly to the effects of targeted policies. Moreover, as emissions continue and warming increases, the risk increases.
By making informed choices now, we can reduce risks for future generations and ourselves, and help communities adapt to climate change. Scientists working with economists believe there are ways to manage the risks of climate change while balancing current and future economic prosperity.
As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do or must believe about the rising threat of climate change. But we consider it to be our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risk and cost of taking action. www.whatweknow.aaas.org/get-the-facts