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CEO DATELINE – Science, medical groups react to climate report

Nov. 26, 2018
By Lori Sharn

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When thousands of scientists gather in Washington, D.C., next month for the American Geophysical Union’s annual conference, a new report on climate change—released by the Trump Administration the day after Thanksgiving—will be top of mind.  AGU’s fall meeting will include a Dec. 11 session with highlights from the Fourth National Climate Assessment. This session will be streamed on Facebook Live.

The following day, an exhibit at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center will feature posters for each chapter of the hefty report, with authors on hand to answer questions.

The congressionally mandated assessment had long been targeted for release in December.  That the Trump Administration chose to move up the release date to Black Friday was seen by many observers as an attempt to bury news that contradicts the president’s views on global warming. 

The report “finds that our changing climate will exacerbate existing vulnerabilities, challenging or undermining efforts to protect human health and safety, quality of life, and the rate of economic growth,” AGU CEO Chris McEntee wrote in a Nov. 23 blog post.  “Whether you are a farmer in the Southwest who just lost their harvest from a drought, or an Alaskan native whose village is threatened by declining permafrost, the report finds you as risk from climate change.”

The study, involving 13 federal agencies and more than 300 scientists, resulted from a 1990 law requiring that a national climate assessment be conducted every four years.

Rush Holt, CEO of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, said in a statement: “We will continue to implore decision-makers at all levels—local, state, regional and national—to use scientific evidence as they find opportunities for communities to respond effectively to climate change. The scientific community stands ready to help inform your choices.”

The Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health, of coalition of 22 groups representing doctors, also weighed in.

“We’re all at risk from climate change, but this report further highlights the unacceptable reality that older adults, children, people with chronic illnesses or lower incomes and some communities of color are facing the greatest threats from climate change,” said Consortium Director Mona Sarfati.

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