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Global Climate Change Digest

A Guide to Information on Greenhouse Gases and Ozone Depletion
Published July 1988 through June 1999



Item #d97aug68

Since the beginning of 1997 professionals in several disciplines have issued statements on climate change. We summarize these below, along with the results of a survey of climate scientists. References to further information in the Global Change Electronic Edition (GCEE) Web site (, which also hosts this Digest, are given when appropriate.

Ecologists: A letter sent to President Clinton May 21 endorses the recent IPCC assessment and calls for the U.S. to demonstrate leadership in forging an international response to climate change. Signed by 21 prominent ecological scientists, the letter has also been endorsed by at least 2,400 scientists in the same and other disciplines. The Ecologists' Statement on the Consequences of Rapid Climatic Change was circulated for additional signatures by Ozone Action, 1636 Connecticut Ave. NW, Washington DC 20009 (tel: 202 265 6738; fax: 202 986 6041; WWW: The text and related material are found in the GCEE June 1997 listings.

Economists: Over 300 Canadian economists endorsed a statement circulated by the David Suzuki Foundation calling on the government to employ market-based mechanisms that could reduce greenhouse gas emissions and still provide economic benefits. In January 1997, 2,000 U.S. economists signed the same statement. (See Global Climate Change Digest, News, Mar. 1997.) Contact the Foundation at 2211 West 4th Ave. #219, Vancouver BC V6K 4S2 (tel: 604 732 4228; fax: 604 732 0752).

A similar statement signed by 131 economists was released in Australia in June. Contact the Australia Inst., POB 72, Lyneham, ACT 2602, Australia (tel: 61 6 249 6221; fax: 61 6 249 6448).

Physicians: A letter signed by over 350 members of Physicians for Social Responsibility, sent to President Clinton in January 1997, called for prompt and effective actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The Administration responded positively, and an international version was circulated for signatures and submitted to the heads of state attending the Rio + 5 conference of the United Nations in June 1997. The letters are found in the GCEE July 1997 listings, or contact Physicians for Social Responsibility at 1101 14th St. NW, S. 700, Washington DC 20005 (tel: 202 898 0150; fax: 202 898 0172; WWW:

Climate scientists: A survey circulated to 1,000 climate scientists in Canada, Germany and the U.S. is summarized in the U.N.'s Climate Change Bulletin (2nd Quarter, 1997). The scientists were asked to rate on a scale of 1 to 7 their agreement with the statement "We can say for certain that global warming is a process already underway." The mean response was 3.3, which the pollsters (two climate scientists from Germany) interpret to mean that the majority of respondents "tended to agree that global warming is underway." However, the percentage who strongly agreed ranged from 3% in the U.S., to 13% in Germany, and 23% in Canada.

There was stronger agreement (a mean of 5.6 out of 7) with the need for immediate policy decisions, regardless of whether climate change is apparent.

For more information contact Dennis Bray, Meteorologishes Inst. der Univ., Bundesstr. 55, D-20146 Hamburg, Ger. (tel: 49 40 41173 228; e-mail: The survey summary is available on the Climate Convention Secretariat's Web site (, in the GCEE August 1997 listings, or from the UNEP Info. Unit for Conventions, CP356, 1219 Châtelaine, Switz.

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