Greenpeace, which has been critical of the ACES legislation, came out with a strongly worded statement jabbing at the White House.
“The White House report on climate change is a stark confirmation of what scientists have been saying for years: unless we dramatically curb our emissions, the world will face unprecedented climate disruptions that will lead to drought, flooding, rising seas, food insecurity and mass displacement,” Greenpeace USA Climate Campaign Director Damon Moglen said in the statement. “But it begs the question: are the president and Congress taking the action necessary to avert this crisis?”
Turning up the heat
Even if President Obama himself doesn’t seize on the report to rally public support, environmentalists say Tuesday’s release will help them rally support for a bill in Congress.
“It should add motivation to solve this problem,” said David Doniger, policy director of the Climate Center at the Natural Resources Defense Council. “People care a lot more about the concrete changes that occur in their own state, cities, and backyards than they do about things that seem more abstract because they at a higher level or farther away.”
The report, said Tim Telleen-Lawton, a global warming advocate at Environment America, “really shows the power of acting now, acting quickly.”
Environment America has organizers working across the country, and the report gives their team members more ammunition when talking to citizens and legislators in specific regions.
“It’s a huge boost for us when we’re organizing in specific communities around the country,” said Telleen-Lawton. “The vast majority of the public realizes that something should be done about global warming, but I think people don’t realize how personal global warming is and how it will actually affect everyone.”
The lawmakers who have been most active on climate in Congress are already touting the report as evidence of the imminent need for action. “This report reinforces the science, renews our dedication to forging a national solution, and relegates the last bastions of climate denial to the dustbin of history,” said Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), co-author of the ACES bill. “We waited for eight years to take any action on global warming, even as the evidence mounted. Our economy, our environment, and our planet can wait no longer.”
Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee, issued a similar statement: “The findings released today add urgency to the growing momentum in Congress for legislation that cuts global warming pollution, creates millions of clean energy jobs and whole new industries, and breaks our dependence on foreign oil.”
The scientists presenting the report also expressed hope that it will increase awareness of the current and potential impacts among those in Congress who have been unwilling to support political action on climate change.
“The observed changes are not changes to be debated,” said Thomas Karl, head of NOAA’s Climatic Data Center. “They are facts to be dealt with.”
Below, slides released by the U.S. Global Change Research Program: