18 FEBRUARY -- The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) today released a new video as well as the first consensus statement of its board of directors regarding global climate change during a free public town hall meeting in San Francisco, California.
The town hall meeting, part of the 2007 AAAS Annual Meeting, was organized by AAAS in collaboration with three leading U.S. education organizations -- the California Science Teachers Association, the National Science Teachers Association, and the United Educators of San Francisco (representing the National Education Association and the American Federation of Teachers).
Reflecting a growing torrent of evidence, the AAAS Board statement confirms that "global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society." Fossil-fuel burning and deforestation have contributed to an atmospheric carbon-dioxide level that is higher than it has been for at least 650,000 years. As a result, "the average temperature of the Earth is heading for levels not experienced for millions of years," the AAAS board concluded.
Already, "Scientists are observing rapid melting of glaciers, destabilization of major ice sheets, rising sea levels, shifts in species ranges, and increased frequency of weather extremes," AAAS President John P. Holdren wrote in a cover letter to town hall attendees. "As droughts, heat waves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms intensify, damages to ecosystems and human society are growing apace."
Some of the most dramatic changes are being experienced in the far North, where temperatures have risen much more rapidly than the global average, according to Holdren, who serves as director of the Woods Hole Research Center and Teresa and John Heinz Professor of Environmental Policy at Harvard University.