Climate Change Quotes

Updated: July 25, 2012
See also: The Climate Change Consensus

Organizational | Individual | Reports

Organizational Quotes

Click the organization’s name to access the quote source.

U.S. Department of Defense

“Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments…While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict…”

American Geophysical Union

The Earth’s climate is now clearly out of balance and is warming. Many components of the climate system—including the temperatures of the atmosphere, land and ocean, the extent of sea ice and mountain glaciers, the sea level, the distribution of precipitation, and the length of seasons—are now changing at rates and in patterns that are not natural and are best explained by the increased atmospheric abundances of greenhouse gases and aerosols generated by human activity during the 20th century.”

InterAcademy Panel

The current rate of change is much more rapid than during any event over the last 65 million years. These changes in ocean chemistry are irreversible for many thousands of years, and the biological consequences could last much longer.”

International Council for Science

“Over the past decade, the scientific evidence – much of it coming out of ICSU’s own research programmes – that deleterious environmental change is occurring, has become irrefutable. The Earth’s environment is changing on all scales from local (e.g. air, soil and water pollution) to regional (e.g. acid deposition and land degradation) and global (e.g. climate change and loss of biodiversity). These changes are to a large measure due to human activities and their negative effects are disproportionately felt in poorer countries.”

American Society of Agronomy

American Society of Agronomy

“A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. The potential related impacts of climate change on the ability of agricultural systems, which include soil and water resources, to provide food, feed, fiber, and fuel, and maintenance of ecosystem services (e.g., water supply and habitat for crop landraces, wild relatives, and pollinators) as well as the integrity of the environment, are major concerns.

International Alliance of Research Universities

“Addressing the impacts of climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing the global community. While individual commitment to modifying the human impact on the environment is needed, this response must be lead by governments, industry and academia.”

American Physical Society

“Even with the uncertainties in the models, it is increasingly difficult to rule out that non-negligible increases in global temperature are a consequence of rising anthropogenic CO2. Thus given the significant risks associated with global climate change, prudent steps should be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions now.”

The Royal Society, Natural Environment Research Council, Met Office

“Some countries and regions are already vulnerable to climate variability and change, but in the coming decades all countries will be affected, regardless of their affluence or individual emissions. Climate change will have major consequences for food production, water availability, ecosystems and human health, migration pressures, and regional instability.”

National Intelligence Council

U.S. National Intelligence Council

“We judge global climate change will have wide-ranging implications for US national security interests over the next 20 years…We assess that climate change alone is unlikely to trigger state failure in any state out to 2030, but the impacts will worsen existing problems—such as poverty, social tensions, environmental degradation, ineffectual leadership, and weak political institutions. Climate change could threaten domestic stability in some states, potentially contributing to intra- or, less likely, interstate conflict, particularly over access to increasingly scarce water resources.”

International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics

“Continuing reliance on…fossil fuels as the world’s primary source of energy will lead to much higher atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which will, in turn, cause significant increases in surface temperature, sea level, ocean acidification, and their related consequences to the environment and society.”

Joint letter to U.S. Senate from 18 U.S. scientific organizations

“Observations throughout the world make it clear that climate change is occurring, and rigorous scientific research demonstrates that the greenhouse gases emitted by human activities are the primary driver….For the United States, climate change impacts include sea level rise for coastal states, greater threats of extreme weather events, and increased risk of regional water scarcity, urban heat waves, western wildfires, and the disturbance of biological systems throughout the country. The severity of climate change impacts is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades. If we are to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, emissions of greenhouse gases must be dramatically reduced.”

Federation of Australian Scientific and Technological Societies

“Key vulnerabilities arising from climate change include water resources, food supply, health, coastal settlements, biodiversity and some key ecosystems such as coral reefs and alpine regions. As the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases, impacts become more severe and widespread.

G8+5 Science Academies’ joint statement

“Climate change and sustainable energy supply are crucial challenges for the future of humanity. It is essential that world leaders agree on the emission reductions needed to combat negative consequences of anthropogenic climate change.”

British Antarctic Survey

“Since this last [IPCC] Assessment Report the scientific evidence for dangerous, long-term and potentially irreversible climate change caused by human activity has strengthened significantly.”


Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society

“The changes in temperatures cannot be adequately explained by either natural variability nor natural causes of change such as solar variability or volcanic eruptions. Hence, researchers involved in these studies conclude with 95% confidence that recent changes in climate at global and continental scales are caused by human emissions.”

Society of Biology, UK

“Rises in temperature will have complex and frequently localised effects on weather, but an overall increase in extreme weather conditions and changes in precipitation patterns are probable, resulting in flooding and drought…The repercussions for agriculture and ecology are likely to be severe.

Ecological Society of Australia

Ecological Society of Australia

“There is now strong scientific consensus that the world’s atmosphere and climate are changing…Changes in temperature, water availability and atmospheric composition will affect most plants, animals and micro-organisms in some way. Any increase in climate variability, especially in extreme events, would have greater ecological effects than a change in mean conditions.”

Geological Society of London

It is not possible to relate the Earth’s warming since 1970 to anything recognisable as having a geological cause (such as volcanic activity, continental displacement, or changes in the energy received from the sun).”

Open Letter to the Government of Canada from 5 Canadian Scientific Organizations

“Rigorous international research, including work carried out and supported by the Government of Canada, reveals that greenhouse gases resulting from human activities contribute to the warming of the atmosphere and the oceans and constitute a serious risk to the health and safety of our society, as well as having an impact on all life…We must act responsibly. We must act now. We must act in concert with other industrialized nations.”

European Academy of Sciences and Arts

“Most of the climatic warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Documented long-term climate changes include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. The above development potentially has dramatic consequences for mankind’s future. Against this background, the European Academy of Sciences and Arts…agrees that only sustained global movement can achieve actions required to confront the rising tide of climate change.”

American Institute of Physics

“Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century…A particular concern is that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide may be rising faster than at any time in Earth’s history, except possibly following rare events like impacts from large extraterrestrial objects…Moreover, research indicates that increased levels of carbon dioxide will remain in the atmosphere for hundreds to thousands of years. It is virtually certain that increasing atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases will cause global surface climate to be warmer…The hydrologic cycle will change and intensify, leading to changes in water supply as well as flood and drought patterns…Some impacts have already occurred, and for increasing concentrations there will be increasing impacts. The unprecedented increases in greenhouse gas concentrations, together with other human influences on climate over the past century and those anticipated for the future, constitute a real basis for concern.”

American Chemical Society

“Comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem.”


National Aeronautics and Space Administration

“All three major global surface temperature reconstructions show that Earth has warmed since 1880. Most of this warming has occurred since the 1970s, with the 20 warmest years having occurred since 1981 and with all 10 of the warmest years occurring in the past 12 years. Even though the 2000s witnessed a solar output decline resulting in an unusually deep solar minimum in 2007-2009, surface temperatures continue to increase.”

European Federation of Geologists

“The EFG recognizes…that climate change is happening, is predominantly caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2, and poses a significant threat to human civilization…It is clear that major efforts are necessary to quickly and strongly reduce CO2 emissions. The EFG strongly advocates renewable and sustainable energy production, including geothermal energy, as well as the need for increasing energy efficiency.”

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme

“A compilation of mass balance estimates all indicate that the Greenland Ice Sheet has experienced an overall loss of ice since the early 1990s. Between 1995 and 2000 the estimated annual loss of ice averaged about 50 Gt; but, by 2003–2006 the rate of loss had increased dramatically, to an average of about 160 Gt per year. This is equivalent to an annual rise in sea level of 0.44 mm…The mass loss observed since 1990 is a direct consequence of the warming climate over the Greenland Ice Sheet. The future strong warming that is predicted to occur in the high northern latitudes will lead to increased mass loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet with local, regional and global impacts.

California Academy of Sciences

“There is a broad, scientific consensus that our current environmental demands are unsustainable, causing climate change, degradation of natural habitats, loss of species, and shortages of essential resources.”

International Association for Great Lakes Research

“While the Earth’s climate has changed many times during the planet’s history because of natural factors, including volcanic eruptions and changes in the Earth’s orbit, never before have we observed the present rapid rise in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2)…A small amount of greenhouse gas is necessary to keep the planet’s surface warm enough to sustain life. However, as human activities release more and more greenhouse gases, the Earth’s average temperature continues to rise. The gases will remain in the atmosphere for decades to centuries.”

International Union for Quaternary Research

“The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. A lack of full scientific certainty about some aspects of climate change is not a reason for delaying an immediate response that will, at a reasonable cost, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system….Major changes in ecosystem function and structure, and in ecological interactions and ranges of species will occur if global temperatures increase more than 2 centigrade degrees. Such an increase will have largely negative consequences for biodiversity and ecosystem services, including water and food supply.”

Australian Institute of Marine Science

“Tropical marine environments such as coral reefs and mangrove forests around the world are under unprecedented pressure due to climate change, changes in water quality from terrestrial runoff and overexploitation…If projections are correct that pH could decrease by up to 0.4 pH units by the end of this century, this would be well outside the realms of anything organisms have experienced over hundreds of thousands of years…Absorption of CO2 by seawater may not only result in changes to seawater pH, it also changes the composition of the dissolved gases available for animals to breathe through their gills. Absorbing more CO2 into their bodies may have an effect on their health and behaviour and may unnaturally alter the pH of their body fluids.”

American Association for the Advancement of Science

“The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society…The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last five years. The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now…As expected, intensification of droughts, heat waves, floods, wildfires, and severe storms is occurring, with a mounting toll on vulnerable ecosystems and societies. These events are early warning signs of even more devastating damage to come, some of which will be irreversible. Delaying action to address climate change will increase the environmental and societal consequences as well as the costs. The longer we wait to tackle climate change, the harder and more expensive the task will be.

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Individual Quotes

Frank L. Bowman

ADM, USN (Ret.), Co-Chair, Committee on National Security Implications of Climate Change for U.S. Naval Forces

March 2011“Even the most moderate predicted trends in climate change will present new national security challenges for the U.S. Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard…Naval forces need to monitor more closely and start preparing now for projected challenges climate change will present in the future.”

Robert W. Fri

Chair, Panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change, National Research Council

May 2010“The principal conclusion of our report is that the country needs both a prompt and a sustained national commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions.”

Pamela A. Matson

Chair, Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change, National Research Council
Dean of School of Earth Sciences, Stanford University

September 2010“This is not about a belief. This is about evidence. This is about observations. This is about an accumulated body of knowledge that tells us something about the way the world is working. We are having a huge footprint on the planet.”

Stefan Rahmstorf

Professor of Physics of the Oceans, Department Head, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany

December 2009“Science knew already in the 19th Century that greenhouse gases cause global warming – it is standard physics. The warming was predicted and has been unfolding as predicted for the past decades. It is hard to grasp that we’re still talking, instead of cutting our emissions.”

Richard Somerville

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, USA

December 2009“Carbon dioxide emissions cannot be allowed to continue to rise if humanity intends to limit the risk of unacceptable climate change. The task is urgent and the turning point must come soon. If we are to avoid more than 2 degrees Celsius warming, which many countries have already accepted as a goal, then emissions need to peak before 2020 and then decline rapidly.”

Matthew England

ARC Federation Fellow and joint Director of the Climate Change Research Centre of the University of NSW, Australia

December 2009“We have already almost exceeded the safe level of emissions that would ensure a reasonably secure climate future. Within just a decade global emissions need to be declining rapidly. A binding treaty is needed urgently to ensure unilateral action among the high emitters.”

Daniel P. Schrag

Daniel Schrag

Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Harvard University, Director of Harvard University Center for the Environment

February 2009“There is great inertia in the climate system, in the heat capacity of the oceans, in ice sheets, and in the residence time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (and in the lifetime of our energy infrastructure), all of which make substantial climate change inevitable. What this means is that we cannot wait until we actually see a disaster before we work on a solution. By the time we know whether the most extreme consequences of climate change will occur, it may well be too late to stop them.”

Ralph J. Cicerone

Ralph J. Cicerone

President, U.S. National Academy of Sciences

November 2010“The amount of solar energy reaching the Earth has not increased during the time of the observed climate changes. So we are left with the realization that the enhanced greenhouse effect is 15 or 20 times larger than the difference between solar maximum and solar minimum in the output of the sun. Moreover, the enhanced greenhouse effect is not oscillating, it is simply continuing to rise, so the evidence today rules out any significant role for solar changes in causing the observed climate changes of the last several decades.”

Jason Box

Jason Box

Associate Professor, Geography, Atmospheric Sciences Program, Researcher at Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University

Retrieved July 2012“In response to warming, many of the planet’s largest glaciers have accelerated their flow speeds. Several of the largest Greenland glaciers have accelerated by a factor of 2 or more, in response to changes at their fronts ultimately linkable to enhanced atmospheric and oceanic melting during a warming period. Antarctic glaciers, once dammed by shelf ice, have decanted, accelerating several times their formerly buttressed speed because melt water cut through the ice like acid, opened the flood gates.”

Martin Visbeck

Professor of Physical Oceanography and Deputy Director of IFM-GEOMAR

December 2009“Warming of the oceans and increased uptake of CO2 is of increasing concern for the marine environment. The loss of biodiversity due to upper ocean warming, ocean acidification and ocean de-oxygenation will add dramatically to the existing threats of overfishing and marine pollution.”

Katharine Hayhoe

Katharine Hayhoe

Research Assistant Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, Texas Tech University

March 2012“The past is no longer a guide to the future. Our climate, the average conditions that we grew up with, is not the same now as it was 30 years ago. Events that used to be very random and extreme are becoming much more frequent and more severe. We are going to be living in a different world than the one we grew up in, and we have to adapt to those changes.”

Jonathan Overpeck

Jonathan Overpeck

Co-Director, Institute of the Environment; Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Arizona

April 2011“The bottom-line is that New Mexico and the rest of the broad Southwest – extending from California through east Texas and Oklahoma – are at an increasing risk of unprecedented warming, drying and drought, and should prepare accordingly to ensure secure water supplies through this century.”

Thomas R. Karl

Thomas Karl

Director, National Climatic Data Center, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

March 2009“We face the challenge of adapting to multiple climate induced impacts including: sea level rise, ocean acidification, increased air temperature and changes in precipitation patterns (with implications for the availability of freshwater resources), increased frequency or intensity of extreme weather events (heat waves, coastal storms, droughts and heavy downpours), changing storm patterns, coastal erosion and inundation (and corresponding water quality problems, e.g., salt water intrusion), changes in crop yields, changes in ocean productivity (fisheries), and new human health problems ( changes in the climate-sensitive diseases and pests). Our efforts to adapt to changing climate will be occurring at a time of changing population dynamics, along with the continued expectations of a higher standard of living for both current and future generations.”

Nicolas Gruber

Professor for Environmental Physics, ETH Zürich

December 2009“The climate system does not provide us with a silver bullet. There is no escape but to start reducing greenhouse gas emissions as soon as possible.”

Corinne Le Quéré

University of East Anglia School of Environmental Sciences, UK

December 2009“Climate change is coming out even clearer and more rapidly in the recent data. The human contribution is not in doubt.”

Alan Haywood

Reader in Paleoclimatology, the University of Leeds, UK

December 2009“The reconstruction of past climate reveals that recent warming in the Arctic and in the Northern Hemisphere is highly inconsistent with natural climate variability over the last 2000 years.”

Richard Alley

Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and Associate of the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, Pennsylvania State University

November 2010“With high scientific confidence, human CO2 and other greenhouse gases are having a warming influence on the climate, and the resulting rise in temperature is contributing to changes in much of the world’s ice. Shrinkage of the large ice sheets was unexpected to many observers but appears to be occurring, and the poor understanding of these changes prevents reliable projections of future sea-level rise over long times. Large, rapid changes in the ice sheets, or in other parts of the Earth system, may be unlikely but cannot be excluded entirely, and such an event could have very large effects.”

Konrad Steffen

Konrad Steffen

Director, Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Science (CIRES)

September 2008“A gravity experiment satellite called GRACE measures the total ice loss. Results from the GRACE satellite reveal that Greenland ice is currently losing on the order of 150 – 200 cubic kilometers of ice annually. That is about 1 – 1.5 times all the ice we have in the European Alps….A US paleo-climate research group showed that during the last interglacial period (that is the warm period between ice ages) about 140,000 years ago, the climate was about 4°C warmer in Greenland than today. By that time, Greenland actually lost ice to cause about 1-2 meters of sea level rise. It took several centuries then to reach that warmer climate. Today we predict about the same amount of warming in less than 100 years in that region due to greenhouse gas feedbacks.”

Peter Gleick

Peter Gleick

Co-Founder and Director, Pacific Institute

December 2010“The science of climate change is clear and convincing that climate change is happening,
happening rapidly, and happening because of human activities…That science tells us that emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities not only will change the climate, but are already changing the climate. The evidence is now incontrovertible, even if a small minority cannot accept it.”

Lynn Goldman

Lynn Goldman

Dean, George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services

February 2011“Climate change is a public health issue and is one of the greatest threats to human health…Climate change influences the living environment on the most fundamental level, which means it affects the basic biological functions critical to life. It impacts the quality of air breathed, availability of food and drinking water, and the potential for disease to spread.”

Dennis McGinn

Dennis McGinn

Vice Admiral, USN Retired, Member, Military Advisory Board, CNA

July 2009“On the most basic level, climate change has the potential to create sustained natural and humanitarian disasters on a scale and at a frequency far beyond those we see today. The consequences of these disasters will likely foster political instability where societal demands for the essentials of life exceed the capacity of governments to cope.”

Benjamin D. Santer

Atmospheric Scientist, Program for Climate Model Diagnosis and Intercomparison, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory

November 2010“Over the last century, we have observed large and coherent changes in many different aspects of Earth’s climate. The oceans and land surface have warmed. Atmospheric moisture has increased. Rainfall patterns have changed. Glaciers have retreated over most of the globe. The Greenland Ice Sheet has lost some of its mass. Sea level has risen. Snow and sea-ice extent have decreased in the Northern Hemisphere. The stratosphere has cooled, and there are now reliable indications that the troposphere has warmed. The height of the tropopause has increased. Individually, all of these changes are consistent with our scientific understanding of how the climate system should be responding to anthropogenic forcing. Collectively, this behavior is inconsistent with the changes that we would expect to occur due to natural variability alone.”

Kevin Trenberth

Senior Scientist and Head of the Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research

February 2007“While there are uncertainties (although these cut both ways) and some changes arising from global warming may be benign or even beneficial, at least in some places and in the short run, the IPCC report shows that the rate of change as projected exceeds anything seen in nature in the past 10,000 years. Moreover, the inertia of the climate system and the long life of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere mean that we are already committed to a significant level of climate change. I believe that mitigation actions are certainly needed to significantly reduce the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere and lessen the magnitude and rate of climate change.”

Lonnie Thompson

Distinguished University Professor, School of Earth Sciences, Research Scientist, Byrd Polar Research Center, The Ohio State University

February 2010“The rate of change is really a surprise. In fact, if you think about our culture, it used to be if you talked about something changing at the speed of a glacier, that meant something very slow. But in the last ten years, that has really, really changed. And there have been more surprises at how rapidly an ice shelf can collapse or how rapidly a glacier can retreat up a valley, and it has tremendous impacts on people who live in areas where these glaciers do exist.”

Kerry Emanuel

Breene M. Kerr Professor of Atmospheric Science, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

March 2011“Without the handful of trace gases that do interact with radiation, notably water vapor, carbon dioxide, and methane, our planet would be a snowball…Over the past few decades, when solar output, as measured by satellites, has been decreasing slightly, there is little doubt that increasing global temperature is attributable to ever more rapidly increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases. We are undertaking an enormous experiment, and so far the response of the planet has been pretty much along the lines predicted more than a century ago.”

Jane Lubchenco

Jane Lubchenco

Administrator, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

December 2009“At one time, we talked about what human-induced climate change might look like at some point in the future. The latest science says that it’s happening now. We are now seeing the effects of human-induced climate changes on our landscape, our neighborhoods, schoolyards and farms, as well as our forests, beaches and mountains.”

Knute Nadelhoffer

Knute Nadelhoffer

Director, University of Michigan Biological Station, Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology

March 2011“We know the climate is changing. It is real, it is happening, and the impacts are becoming clearer the more we observe and study plant and animal distributions, nutrient cycles, atmospheric chemistry, and longterm, large-scale weather and climate patterns…These changes adversely impact people, wildlife, natural ecosystems and agricultural productivity. These basic facts are well documented both within the scientific literature, and elsewhere. More importantly, the science has become essentially irrefutable on this point — rising concentrations of greenhouse gases (mainly carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide) in the atmosphere, resulting from fossil fuel combustion and other human activities, are the primary drivers of these recent changes in the climate system. There are no other viable, science-based explanations for the effects we are seeing.”

Ken Caldeira

Department of Global Ecology, Carnegie Institution of Washington

June 2008“If carbon dioxide emissions continue along current trends, within a few decades there will be no water left anywhere in the ocean with the kind of chemistry that has supported coral growth over the past thousands and even millions of years. CO2 threatens the survival of coral reefs everywhere. If we’re lucky, we’ll lose just coral reefs and maybe a few other things. If we’re unlucky, we might see a wholesale shake-up of marine ecosystems across the board.”

Gerald A. Meehl

Gerald A. Meehl

Senior Scientist, National Center for Atmospheric Research

November 2010“Climate models can reproduce, to first order, the observed changes in temperature and precipitation extremes observed over the past 50 years or so. These have included more heat extremes, fewer cold extremes, greater increases in daily record high temperatures compared to daily record low temperatures, and increased precipitation intensity. This lends credibility to the climate models such that there is likely to be useful information in their climate projections about future changes of extremes. With continued increases of greenhouse gases and consequent warming, these model projections depict a world with ongoing increases in heat extremes and record heat, reductions in cold extremes and record cold, and greater precipitation intensity.”

Richard A. Feely

Richard Feely

Senior Scientist, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL), National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

November 2010“Ocean acidification is caused by the buildup of carbon dioxide and other acidic compounds in the atmosphere and is expected to have significant impacts on marine ecosystems. Results from laboratory, field and modeling studies, as well as evidence from the geological record, clearly indicate that marine ecosystems are highly susceptible to the increases in oceanic CO2 and the corresponding decreases in pH. Because of the very clear potential for ocean-wide impacts of ocean acidification at all levels of the marine ecosystem, from the tiniest phytoplankton to zooplankton to fish and shellfish, we can expect to see significant impacts that are of immense importance to humankind.”

Frank Ackerman

Frank Ackerman

Senior Economist, Stockholm Environment Institute, Tufts University

February 2009“The economic argument for inaction is wrong on two counts: it exaggerates the costs of reducing emissions, and it understates the harm that will occur if we continue to do little or nothing about climate change…The farther we look into the future, the worse that the costs of inaction will become. The longer we do nothing, the greater the risks of an irreversible climate catastrophe, such as a massive rise in sea levels, that could make the world unable to support anything like the current levels of population and economic activity. The costs and risks of inaction are overwhelmingly worse than the moderate and manageable costs of an immediate effort to reduce carbon emissions.”

Francis Zwiers

Francis Zwiers

Director, Pacific Climate Impacts Consortium, University of Victoria

March 2011“Changes in extreme temperature and the intensification of extreme precipitation events are natural consequences of a warming climate. A warmer climate would inevitably have more intense warm temperature extremes than the present climate, including longer and more intense heat waves, and less intense cold temperature extremes. Further, a warmer atmosphere can, and does, hold more water vapour…which implies that more moisture is available to form precipitation in extreme events and to provide additional energy to further intensify such events. Many of these expected changes have been observed, and in some instances, are beginning to be linked to human induced warming of the climate system.”

John Farrell

John Farrell

Executive Director, U.S. Arctic Research Commission

May 2010“The Arctic Ocean is changing rapidly, more so than any other ocean on Earth. The rise in Arctic surface air temperatures has been nearly twice as large as the global average in recent decades. Indigenous observations of Arctic environmental change…and scientific observations document unusual weather patterns, a warmer climate, diminishing sea ice, changes in ocean currents and circulation, coastal erosion, and concomitant modifications in marine ecosystems, as evidenced by migrations of fish stocks, marine mammal haul outs, and other indicators.”

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Published Report Quotes

The following are excerpts from published reports on the subject of climate change. Links to these and other reports can be found on the “Research the Details” page.

U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment - Global Water Security

Global Water Security

U.S. Intelligence Community Assessment

February 2012“Between now and 2040, global demand for fresh water will increase, but the supply of fresh water will not keep pace with demand absent more effective management of water resources…With more than one-sixth of the Earth’s population relying on meltwater from glaciers and seasonal snowpacks for their water supply, reductions in meltwater caused by climate change induced receding glaciers and reduced snow packs will have significant impacts.”

National Round Table - Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada

Paying the Price: The Economic Impacts of Climate Change for Canada

National Round Table on the Environment and the Economy (Canada)

September 2011“Climate change costs for Canada could escalate from roughly $5 billion per year in 2020 — less than 10 years away — to between $21 billion and $43 billion per year by the 2050s. The magnitude of costs depends upon a combination of two factors: global emissions growth and Canadian economic and population growth.”

State of the Climate 2010

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

June 2011“The 2010 average global land and ocean surface temperature was among the two warmest years on record. The Arctic continued to warm at about twice the rate of lower latitudes…Coastal sites in Alaska show continuous permafrost warming and sites in Alaska, Canada, and Russia indicate more significant warming in relatively cold permafrost than in warm permafrost in the same geographical area. With regional differences, permafrost temperatures are now up to 2°C warmer than they were 20 to 30 years ago.”

AMAP - Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic

Snow, Water, Ice, and Permafrost in the Arctic

Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme

Spring 2011“The Arctic is warming. Surface air temperatures in the Arctic since 2005 have been higher than for any five-year period since measurements began around 1880. The increase in annual average temperature since 1980 has been twice as high over the Arctic as it has been over the rest of the world. Evidence from lake sediments, tree rings and ice cores indicates that Arctic summer temperatures have been higher in the past few decades than at any time in the past 2000 years.”

Australia Climate Commission - The Critical Decade

The Critical Decade

Australia Climate Commission

May 2011“The evidence that the Earth’s surface is warming rapidly is now exceptionally strong and beyond doubt. Evidence for changes in other aspects of the climate system is also strengthening. The primary cause of the observed warming and associated changes since the mid-20th century – human emissions of greeenhouse gases – is also known with a high level of confidence.”

The Royal Society (UK) - Climate Change: A Summary of the Science

Climate Change: A Summary of the Science

The Royal Society (UK)

September 2010“There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century. This warming trend is expected to continue as are changes in precipitation over the long term in many regions. Further and more rapid increases in sea level are likely which will have profound implications for coastal communities and ecosystems.”

America's Climate Choices - Advancing the Science of Climate Change

America’s Climate Choices: Advancing the Science of Climate Change

U.S. National Research Council

May 2010“Natural climate variability leads to year-to-year and decade-to-decade fluctuations in temperature and other climate variables, as well as substantial regional differences, but cannot explain or offset the long-term warming trend…Human-induced climate change and its impacts will continue for many decades, and in some cases for many centuries. Individually and collectively, these changes pose risks for a wide range of human and environmental systems, including freshwater resources, the coastal environment, ecosystems, agriculture, fisheries, human health, and national security, among others.”

U.S. Department of Defense - Quadrennial Defense Review Report

Quadrennial Defense Review Report

U.S. Department of Defense

February 2010“Assessments conducted by the intelligence community indicate that climate change could have significant geopolitical impacts around the world, contributing to poverty, environmental degradation, and the further weakening of fragile governments. Climate change will contribute to food and water scarcity, will increase the spread of disease, and may spur or exacerbate mass migration.

While climate change alone does not cause conflict, it may act as an accelerant of instability or conflict, placing a burden to respond on civilian institutions and militaries around the world.”

U.S. Global Change Research Program - Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States

U.S. Global Change Research Program

June 2009“Climate-related changes have already been observed globally and in the United States. These include increases in air and water temperatures, reduced frost days, increased frequency and intensity of heavy downpours, a rise in sea level, and reduced snow cover, glaciers, permafrost, and sea ice. A longer ice-free period on lakes and rivers, lengthening of the growing season, and increased water vapor in the atmosphere have also been observed. Over the past 30 years, temperatures have risen faster in winter than in any other season, with average winter temperatures in the Midwest and northern Great Plains increasing more than 7ºF. Some of the changes have been faster than previous assessments had suggested.”

Stern Review - The Economics of Climate Change

The Stern Review: The Economics of Climate Change

UK Economics and Finance Ministry

January 2007“The evidence shows that ignoring climate change will eventually damage economic growth. Our actions over the coming few decades could create risks of major disruption to economic and social activity, later in this century and in the next, on a scale similar to those associated with the great wars and the economic depression of the first half of the 20th century. And it will be difficult or impossible to reverse these changes. Tackling climate change is the pro-growth strategy for the longer term, and it can be done in a way that does not cap the aspirations for growth of rich or poor countries. The earlier effective action is taken, the less costly it will be.”

U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment - Changing by Degrees: Steps to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

Changing by Degrees: Steps to Reduce Greenhouse Gases

U.S. Congress Office of Technology Assessment

February 1991“We cannot yet predict the magnitude of climatic effects from greenhouse gas emissions with accuracy. But it is clear that the decision to limit emissions cannot await the time when the full impacts are evident. The lag time between emission of the gases and their full impact is on the order of decades to centuries; so too is the time needed to reverse any effects. Today’s emissions thus commit the planet to changes well into the 21st century. And the lag times between identification of policy options, legislation of controls, and actual implementation can also be considerable.”

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The Consensus

173 professional scientific organizations (and counting) around the world acknowledge the global impact of rising emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities

The Indicators

Climate Change Indicators Climate Change Indicators NASA GISS - Global Annual Mean Surface Air Temperature ChangeGlobal Temperature Sea level change from 1993 to the present day Global Sea Level Northern Hemisphere Sea Ice Anomaly, 1979-Present Arctic Ice Melt Glacial Retreat, 1980-2010 Glacial Retreat Atmospheric CO2 Concentrations, Mauna Loa Atmospheric CO2 Level
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