This statement was approved by the American Geological Institute's Executive Committee in January 1999. It was subsequently distributed to the presidents of AGI's Member Societies seeking their endorsement. After obtaining endorsements from 16 member society presidents, the statement was distributed to Congress that December.
American Geological Institute
GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE
Global climate change is one of the major policy issues facing the United States. The policy decisions that face our Nation's leaders must be based on the best available scientific information. The American Geological Institute (AGI) strongly supports education concerning the scientific evidence of past climate change, the potential for future climate change due to the current building of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases, and the policy options available. AGI recognizes that:
The American Geological Institute is a federation of 34 member societies whose 100,000 individual members represent a broad array of interests and expertise in the earth sciences. This statement has been endorsed by the elected leadership of the American Geological Institute and the 1998-1999 presidents of the following member societies:
Earth science is central to questions concerning climate change. Understanding the interactions between the solid Earth, the oceans, the biosphere, and the atmosphere both in the present and over time is critical for accurately analyzing and predicting global climate change due to natural processes and possible human influences.
The Earth's climate has changed continuously through geologic time and will undoubtedly change in the future. Geological, geochemical, and other evidence indicates that some of the changes that occurred in the past have been rapid -- occurring within decades.
Because rapid climate change would have significant economic and social impacts on our society, further research is required to elucidate geological, chemical, and biological interactions responsible for past climate change and to evaluate how these processes shape our climate today. Further research is also required to evaluate the relative impact of human activity on global climate and the interaction of such activity with the underlying natural processes. In particular, studies are needed to better understand past rapid climate change and sequestration of carbon in rock, soil, and biomass. This research deserves high priority in federal funding.
Uncertainty is inherent to our understanding of complex natural systems, particularly with respect to prediction of the future behavior of such systems. Such uncertainty must be communicated to and taken into account by policymakers.
- American Association of Petroleum Geologists
- American Institute of Professional Geologists
- Association for Women Geoscientists
- Association of American State Geologists
- The Clay Minerals Society
- Geo-Institute of the American Society of Civil Engineers
- Geological Society of America
- International Association of Hydrogeologists/U.S. National Chapter
- National Association of Geoscience Teachers
- North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature
- Paleontological Research Institution
- The Society for Organic Petrology
- Society for Sedimentary Geology (SEPM)
- Society of Independent Professional Earth Scientists
- Society of Vertebrate Paleontology
- Soil Science Society of America
Please send any comments or requests for information to AGI Government Affairs Program at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted February 12, 1999; Last updated December 29, 1999