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The State of Climate Change Science 2007, Part 2

Date: 
Tuesday, April 17, 2007 - 12:00am
Location: 
Washington, DC
The Findings of the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group II: Climate Change Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability

Opening Statement By Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN)

Good morning. Today we have six distinguished scientists who authored chapters of the second part of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) report that was released in Brussels on April 6.

This second report moves beyond the fact that global warming is occurring to provide us with a picture of what global warming means for natural systems and human communities throughout the world.

For the near term, the picture is a mosaic of positive and negative impacts. Some areas are now experiencing changes that have put them at greater risk from drought, avalanches, floods, and fires.

For others there are benefits in the form of lower heating costs, fewer deaths due to cold exposure, lengthening growing seasons, and increases in crop yields.

Even our national security could be impacted by the effects of climate change. Just yesterday, the Center for Naval Analysis released a study entitled, “National Security and the Threat of Climate Change,” which looks at possible security problems including mass migrations, increased border tensions, greater demands for rescue and evacuation efforts, and conflicts over essential resources-including food and water.

In the long term, negative impacts begin to overtake the positive impacts. If we do not reduce emissions of greenhouse gases our children and grandchildren will face considerable challenges due to climate change in the latter half of this century.

In the near term it appears we can implement strategies to cope with climate change impacts. We must start to adapt because the climate is changing and will continue to change even if we reduce emissions tomorrow.

Adaptation will help our generation to cope with climate change. However, only mitigation will avoid and delay severe climate change impacts our children and grandchildren are projected to face.

I do not want to leave my daughter and her generation with the burden of a world with greater food shortages, extended droughts, displaced coastal communities, increased public health problems, and political instability created by people displaced through climate-driven changes in their environments.

The information brought to us in this report makes a compelling case for action. We need to make our communities more climate resilient. Adaptation is an essential near term step to reduce vulnerability to climate change.

But adaptation alone is not enough. We owe it to our children and all future generations to lead the world in a global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

I thank our witnesses for appearing before the Committee today. Thank you also for your service on the IPCC. I look forward to hearing your testimony.

Witnesses

Panel

3 - Dr. Virginia Burkett
Lead Author, IPCC Working Group II Chapter 6: Coastal Systems and Low Lying Areas Chapter 6: Coastal Systems and Low Lying Areas
Download the Witness Testimony

2 - Dr. William E. Easterling
Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Working Group II Chapter 5: Food Fibre and Forest Products Chapter 5: Food Fibre and Forest Products
Download the Witness Testimony

5 - Dr. Roger Pulwarty
Lead Author, IPCC Working Group II Chapter 17: Assessment of Adaptation Practices, Options, Constraints and Capacity Chapter 17: Assessment of Adaptation Practi
Download the Witness Testimony

1 - Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig
Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Working Group II Chapter 1: Assessment of Observed Changes and Responses in Natural and Managed Systems Chapter 1: Assessment of
Download the Witness Testimony

6 - Dr. Stephen Schneider
Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Working Group II Chapter 19: Assessing Key Vulnerabilities and the Risk from Climate Change Chapter 19: Assessing Key Vulnerabili
Download the Witness Testimony

4 - Dr. Shardul Agrawala
Coordinating Lead Author, IPCC Working Group II Chapter 17: Assessment of Adaptation Practices, Options, Constraints and Capacity Chapter 17: Assessment of Adap
Download the Witness Testimony

Witness Panel
Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig testifies before the full Committee
Dr. Rosenzweig
Dr. William E. Easterling testifies before the full Committee
Dr. Easterling
Dr. Virginia Burkett testifies before the full Committee
Dr. Burkett
Dr. Shardul Agrawala testifies before the full Committee
Dr. Agrawala
Dr. Roger Pulwarty testifies before the full Committee
Dr. Pulwarty
Dr. Stephen H. Schneider testifies before the full Committee
Dr. Schneider
For information on the witnesses, use the links at left
110th Congress