, 2000

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JUNE 28, 1999  6:47 PM
Union of Concerned Scientists
Paul Fain, 202-332-0900, or Sharon Pickett, 301-365-9307
Global Warming Experts Educate Lawmakers
WASHINGTON - June 28 - More than 50 scientists from 23 states assembled at the U.S. Capitol today to urge lawmakers to heed their warnings about global warming.

Rep. Rush Holt (D-NJ), a working scientist before entering the House last year, joined climate change experts on the Capitol steps today as they pressed Congress to listen to the scientific community's message: global warming is a serious threat that demands action.

"We are astonished that some members of Congress continue to ignore warnings from the scientific community," said Dr. Walt Oechel, director of the Global Change Research Group and professor of biology at San Diego State University. "Climate scientists from around the world are in wide agreement that global warming is real and could greatly disrupt society."

The congressional leadership has become increasingly isolated in its attempt to wish away global warming. Even General Motors, British Petroleum, DuPont, Boeing and other industry powerhouses now acknowledge climate change and the serious threat it poses to public health and the environment.

"For too long a vocal minority denying climate change has had the ear of Congress," said Dr. Richard Gammon, a professor of chemistry, oceanography, and atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington. Dr. Gammon is an IPCC contributing author and Science Advisor to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). "We hope our presence today serves as a wake up call on this important issue."

Over the next century, further unchecked increases in the atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat-trapping gases will cause more extreme changes in global climate patterns, posing a threat to human health and the environment. Congress must initiate policies that cut emissions of global warming gases through greater use of energy-efficient technologies, transportation reforms, and a shift to renewable energy sources.

"Congress needs to be better prepared to make the right decisions about climate change," said Dr. Donald Wuebbles, professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois and a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. "We can't just ignore the risks to the American people associated with the great potential of human impacts on climate change."

States represented by scientists in attendance: California, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Maryland, Maine, Michigan, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin, West Virginia.


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