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Science Groups Push Obama for Climate Change Summit

By Lauren Morello

Six scientific societies are asking the White House to hold a national summit on climate change.

In a letter delivered to President Barack Obama on Friday, days before his annual State of the Union address, the groups lay out a plan for a summit "to identify policies and actions that can be taken by each Federal agency and by state and local governments to address the causes and effects of climate change.”

“We would like to offer the support and assistance of the thousands of scientists and other professionals who are members of our organizations,” said the groups, including the American Fisheries Society, the American Meteorological Society, the Ecological Society of America, the Society for Conservation Biology, the Society for Ecological Restoration and the Wildlife Society. “We respectfully request that you convene a national summit on this urgent and important challenge.”

The idea of a national summit has gained traction among science, environmental and social groups in recent months. One effort, backed by a number of politicians, scientists, business leaders, climate activists, the NAACP, and a Quaker social justice organization, has launched a petition and its own letter. (Editor's note: Heidi Cullen, chief climatologist for Climate Central, is among those who have signed that letter.)

“The remarks that President Obama made in his inaugural address factored into why this is happening now,” said Keith Seitter, executive director of the American Meteorological Society.

When it comes to the prospect for new national policies to address climate change, “I’m more optimist than I’ve been the last year or two,” Seitter said.

In his Jan. 21 inaugural address, Obama pledged to “respond to the threat of climate change, knowing that the failure to do so would betray our children and future generations. That is how we will preserve our planet, commanded to our care by God. That's what will lend meaning to the creed our fathers once declared," he said.

In their letter, the six scientific groups argue that climate change is already harming the nation’s economy and natural resources — and there is public support for government action to reduce those threats.

“With the significant increases in damage due to climate-driven weather extremes, ranging from more intense storms like Superstorm Sandy, more intense and frequent wildfires, severe flooding, and prolonged droughts, people are becoming increasingly aware that something is wrong and that the Federal government needs to take action,” the groups wrote. “For example, the costs of the Midwest drought and Superstorm Sandy may exceed $100 billion.”

They recommend improving the nation’s ability to respond to natural disasters; reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and black carbon; better coordinating climate adaptation plans between federal, state and local governments; protecting public lands; and increasing the use of renewable energy in a way that will not harm biodiversity.

"We're ready to help," said Scott Collins, president of the Ecological Society of America and a professor at the University of New Mexico. "Just let us know what can do."

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Comments

By RICHARD TYNAN (UTUADO PR 00641)
on February 8th, 2013

Climate change disaster is happening right now and would continue to grow even if we stopped using fossil fuels tomorrow. The low estimate for deaths directly related to global warming in the next 30 years is 100 million which is a mega holocaust. Much more radical steps are needed immediately. Obama has promised many things before that he lied about. We don’t have time to give him the benefit of the doubt when the benefits are extremely doubtful.
http://act.350.org/signup/presidentsday/

Reply to this comment

By neillevine (Brooklyn, NY)
on February 8th, 2013

Sounds clueless to me

Reply to this comment

By Linda Graff (Perryville, MO 63775)
on February 8th, 2013

Dear President Obama,
With the Climate Changes we are experiencing, I would like to offer one helpful solution.  Invest for a change in the private sector.  Offer free solar panels, solar generators and/or wind turbines to the poor, disabled and senior citizens to start. Quit giving the subsidies to large corporations they have not introduced any new creative energy savings technology and the ones they are introducing to our culture are old out of date and pollusive beyond any reasonable standards. It’s time to try a different approach to help get us on the right track to solving the energy crisis and get America working from the jobs that will create from developement, to production and then installation.  Let’s clean up this mess one household at a time and reduce corporate welfare.  A conference is definitely needed to better all of man kind.

Thank You for listening to my opinion, Mr President. Take care!

Sincerely,
Linda Graff

Reply to this comment

By steve jones (santa cruz, california 95060 usa)
on February 8th, 2013

President Obama-                      Feb 8, 2013

Its time to tackle the issue of global climate change.
Its Time to put together an EMERGENCY Global Climate Change Summit.
Human civilization needs to get a grip on this issue and work to both bring down
global carbon levels to 350 parts per million and BUILD a Global Green World Order.
We are OUT OF TIME.  International Earth Security has trumped all military conflicts worldwide.
Decommission the US global military-industrial-security complex (War is obsolete) and create a global
earth security complex for humankind.

Regards,

steve jones
santa cruz 350
santa cruz, california USA

http://santacruz350.webstarts.com
http://www.meetup.com/santacruz350

Reply to this comment

By Patrick Alcorn (Cary/NC/27519)
on February 8th, 2013

I compare this article to the Faux News Network article “Report shows UN admitting solar activity may play significant role in global warming” and find this Huffingon Post article offers facts and allows people to actually comment vs. Faux News Netork allows no commenting on distorted information articles about Global Climate Change.  Fear that people would respond with facts maybe? Faux can’t have that embarrassment so they have to censor their articles by not allowing comments unlike HP that allows the free flow of comments and discussion of this important topic. Preaching to the choir here but maybe a Faux troll would like to respond why no commenting is allowed on Faux’s anti-“lame stream media” articles?  Yes I am troll baiting.

Reply to this comment

By Frank Weigert (Wilmington, DE 19810)
on February 10th, 2013

“They recommend improving the nation’s ability to respond to natural disasters; REDUCING EMISSIONS of GREENHOUSE GASES ...”

Not really necessary. The real problem is only greenhouse gases from burning FOSSIL FUELS. Cars can burn gasoline, trucks, diesel and planes jet fuel with no effect on the climate if they are produced sustainably from renewable resources. For more details see:

http://alum.mit.edu/news/WhatMatters/Archive/200111

Reply to this comment

By Jan Freed (l.a./CA/90041)
on February 10th, 2013

It’s about time! Yes!  Listen to the best minds, the Nobel Laureates, the published climate scientists, our most respected economists - not bloggers, or coin operated politicians. And act accordingly.

When attacked at Pearl Harbor, we didn’t hesitate to “pick winners”: the best warplanes, the best warships, the best tanks, the best artillery.  We didn’t dither, waiting for the so called “free market” solutions.

We are in an emergency, a National security emergency.  The Pentagon budget should shift a necessary (1/3?, 1/2?) proportion of its budget to fighting the war against AGW.: and pick the best low carbon forms of energy. 

We are already at serious risk as a civilization.  We will make recovery impossible unless we act boldly and soon.

Reply to this comment

By Debra Davison (S. Plainfield, NJ 07080)
on February 10th, 2013

I dare say more than thousands of Americans support Climate Change Policies that will completely alter methods of delivery and energy safety. Americans who “know” the statistics and are willing to hear more about alternatives, are ready and willing to implement the changes, if only Leaders will make them happen.

We do need a completely new approach. We do need to stop subsidies to Big Oil and other mega corporations, and return the subsidies to the middle class and the poor of this nation. Make it not only possible, but implement plans of action to put solar on existing homes and office buildings now. Don’t make it difficult for the poor and middle class to participate in global climate improvements, for they make up the vast majority of this world, to begin with. Jobs created from a program like this would instantly energize our economy, as well.

Push organic gardening and organic restoration in its purest forms across all land management, whether at the farmer level or federal level. We can unite in these efforts, and make our land, our water, our air safe and healthy again.

Waste from fracking should not be an acceptable end result of any energy plan. Fracking must be stopped.

I do believe that a vast and complete change to energy types must be the near future goal. Is there really any question that we are out of time?

Reply to this comment

By Pedro Barbosa (College Park)
on February 10th, 2013

Climate Change issues have to be discussed and explained to the american public

Reply to this comment

By Evan (95959)
on February 10th, 2013

It is actually a little disappointing the scientific societies didn’t reach out or garner the support of a broader swath of academia. I think the call to action would have a lot more power if it had voices from the social justice, economics, human health, etc. As it is now, it’s too easy to marginalize these environmentally-oriented societies. Time to stop beating that poor dead horse, and try something new!

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