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STATEMENT BY THE COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
REGARDING GLOBAL CHANGE PETITION


April 20, 1998



The Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is concerned about the confusion caused by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy. This petition criticizes the science underlying the Kyoto treaty on carbon dioxide emissions (the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and it asks scientists to recommend rejection of this treaty by the U.S. Senate. The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal.

The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.

In particular, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a major consensus study on this issue, entitled Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1991,1992). This analysis concluded that " ...even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. ... Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises." In addition, the Committee on Global Change Research of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the NAS and the NAE, will issue a major report later this spring on the research issues that can help to reduce the scientific uncertainties associated with global change phenomena, including climate change.




NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES COUNCIL

Bruce Alberts (president)
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

Jack Halpern (vice president)
Louis Block Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Department of Chemistry
University of Chicago

Peter H. Raven (home secretary)
Director
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis

F. Sherwood Rowland (foreign secretary)
Donald Bren Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science
Department of Chemistry
University of California
Irvine

Ronald L. Graham (treasurer)
Chief Scientist
AT&T Laboratories
Florham Park, N.J.

Mary Ellen Avery
Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School
Boston

Ralph J. Cicerone
Chancellor-Designate
Dean, School of Physical Sciences, and
Daniel G. Aldrich Professor of Earth System Science
Department of Earth System Science
University of California
Irvine

Edward E. David Jr.(1)
President
EED Inc.
Bedminster, N.J.

Marye Anne Fox
Chancellor-Designate
North Carolina State University, and
Vice President for Research and M. June
and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
University of Texas
Austin

Ralph E. Gomory(2)
President
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
New York City

David M. Kipnis
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis

Daniel E. Koshland Jr.
Professor in the Graduate School
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California
Berkeley

Mary-Lou Pardue
Boris Magasanik Professor
Department of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge

Luis Sequeira
J.C. Walker Professor Emeritus
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Wisconsin
Madison

I.M. Singer
Institute Professor
Department of Mathematics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Cambridge

Robert H. Wurtz
Chief
Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md.

Richard N. Zare
Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor
Department of Chemistry
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

___________________________________
(1) abstained
(2) unable to participate