Climate Skeptics Now ‘Relegated to the Fringe’

Climate Skeptics Now ‘Relegated to the Fringe’
By Susan Jones Senior Editor
February 02, 2007

( – The National Audubon Society has no doubt that global warming is caused by human activity, and therefore, it argues, humans must do something about it.

A report summary issued Friday by the U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change “should erase any doubts, even among the most dedicated skeptics, that the time for action to combat global warming is now,” said National Audubon President John Flicker.

“This is a wake up call not just to those who love birds, wildlife and the natural environment, but to anyone who cares about the future that our children and grandchildren will inherit,” he added.

The National Audubon Society described the IPCC summary (the full report will follow in a few months) as “the most reliable and comprehensive statement of what scientists know about global warming…This report leaves no room for doubt, and it has never been clearer that Congress has no time to waste.”

As for those who question the latest scientific consensus on global warming — ignore them, Flicker suggested: “The clarity and completeness of the IPCC’s global warming findings permanently relegates skeptics to the fringe,” he said.

Flicker urged lawmakers to quickly adopt mandatory measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. He also stressed the need for energy efficiency and renewable-energy legislation.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued three reports on the science of global warming since 1990. The National Audubon Society noted that each report is more certain than the last about the human impact on climate change.

The report summary released on Friday called it “very likely” (more than a 90 percent certainty) that human activity is raising global temperatures. The previous IPCC report, issued in 2001, called it “likely.”

Established in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program, the IPCC assesses the “risk of human-induced climate change.”

Corporations diving in

A number of businesses are jumping on the climate-change bandwagon.

DuPont on Friday issued a statement calling climate change “a serious global issue that must be addressed through concerted global action.”

DuPont’s Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer Linda Fisher said the company believes the science on global warming is strong enough — and the potential risks are serious enough — to prompt quick action.

“We believe that voluntary [greenhouse gas reduction] measures, while constructive, are not sufficient to address an issue of this magnitude by themselves. The challenge is global and requires broad and coordinated action across all sectors of the economy,” Fisher said.

She said it’s time for the federal government to act on climate change legislation, and she said that’s why DuPont — and a number of other corporations — have joined the United States Climate Action Partnership, which hopes to force changes in federal global warming policy.

DuPont says it has reduced greenhouse gas emissions more than 70 percent since 1991, saving more than $3 billion in the process.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading critic of those who insist that humans are causing global warming, contends the science isn’t settled, and he says major policy changes should stem from fact, not consensus.

Critics like Inhofe say media hype and leftist political agendas — not science — are steering the national discussion on global warming.

“This is a political document, not a scientific report, and it is a shining example of the corruption of science for political gain,” Inhofe said on Friday.

“The media has failed to report that the IPCC Summary for Policymakers [the document released on Friday] was not approved by scientists but by U.N. political delegates and bureaucrats,” he added, noting that the IPCC will release the actual scientific report until May 2007.

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