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  • Occupy Wall Street: What Just Happened?

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Exciting Advances for Climate Science

This has been a banner week for climate science and I wanted to share some of the exciting news with you. At a congressional hearing on Tuesday, UCS Senior Scientist Francesca Grifo testified about the results of a new UCS report exposing government interference in global warming research. And just this morning, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report reaffirming that the primary cause of global warming is human production of heat-trapping emissions.

These events have received media coverage from coast to coast and after years of silence—Congress is finally starting to address the critical issue of global warming. Our efforts to bring rigorous scientific analysis together with innovative policy solutions and committed citizen advocacy will be essential as we move forward from these major advances.

Speaking Out Against Political Interference in Climate Science

Testifying before Congress: UCS Senior Scientist Dr. Francesca Grifo, Rick Piltz, founder and director, Climate Science Watch, and former high-ranking official in the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP) and Dr. Drew Shindell, an ozone specialist and NASA climatologist.

At Tuesday’s hearing, Dr. Grifo released the results of a major investigation conducted by UCS and the Government Accountability Project that demonstrated that political interference in federal global warming science has become an epidemic. Scientific documents have been altered to misrepresent scientific findings, press releases have been watered down, and scientists have been prevented from speaking with the media about their research.Many members of Congress attended the hearing of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee and expressed great concern about the censorship and distortion of science on climate change and many other topics. The Senate will examine the issue next week. UCS has documented numerous abuses of science at agencies across the federal government.

Excerpts from Dr. Grifo’s testimony were carried on major network news broadcasts and in hundreds of newspapers nationwide, including ABC news, CNN, U.S. News and World Report, and public radio.

The hearing and the attention that has followed is a direct result of our collective effort to put political interference in science on the national agenda. Your letters, emails, and phone calls on behalf of independent science have helped us turn a critical corner in holding those who interfere with science accountable. Looking forward, with your help, UCS will advocate for reforms that protect scientist whistleblowers who report political interference and affirm the right of scientists to communicate freely with the media and the public.

At the hearing and in media interviews afterward, UCS stressed that more than 11,000 scientists, including 52 Nobel laureates, have signed a statement condemning the abuse of science and calling for a restoration of scientific integrity to federal policy making. Scientists, engineers, and health professionals with or working towards advanced degrees should show support for independent science by signing the statement here.

New Report Reaffirms Urgency of Global warming
Today, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released the most comprehensive review of climate science to date. The report makes clear that global warming is due primarily to human production of heat-trapping emissions and finds that continued warming will bring higher intensity storms, rising sea levels, and more intense precipitation.

“The IPCC report reaffirms that our emissions are the primary cause of global warming,” said Dr. Peter Frumhoff, chief scientist of UCS’s climate campaign. “The good news is that by taking action today to dramatically reduce our emissions, we can avoid much of the warming projected in this report.”

For more information, read the UCS announcement of the IPCC findings.

Meeting the Challenge of Climate Change
Also on Tuesday, Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee held an open hearing on global warming, drawing statements from 27 senators. UCS will build on this momentum by advocating for science-based bills introduced by Senator Bernie Sander (I-VT) and Representative Henry Waxman (D-CA) that set a long-term emission reduction target aimed at preventing the worst effects of global warming.

Global warming is one of the most serious challenges facing us today. Without strong action to defend science from political interference, our nation will be ill prepared to address the challenge. The momentum created by this week’s events is a promising sign. We’ll be looking to you for help in the months ahead as we meet more exciting opportunities and new challenges. Thank you for your support of a healthy environment and a safer world.

Kevin Knobloch
Kevin Knobloch

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