On Friday, September 27th, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) published its Working Group Report on the Physical Science Basis of Climate Change. In conjunction, President Obama released his own statement concerning the report.
In the statement, President Obama reaffirms his administration’s acknowledgement of the scientific community’s belief in human-driven climate change. Specifically, the statement points to the report’s conclusion that “the Earth’s climate is changing in ways not explainable by natural variability and that the primary cause is emission of heat-trapping substances by human activities.”
The statement recognizes the work that has gone into the report, including five years of research by scientists from across the globe, asserting that the report “represents the most comprehensive and authoritative synthesis of scientific knowledge about global climate change ever generated.” The statement notes U.S. investments that enabled many of the scientific findings that provide the basis of the report, as well as the American scientists – both government and private – who contributed to the report.
While the president’s statement genuinely endorses the IPCC’s report and the work of the IPCC in general, this release is basically an encouraging “thumbs up” to the panel. Earlier this month the Obama Administration, via the Environmental Protection Agency, proposed stricter carbon emission rules for power plants, to be implemented in 2014. On June 28th of this year, President Obama gave a speech detailing plans and goals of his energy strategy. Indeed, the direction of his administration’s energy policy has not deviated through most of his presidency – and incidentally, those policies are widely supported.
The administration has already taken real action toward achieving its goals, including proposing stricter carbon emission regulations, raising automobile fuel standards, and making significant investments in energy and technology businesses through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The statement supporting the IPCC’s report, while surely appreciated by the IPCC, signals no new policies or actions that will tangibly affect governmental policy or procedure.
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