Scientists, Economists Urge Deep Cuts in Emissions

More than 1,700 of the nation's most prominent scientists and economists recently released a joint statement calling on policymakers to require immediate, deep reductions in heat-trapping emissions that cause global warming. The statement marks the first time leading U.S. scientists and economists have joined together to make such an appeal.

The statement stresses that implementing policies to achieve swift and substantial cuts is both economically sound and necessary to limit the worst consequences of climate change.

"There is a strong consensus that we must do something about reducing the emissions that cause global warming," said James McCarthy, president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and one of the statement's authors. "The debate right now is about how much we need to cut. The fact that so many scientists and economists have spoken out and signed this letter should give policymakers the confidence that we can avert serious adverse climate impacts."

Besides McCarthy, the statement authors include Mario Molina, a Nobel Prize winner in chemistry; Peter Frumhoff, director of science and policy at the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change lead author; Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University climatologist and a member of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS); and Geoff Heal, an economist at Columbia University's Business School. The signatories include six Nobel Prize winners in science or economics.

The United States should reduce global warming pollution "on the order of 80 percent below 2000 levels by 2050" and that the first step should be reductions of 15 to 20 percent below 2000 levels by 2020. The statement calls on the United States to set an example and bring nations together to meet the climate challenge.

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