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New Federal Assessment Confirms Climate Change Dangers, Says WWF

But Report Provides Little New And Useful Guidance For Those Preparing Adaptation Measures

WASHINGTON, May, 29, 2008 – A report focusing on the impacts of climate change in the U.S. that was issued today by the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) is consistent with previously published research, but falls far short of meeting the needs of decision-makers for timely and useful information on the growing impacts of climate change, said World Wildlife Fund (WWF) officials.

"We are pleased to see that the Administration is publishing this information and that it is consistent with other major scientific assessments," said Dr. Richard Moss, WWF vice president for climate change. “The Administration is acknowledging that most of observed climate change is a result of human activities, and that the impacts will be serious. On the eve of consideration by the Senate of the Lieberman-Warner climate bill (S. 3036), this is significant and supports swift passage of the legislation.”

Moss, who directed the CCSP office under both the Clinton and Bush administrations and coordinated preparation of the Program’s 10-year research plan, noted that most of the CCSP’s standards for decision support were ignored. “CCSP states five guidelines for decision support intended to make the reports useful. Of these only one appears to have been followed. The report was developed through a closed process with minimal involvement of researchers, stakeholders and the public.”

The report, Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States, was legally required by the end of 2004 under Section 106 of the Global Change Research Act of 1990.  After the deadline passed, several conservation organizations filed suit in federal court on November 14, 2006 to compel the government to comply with the law.  On August 21, 2007 the court ordered the administration to produce the report no later than May 31, 2008.  

“While this report may satisfy the requirements of the court, it fails to meet the spirit of the law and the needs of the public,” said Moss. He added that the inadequacy of the report further highlights the need to revamp the government’s climate research efforts and urged the Senate to pass legislation (S. 2307), introduced by Senators John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), that would reauthorize and strengthen the CCSP. 

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NOTE TO EDITORS:
The Scientific Assessment of the Effects of Global Change on the United States is a report of the Committee on Environment and Natural Resources of the National Science and Technology Council.  It is available at: http://www.climatescience.gov/Library/scientific-assessment/.