Email from Jane Lubchenco to OSU Faculty

---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Thu, 15 May 1997 11:32:34 -0700
From: G. Brent Dalrymple
To: faculty@OCE.ORST.EDU
Subject: Scientists' Statement on Climatic Change

The following is for your information and, if you agree, action.


______________________________ Forward Header __________________________________
Subject: Scientists' Statement on Climatic Change
Author: Jane Lubchenco at Internet_Gateway
Date: 5/15/97 9:46 AM

Dear Thayne, George, Tim, Brent, Dick, Fred and Bob,

I send this note to you as the deans of scientific colleges on campus. I write to ask your help in disseminating information about a Scientists' Statement on Climatic Change which is designed to help communicate scientific consensus about climatic change to policy makers as they prepare for negotiations on reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The statement is not controversial; it simply restates much of what is in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The initial signatories of the statement are Peter Raven, John Holdren, Sherry Rowland, Hal Mooney, George Woodwell and me. (All of these folks are members of the NAS; Peter is Home Secretary; Sherry is Foreign Secretary and a Nobel Laureate.)

More than 2000 economists recently weighed in on this issue with the strong message that it is in the nations' interests to reduce emissions. Tim Wirth, the Undersecretary of State for Global Affairs and one of our chief negotiators on this issue has told us it would be very helpful to the US policy folks if they had a comparable statement from a large group of scientists.

The need for the statement is immediate: key US policy meetings are scheduled for June. Hence, we are making every effort to alert a large group of scientists about the statement and give them the option of adding their signatures. AAAS is putting a note in SCIENCE; Ozone Action, a climate information group in Washington has posted it on their web page (; AAAS has a hot link from our home page ( to the Ozone Action page. Letters are being mailed to members of a few professional societies, but I think that we can get the word out more directly via email and the web.

I'm guessing that many scientists at OSU would like to know of the statement and might like to sign it. A letter of explanation and the statement are below. I can provide additional information and background if anyone wishes. I would be very grateful if you would forward this note to your faculty. Doing so does not constitute an endorsement or statement of insitutional policy, but simply a communication of an opportunity for individual scientists to participate should they decide to do so. Thanks for your help,



Dear OSU Scientist,

Despite the existence of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there is confusion in the policy arena about how scientists view the problem of climatic change. A recently released statement signed by over 2000 economists sent a clear and powrful message to the policy community about their strong support for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, both for climate and conservation of energy reasons. It is time for the scientific community to send a similarly strong message. I invite you to endorse the attached statement and to help circulate it for additional signatures.

The statement calls for early action by the United States in addressing the purposes of the Framework Convention on Climate Change, now ratified by more than 160 nations including the U.S. This statement was intiated and written by six of your collegues who hope you will join them in raising awareness about the threat of climatic change. The statement will be distributed with a complete list of supporters to the current administration, Congress, international polcy makers, public interest organizations, industry, and the news media in hopes of stimulating immediate action.

This year, governments around the world are negotiating a protocol on global climatic change that is to be signed in Kyoto, Japan this December. To date, the U.S. has been unwilling to put forward its proposal on targets and timetables for emissions reductions and has also stated that any emissions reductions before 2010 are premature. The succsss of the international negotiations largely depends upon U.S. leadership. The U.S. has an important opportunity to exercise leadership by taking precautionary measure to mitigate climatic changes in the face of substantial ecological and financial risks. Our immediate goal with the statement is to show scientific solidarity on this issue in time for critical policy meetings in mid June.

If you wish to participate in this effort, please print out and sign the endorsement form below by 6 June, 1997. Return the form by fax or mail to Ozone Action, a public information organization in Washington D.C., which is coordinating collection of signatures. Feel free to acccess or pass along Ozone Action's web site where the climate statement is posted ( and to pass along this message to any colleagues whom you think might like to know of the statement. Thanks!

Jane Lubchenco


June 1997

We are scientists who are familiar with the causes and effects of climatic change as summarized recently by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). We endorse those reports and observe that the further accumulation of greenhouse gases commits the earth irreversibly to further global climatic change and consequent ecological, economic and social disruption. The risks associated with such changes justify preventive action through reductions in emissions of greenhouse gases. In ratifying the Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States agreed in principle to reduce its emissions. It is time for the United States, as the largest emitter of greenhouse gases, to fulfill this commitment and demonstrate leadership in a global effort.

Human-induced global climatic change is under way. The IPCC concluded that global mean surface air temperature has increased by between about 0.5 and 1.1 degrees Fahrenheit in the last 100 years and anticipates a further continuing rise of 1.8 to 6.3 degrees Fahrenheit during the next century. Sea-level has risen on average 4-10 inches during the past 100 years and is expected to rise another 6 inches to 3 feet by 2100. Global warming from the increase in heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere causes an amplified hydrological cycle resulting in increased precipitation and flooding in some regions and more severe aridity in other areas. The IPCC concluded that "The balance of evidence suggests a discernible human influence on global climate." The warming is expected to expand the geographical ranges of malaria and dengue fever and to open large new areas to other human diseases and plant and animal pests. Effects of the disruption of climate are sufficiently complicated that it is appropiate to assume there will be effects not now anticipated.

Our familiarity with the scale, severity, and costs to human welfare of the disruptions that the climatic changes threaten leads us to introduce this note of urgency and to call for early domestic action to reduce U.S. emissions via the most cost-effective means. We encourage other nations to join in similar actions with the purpose of producing a substantial and progressive global reduction in greenhouse gas emissions beginning immediately. We call attention to the fact that there are financial as well as environmental advantages to reducing emissions. More than 2000 economists recently observed that there are many potential policies to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions for which total benefits outweigh the total costs.

The Framework Convention on Climate Change, ratified by the United States and more than 165 other nations, calls for stabilization of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at levels that will protect human interests and nature. The Parties to the Convention will meet in December, 1997, in Kyoto, Japan to prepare a protocol implementing the convention. We urge that the United States enter that meeting with a clear national plan to limit emissions, and a recommendation as to how the U.S. will assist other nations in significant steps toward achieving the joint purpose of stabilization.

Initial Signatories:

F. Sherwood Rowland
Peter H. Raven
Harold A. Mooney
John P. Holdren
Jane Lubchenco
George M. Woodwell