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News Article | February 22, 2017
Site: www.scientificamerican.com

In the middle of a snow-draped forest in Alaska, a long four-hour drive east from Anchorage, sits a cleared 30-acre field where 180 silver poles sprout from the ground and reach 22 meters into the air. During four nights this week the poles—actually interconnected radio antennae—will spring to life after three years of dormancy, and heat the highest wisps of our atmosphere directly above. The antennas belong to the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP), a former U.S. military facility near the hamlet of Gakona. The array will beam 2.1 megawatts of radio energy into the ionosphere—the region that starts at 100 kilometers above the ground, where solar photons and charged particles crash into Earth’s atmosphere. There the radio signals will excite electrons and turn them into waves of relatively hot ionized gas, or plasma, in a narrow slice of sky. The hope is to better understand activity that hampers satellites as well as some elusive features of radio wave physics. The antenna forest was originally funded by the U.S. Navy and Air Force to improve their navigation and communication signals bouncing around the planet. Since its first transmissions in 1999, however, it has been accused of doing much more. Iran blamed HAARP operations for floods, the late Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez charged it with triggering 2010’s devastating Haiti earthquake and legions of other conspiracy theorists have accused it of everything from mind control to stealing souls. In fact the only thing the military was interested in controlling was the hot plasma, says Bill Bristow of the University of Alaska Fairbanks, who is HAARP’s chief scientist. The plasma can distort or delay satellite transmissions and GPS signals. The armed services wanted to know whether those perturbations could be manipulated from the ground to eliminate such problems, and perhaps enable new communications and radar technologies. So they built HAARP, the world’s most powerful ionosphere heater. More than a decade of experiments, however, failed to produce any major breakthroughs. Eventually the military threw in the towel. In 2014 David Walker, then deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force for Science, Technology and Engineering, told a Senate committee, “If there is not somebody who wants to take over the management and the funding of the site…we plan to do a dismantle of the system.” The pending demise caught the attention of scientists at U.A. Fairbanks’s Geophysical Institute. “We felt that there was a large investment of public money that should not just be destroyed,” Bristow says. “There’s a lot of scientific work yet to be done, so we wanted to give it a go.” The Air Force officially handed over HAARP’s keys to the institute in 2015. Now after years of repairs, upgrades and fund-raising, HAARP is about to embark on its first scientific campaign under civilian control. Much of the work is a continuation of studies that began under the military. Plasma scientists, for example, will hunt for an elusive phenomenon called two-plasma decay instability. This involves an electromagnetic signal decaying into two electron plasma waves. Understanding this instability is key to some experimental nuclear fusion reactions but it has never been observed for high-frequency radio waves. The facility is also going to be generating artificial aurorae. At full power, HAARP’s transmitter can produce a glowing plasma high in the sky that, although not as bright as the natural aurora borealis, is visible to the naked eye. Producing artificial aurorae has taught scientists unexpected lessons about how gases are ionized in the ionosphere, a process that helps protect Earth from harmful ultraviolet solar radiation. “Understanding how energy from the sun flows into the upper atmosphere is important for understanding the effect on Earth from extreme solar events,” Bristow says. And the military could not quite let go of HAARP altogether. The Naval Research Laboratory thinks it can use the ionosphere to improve spy satellite operations. The lab will be running an experiment where it bounces radio signals off the ionosphere and then back down to the sea, hundreds of kilometers over the horizon. Satellites overhead will then try to use the radio reflections from the ocean surface to detect ships or ice. Because the satellites will rely on the facility’s signals, and not their own, this method could enable them to stay cloaked from prying eyes and conserve their own energy. The success of these initial experiments will be critical in demonstrating the long-term viability of HAARP to the agencies funding the efforts along with the navy: the National Science Foundation and U.S. Department of Energy. “This beauty of HAARP is that it’s a way to turn the ionosphere into a plasma lab where we can control the knobs and timing,” says Mark Moldwin, a professor of space sciences at the University of Michigan who is not involved with the current research. “It has essentially come back from the dead and the community is hopeful that its continued operation will enable education and research opportunities.” U.A. Fairbanks says it will support the facility for about two more years. Then it could pull the plug if more sponsors are not forthcoming. But for the week ahead the biggest risk is nature itself, Bristow says: “If it’s cloudy, we won’t see the auroras, and a solar storm could wipe out our ability to do any heating at all.” There is nothing the facility can do about clouds and storms. Despite the rumors, Bristow says, HAARP has never been able to control the weather.


News Article | February 1, 2017
Site: www.scientificcomputing.com

Recently, surprising physical effects were observed using special microscopic waveguides for light. Such "photonic structures" currently are revolutionizing the fields of optics and photonics, and have opened up the new research area of "Chiral Quantum Optics". Physicists from Copenhagen, Innsbruck, and Vienna, who are leading figures in this field, have now written an overview on the topic which just appeared in the scientific journal Nature. What one learns at school is that light oscillates under a right angle (transversal) with respect to its direction of propagation. Among experts, however, it was already known that light behaves differently when it is confined strongly in the transversal plane using so-called "photonic structures". In particular, this is the case for special ultra-thin glass fibers which have a diameter of only a few hundred nanometers (one nanometer is a millionth part of a millimeter) and which are thereby smaller than the wavelength of light. Also waveguides based on so-called "photonic crystals" (two-dimensional structures with periodically arranged holes) can confine light in this way. In this situation, the light also oscillates along its propagation direction (longitudinal). The combination of transversal and longitudinal oscillation leads to a rotating electric field which physicist call circular polarization. Without the spatial confinement, the electric field associated with circularly polarized light behaves like the propeller of an aircraft whose axis is parallel to the direction of propagation. "However, in narrow photonic waveguides, the electric field of the light resembles the rotor of a helicopter," explains Arno Rauschenbeutel from the Vienna Center for Quantum Science and Technology at the Institute of Atomic and Subatomic Physics of TU Wien, Austria. Here, the spin of the light points along the axis of the rotor and is therefore oriented perpendicular to the propagation direction of the light. This unexpected phenomenon has important consequences: The rotational sense of the electric field is suddenly defined by the propagation direction of the light. "As soon as light in a photonic structure travels in the opposite direction, the electric field rotates the other way around and the spin flips", states Rauschenbeutel. Physicists call this phenomenon spin-momentum locking. Things become particularly thrilling when so-called "quantum emitters" are coupled to the light field. These could for example be atoms or quantum dots, i.e., nanoscopic structures made from semiconductor material. Such emitters can be excited by light (light absorption) and radiate it back (light emission). Until recently, it was taken for granted in quantum optics that this interaction between light and emitters is always symmetric; precisely the same amount of light is radiated into one and into the opposite direction. However, quantum emitters can be prepared such that they only absorb light of a certain polarization. In photonic structures, the rotational sense of the electric field, i.e., the light's polarization, depend on the propagation direction. Consequently, if we now bring a suitably prepared quantum emitter into the light field of a photonic structure, the strength of the interaction between the emitter and the light will depend on the light's propagation direction. "Having a direction-dependent interaction means that the symmetry is broken: The emitter radiates differently into opposite directions," states Rauschenbeutel. This direction-dependence (chirality) is the underlying concept of "chiral quantum optics" and occurs not only for the emission of light, but also for absorption and scattering. Since 2012, different groups have demonstrated corresponding effects in many experiments and used them for different purposes. Rauschenbeutel and his team concentrated their research on ultrathin glass fibers and bottle-shaped resonators, which they couple to atoms and microscopic metallic particles. Their co-authors around Peter Lodahl from the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, on the other hand, use waveguides based on photonic crystals. Furthermore, Hannes Pichler and Peter Zoller from the University of Innsbruck and the Institute for Quantum Optics und Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences provided the theoretical foundations and developed impressive visions for the future. The new physical effects enable fundamentally new applications. "We developed photonic diodes which are one-way streets for light. We realized circulators in which a single atom controls light similar to traffic in a roundabout," says Rauschenbeutel emphasizing the successful cooperation between the Austrian scientists within the Special Research Program FoQuS (Foundations and Applications of Quantum Science) for this work. Such nonreciprocal devices have optical properties that depend on the propagation direction of the light and, analogously to their electronic counterparts, are required for the realization optical circuits. Such optical chips could be employed in future computers. But optical chips based on chiral quantum optics may not only be used for classical information processing. They are also suitable for processing single photons and can furthermore be prepared in quantum mechanical superposition states. In this way, chiral quantum optical components are well suited for process quantum information in future quantum networks or quantum computers.


News Article | February 27, 2017
Site: motherboard.vice.com

Seema Verma, President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has built a career on finding ways to break down the government's role in health care. So it wasn't all that surprising when, at her nomination hearing, Verma said she doesn't think insurance companies should be required to provide maternity care coverage. "Some women might want maternity coverage and some women might not want it, might not choose it, might not feel like they need that," Verma told senator Debbie Stabenow (D-Michigan). "So I think it's up to women to make the decision that works best for them and their families." The comment offered a glimpse of how the Trump administration may impact women's health care in the US. Trump and Republican members of Congress have pledged to repeal the Affordable Care Act which, among many other provisions, made maternal health and reproductive health coverage mandatory. But they haven't been very clear on what they plan to introduce to replace the ACA. Comments from Verma, along with executive moves from the White House, and a spattering of bills that have been introduced, give us an idea of what to expect when it comes to women's healthcare. "This gives us an idea of what that plan might look like," said Nadereh Pourat, the director of the Health Economics and Evaluation Research Program at the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. "You cannot replace [the ACA] with something cheaper that gives you the same benefits or more. That's not possible." Pourat said it's been clear from the beginning that repealing and replacing the ACA would mean some cuts to health care, but there's a lot of uncertainty of what that looks like. Part of the problem is that many Republicans think the ACA is too costly, both for the government and individuals, and want to reel it in. But Pourat told me many of these cuts actually end up costing taxpayers more in the long run, including removing mandatory maternity coverage which can cost families up to $50,000 for one birth. Having maternity coverage mandatory does mean a slight increase in insurance costs across the board, but making it optional means those who need it most might not be able to afford this "extra" coverage. If they then get pregnant, even middle class Americans may not be able to afford paying out of pocket for maternity care, which puts the pregnancy at risk, Pourat said. In most other developed countries, including Canada, the UK, and France, maternal health is covered and guaranteed. "Maternity benefits are not something anyone should think about making optional. It's shortsighted and it could have huge negative implications," Pourat told me. "All you need is to have a few children born with disabilities and you're talking about long-term suffering and costs, very big costs, for the taxpayer. It's a fallacy in this argument that we're going to save money by not providing it." Meanwhile, it's not just expecting mothers who could be impacted. The GOP has continued to threaten to cut federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides reproductive health care like birth control to millions of women and men. And while President Trump and his cabinet can't single-handedly change a lot of these laws, they're signalling their mandate to a GOP congress that's already starting to follow suit. Bills have been introduced to allow states to withdraw funding from Planned Parenthood and repeal the ACA. Some of this is par for the course when it comes to the Republican party. GOP congresses typically mean a shifting of more power back to the state level, and state governments can potentially protect some women's healthcare by introducing their own laws—like the three states that now allow pharmacists to prescribe birth control—to counteract the action in the capitol. In the meantime, there's a lot of uncertainty, and the few hints we're getting of what's to come could mean far higher health care price tags for women. Get six of our favorite Motherboard stories every day by signing up for our newsletter .


Scientific understanding of the role of humans in influencing and altering the global climate has been evolving for over a century. That understanding is now extremely advanced, combining hundreds of years of observations of many different climatic variables, millions of years of paleoclimatic evidence of past natural climatic variations, extended application of fundamental physical, chemical, and biological processes, and the most sophisticated computer modeling ever conducted. There is no longer any reasonable doubt that humans are altering the climate, that those changes will grow in scope and severity in the future, and that the economic, ecological, and human health consequences will be severe. While remaining scientific uncertainties are still being studied and analyzed, the state of the science has for several decades been sufficient to support implementing local, national, and global policies to address growing climate risks. This is the conclusion of scientific studies, syntheses, and reports to policymakers extending back decades. Because of the strength of the science, and the depth of the consensus about climate change, the scientific community has worked hard to clearly and consistently present the state of understanding to the public and policymakers to help them make informed decisions. The scientific community does this in various ways. Individual scientists speak out, presenting scientific results to journalists and the public. Scientists and scientific organizations prepare, debate, and publish scientific statements and declarations based on their expertise and concerns. And national scientific organizations, especially the formal “Academies of Sciences,” prepare regular reports on climate issues that are syntheses of all relevant climate science and knowledge. The number and scope of these statements is truly impressive. Not a single major scientific organization or national academy of science on earth denies that the climate is changing, that humans are responsible, and that some form of action should be taken to address the risks to people and the planet. This consensus is not to be taken lightly. Indeed, this consensus is an extraordinarily powerful result given the contentious nature of science and the acclaim that accrues to scientists who find compelling evidence that overthrows an existing paradigm (as Galileo, Darwin, Einstein, Wegener, and others did in their fields). In a peculiar twist, some have tried to argue that acceptance of the strength of the evidence and the massive consensus in the geoscience community about human-caused climate change is simply “argument from consensus” or “argument from authority” – a classic potential “logical fallacy.” Indeed, the mere fact that nearly 100 percent of climate and geoscience professions believe humans are changing the climate does not guarantee that the belief is correct. But arguing that something is false simply because there is a strong consensus for it is an even worse logical fallacy, especially when the consensus is based on deep, extensive, and constantly tested scientific evidence. In fact, this false argument has a name: the Galileo Gambit. It is used by those who deny well-established scientific principles such as the theory of climate change as follows: Because Galileo was mocked and criticized for his views by a majority, but later shown to be right, current minority views that are mocked and criticized must also be right. The obvious flaw in the Galileo Gambit is that being criticized for one’s views does not correlate with being right – especially when the criticism is based on scientific evidence. Galileo was right because the scientific evidence supported him, not because he was mocked and criticized. The late professor Carl Sagan addressed this use of the Galileo Gambit in a humorous way when he noted: These statements and declarations about climate change by the world’s leading scientific organizations represent the most compelling summary of the state of knowledge and concern about the global geophysical changes now underway, and they provide the foundation and rationale for actions now being debated and implemented around the world. The world ignores them at its peril. Here, based on information available as of early January 2017, is a synthesis, listing, and links for these public positions and declarations. These statements are summarized below for more than 140 of the planet’s national academies and top scientific health, geosciences, biological, chemical, physical, agricultural, and engineering organizations. Each statement is archived online as noted in the links. Abbreviated sections of statements only are presented, but readers should consult the full statements for context and content. Also, scientific organizations and committees periodically update, revise, edit, and re-issue position statements. Please send me any corrections, updates, additions, and changes. The AAN is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ Rising global temperatures are causing major physical, chemical, and ecological changes in the planet. There is wide consensus among scientific organizations and climatologists that these broad effects, known as “climate change,” are the result of contemporary human activity. Climate change poses threats to human health, safety, and security, and children are uniquely vulnerable to these threats… The social foundations of children’s mental and physical health are threatened by the specter of far-reaching effects of unchecked climate change, including community and global instability, mass migrations, and increased conflict. Given this knowledge, failure to take prompt, substantive action would be an act of injustice to all children… Pediatricians have a uniquely valuable role to play in the societal response to this global challenge… [The AAP is also a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/] The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society. Accumulating data from across the globe reveal a wide array of effects: rapidly melting glaciers, destabilization of major ice sheets, increases in extreme weather, rising sea level, shifts in species ranges, and more. The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last five years. The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now. [The AAAS has also signed onto more recent letters on climate from an array of scientific organizations, including the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] There is widespread scientific agreement that the world’s climate is changing and that the weight of evidence demonstrates that anthropogenic factors have and will continue to contribute significantly to global warming and climate change. It is anticipated that continuing changes to the climate will have serious negative impacts on public, animal and ecosystem health due to extreme weather events, changing disease transmission dynamics, emerging and re-emerging diseases, and alterations to habitat and ecological systems that are essential to wildlife conservation. Furthermore, there is increasing recognition of the inter-relationships of human, domestic animal, wildlife, and ecosystem health as illustrated by the fact the majority of recent emerging diseases have a wildlife origin. Consequently, there is a critical need to improve capacity to identify, prevent, and respond to climate-related threats.  The following statements present the American Association of Wildlife Veterinarians (AAWV) position on climate change, wildlife diseases, and wildlife health…. The American Geophysical Union (AGU) notes that human impacts on the climate system include increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, which is significantly contributing to the warming of the global climate. The climate system is complex, however, making it difficult to predict detailed outcomes of human-induced change: there is as yet no definitive theory for translating greenhouse gas emissions into forecasts of regional weather, hydrology, or response of the biosphere. As the AGU points out, our ability to predict global climate change, and to forecast its regional impacts, depends directly on improved models and observations. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) joins the AGU in calling for peer-reviewed climate research to inform climate-related policy decisions, and, as well, to provide a basis for mitigating the harmful effects of global change and to help communities adapt and become resilient to extreme climatic events. In endorsing the “Human Impacts on Climate” statement, the AAS recognizes the collective expertise of the AGU in scientific subfields central to assessing and understanding global change, and acknowledges the strength of agreement among our AGU colleagues that the global climate is changing and human activities are contributing to that change. Careful and comprehensive scientific assessments have clearly demonstrated that the Earth’s climate system is changing in response to growing atmospheric burdens of greenhouse gases (GHGs) and absorbing aerosol particles. (IPCC, 2007) Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for—and in many cases is already affecting—a broad range of human and natural systems. (NRC, 2010a) The potential threats are serious and actions are required to mitigate climate change risks and to adapt to deleterious climate change impacts that probably cannot be avoided. (NRC, 2010b, c) This statement reviews key probable climate change impacts and recommends actions required to mitigate or adapt to current and anticipated consequences. …comprehensive scientific assessments of our current and potential future climates clearly indicate that climate change is real, largely attributable to emissions from human activities, and potentially a very serious problem. This sober conclusion has been recently reconfirmed by an in-depth set of studies focused on “America’s Climate Choices” (ACC) conducted by the U.S. National Academies (NRC, 2010a, b, c, d). The ACC studies, performed by independent and highly respected teams of scientists, engineers, and other skilled professionals, reached the same general conclusions that were published in the latest comprehensive assessment conducted by the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2007)… The range of observed and potential climate change impacts identified by the ACC assessment include a warmer climate with more extreme weather events, significant sea level rise, more constrained fresh water sources, deterioration or loss of key land and marine ecosystems, and reduced food resources— many of which may pose serious public health threats. (NRC, 2010a) The effects of an unmitigated rate of climate change on key Earth system components, ecological systems, and human society over the next 50 years are likely to be severe and possibly irreversible on century time scales… [The ACS has also signed onto more recent letters on climate from an array of scientific organizations, including the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] THAT: The American College of Preventive Medicine (ACPM) accept the position that global warming and climate change is occurring, that there is potential for abrupt climate change, and that human practices that increase greenhouse gases exacerbate the problem, and that the public health consequences may be severe. THAT: The ACPM staff and appropriate committees continue to explore opportunities to address this matter, including sessions at Preventive Medicine conferences and the development of a policy position statement as well as other modes of communicating this issue to the ACPM membership. [The ACPM is also a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/] Humanity is the major influence on the global climate change observed over the past 50 years. Rapid societal responses can significantly lessen negative outcomes. Human activities are changing Earth’s climate. At the global level, atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other heat‐trapping greenhouse gases have increased sharply since the Industrial Revolution. Fossil fuel burning dominates this increase. Human‐caused increases in greenhouse gases are responsible for most of the observed global average surface warming of roughly 0.8°C (1.5°F) over the past 140 years. Because natural processes cannot quickly remove some of these gases (notably carbon dioxide) from the atmosphere, our past, present, and future emissions will influence the climate system for millennia. Extensive, independent observations confirm the reality of global warming. These observations show large‐scale increases in air and sea temperatures, sea level, and atmospheric water vapor; they document decreases in the extent of mountain glaciers, snow cover, permafrost, and Arctic sea ice. These changes are broadly consistent with long understood physics and predictions of how the climate system is expected to respond to human‐caused increases in greenhouse gases. The changes are inconsistent with explanations of climate change that rely on known natural influences… [The AGU has also signed onto more recent letters on climate from an array of scientific organizations, including the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] [The AIBS is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] The Governing Board of the American Institute of Physics has endorsed a position statement on climate change adopted by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Council in December 2003. AGU is one of ten Member Societies of the American Institute of Physics. The statement follows: Human activities are increasingly altering the Earth’s climate. These effects add to natural influences that have been present over Earth’s history. Scientific evidence strongly indicates that natural influences cannot explain the rapid increase in global near-surface temperatures observed during the second half of the 20th century. Human impacts on the climate system include increasing concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, chlorofluorocarbons and their substitutes, methane, nitrous oxide, etc.), air pollution, increasing concentrations of airborne particles, and land alteration. A particular concern is that atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide may be rising faster than at any time in Earth’s history, except possibly following rare events like impacts from large extraterrestrial objects… The ALA is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ If physicians want evidence of climate change, they may well find it in their own offices. Patients are presenting with illnesses that once happened only in warmer areas. Chronic conditions are becoming aggravated by more frequent and extended heat waves. Allergy and asthma seasons are getting longer. Spates of injuries are resulting from more intense ice storms and snowstorms. Scientific evidence shows that the world’s climate is changing and that the results have public health consequences. The American Medical Association is working to ensure that physicians and others in health care understand the rise in climate-related illnesses and injuries so they can prepare and respond to them. The Association also is promoting environmentally responsible practices that would reduce waste and energy consumption. Amicus Brief filed before the Supreme Court in support of the Clean Power Plan. Failure to uphold the Clean Power Plan would undermine [the] EPA’s ability to carry out its legal obligation to regulate carbon emissions that endanger human health and would negatively impact the health of current and future generations. Carbon emissions are a significant driver of the anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change and consequently harm human health. Direct impacts from the changing climate include health-related illness, declining air quality and increased respiratory and cardiovascular illness. Changes in climate also facilitate the migration of mosquito-borne diseases, such as dengue fever, malaria and most recently the Zika Virus. “In surveys conducted by three separate U.S. medical professional societies,” the brief said, “a significant majority of surveyed physicians concurred that climate change is occurring … is having a direct impact on the health of their patients, and that physicians anticipate even greater climate-driven adverse human health impacts in the future.” [This statement is considered in force until August 2017 unless superseded by a new statement issued by the AMS Council before this date.] …Warming of the climate system now is unequivocal, according to many different kinds of evidence.  Observations show increases in globally averaged air and ocean temperatures, as well as widespread melting of snow and ice and rising globally averaged sea level. Surface temperature data for Earth as a whole, including readings over both land and ocean, show an increase of about 0.8°C (1.4°F) over the period 1901-2010 and about 0.5°C (0.9°F) over the period 1979–2010 (the era for which satellite-based temperature data are routinely available). Due to natural variability, not every year is warmer than the preceding year globally. Nevertheless, all of the 10 warmest years in the global temperature records up to 2011 have occurred since 1997, with 2005 and 2010 being the warmest two years in more than a century of global records. The warming trend is greatest in northern high latitudes and over land. In the U.S., most of the observed warming has occurred in the West and in Alaska; for the nation as a whole, there have been twice as many record daily high temperatures as record daily low temperatures in the first decade of the 21st century… There is unequivocal evidence that Earth’s lower atmosphere, ocean, and land surface are warming; sea level is rising; and snow cover, mountain glaciers, and Arctic sea ice are shrinking. The dominant cause of the warming since the 1950s is human activities. This scientific finding is based on a large and persuasive body of research. The observed warming will be irreversible for many years into the future, and even larger temperature increases will occur as greenhouse gases continue to accumulate in the atmosphere. Avoiding this future warming will require a large and rapid reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions. The ongoing warming will increase risks and stresses to human societies, economies, ecosystems, and wildlife through the 21st century and beyond, making it imperative that society respond to a changing climate. To inform decisions on adaptation and mitigation, it is critical that we improve our understanding of the global climate system and our ability to project future climate through continued and improved monitoring and research. This is especially true for smaller (seasonal and regional) scales and weather and climate extremes, and for important hydroclimatic variables such as precipitation and water availability… Technological, economic, and policy choices in the near future will determine the extent of future impacts of climate change. Science-based decisions are seldom made in a context of absolute certainty. National and international policy discussions should include consideration of the best ways to both adapt to and mitigate climate change. Mitigation will reduce the amount of future climate change and the risk of impacts that are potentially large and dangerous. At the same time, some continued climate change is inevitable, and policy responses should include adaptation to climate change. Prudence dictates extreme care in accounting for our relationship with the only planet known to be capable of sustaining human life. [The AIBS is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] Earth’s changing climate is a critical issue and poses the risk of significant environmental, social and economic disruptions around the globe. While natural sources of climate variability are significant, multiple lines of evidence indicate that human influences have had an increasingly dominant effect on global climate warming observed since the mid-twentieth century. Although the magnitudes of future effects are uncertain, human influences on the climate are growing. The potential consequences of climate change are great and the actions taken over the next few decades will determine human influences on the climate for centuries. As summarized in the 2013 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), there continues to be significant progress in climate science. In particular, the connection between rising concentrations of atmospheric greenhouse gases and the increased warming of the global climate system is more compelling than ever. Nevertheless, as recognized by Working Group 1 of the IPCC, scientific challenges remain in our abilities to observe, interpret, and project climate changes. To better inform societal choices, the APS urges sustained research in climate science. The APS reiterates its 2007 call to support actions that will reduce the emissions, and ultimately the concentration, of greenhouse gases as well as increase the resilience of society to a changing climate, and to support research on technologies that could reduce the climate impact of human activities. … The APA is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ [This policy builds upon and replaces existing policies 20078 (Addressing the Urgent Threat of Global Climate Change to Public Health and the Environment) and 9510 (Global Climate Change)] Public Health Opportunities to Address the Health Effects of Climate Change Climate change poses major threats to human health, human and animal populations, ecological stability, and human social, financial, and political stability and well-being. Observed health impacts of climate change include increased heat-related morbidity and mortality, expanded ranges and frequency of infectious disease outbreaks, malnutrition, trauma, violence and political conflict, mental health issues, and loss of community and social connections. Certain populations will experience disproportionate negative effects, including pregnant women, children, the elderly, marginalized groups such as racial and ethnic minorities, outdoor workers, those with chronic diseases, and those in economically disadvantaged communities. Climate change poses significant ethical challenges as well as challenges to global and health equity. The economic risks of inaction may be significant, yet many strategies to combat climate change offer near- and long-term co-benefits to health, producing cost savings that could offset implementation costs. At present, there are major political barriers to adopting strategies to mitigate and adapt to climate change. Recognizing the urgency of the issue and importance of the public health role, APHA, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and others have developed resources and tools to help support public health engagement. APHA calls for individual, community, national, and global action to address the health risks posed by climate change. The public health community has critical roles to play, including advocating for action, especially among policymakers; engaging in health prevention and preparedness efforts; conducting surveillance and research on climate change and health; and educating public health professionals. [The APHA is also a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/] [The APHA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] Letter to EOS of the Council of the AQA The available scientific evidence clearly shows that the Earth on average is becoming warmer… Few credible scientists now doubt that humans have influenced the documented rise of global temperatures since the Industrial Revolution. The first government led U.S. Climate Change Science Program synthesis and assessment report supports the growing body of evidence that warming of the atmosphere, especially over the past 50 years, is directly impacted by human activity. In 2003, the ASM issued a policy report in which they recommend “reducing net anthropogenic CO emissions to the atmosphere” and “minimizing anthropogenic disturbances of” atmospheric gases: “Carbon dioxide concentrations were relatively stable for the past 10,000 years but then began to increase rapidly about 150 years ago… as a result of fossil fuel consumption and land use change. Of course, changes in atmospheric composition are but one component of global change, which also includes disturbances in the physical and chemical conditions of the oceans and land surface. Although global change has been a natural process throughout Earth’s history, humans are responsible for substantially accelerating present-day changes. These changes may adversely affect human health and the biosphere on which we depend. Outbreaks of a number of diseases, including Lyme disease, hantavirus infections, dengue fever, bubonic plague, and cholera, have been linked to climate change.” A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. The potential related impacts of climate change on the ability of agricultural systems, which include soil and water resources, to provide food, feed, fiber, and fuel, and maintenance of ecosystem services (e.g., water supply and habitat for crop landraces, wild relatives, and pollinators) as well as the integrity of the environment, are major concerns. Around the world and in the United States (US), agriculture—which is comprised of field, vegetable, and tree crops, as well as livestock production—constitutes a major land use which influences global ecosystems. Globally, crop production occupies approximately 1.8 Billion (B) hectares out of a total terrestrial land surface of about 13.5 B hectares. In addition, animal production utilizes grasslands, rangelands, and savannas, which altogether cover about a quarter of the Earth’s land. Even in 2010, agriculture remains the most basic and common human occupation on the planet and a major contributor to human well-being. Changes in climate are already affecting the sustainability of agricultural systems and disrupting production. [The May 2011 statement was also signed by the Crop Science Society of America and the Soil Science Society of America.] [The ASoA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] There is strong evidence that the climate is changing and will continue to change.  Climate scientists project that there will be substantial increases in temperature with related increases in atmospheric water vapor and increases in extreme precipitation amounts and intensities in most geographic regions as a result of climate change.  However, while there is clear evidence of a changing climate, understanding the significance of climate change at the temporal and spatial scales as it relates to engineering practice is more difficult. There is an increasing demand for engineers to address future climate change into project design criteria; however, current practices and rules governing such practices do not adequately address concerns associated with climate change… Climate change poses a potentially serious impact on worldwide water resources, energy production and use, agriculture, forestry, coastal development and resources, flood control and public infrastructure… The ASIH is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The ASN is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf [The ASPB is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] Adopted by the ASA Board of Directors The American Statistical Association (ASA) recently convened a workshop of leading atmospheric scientists and statisticians involved in climate change research. The goal of this workshop was to identify a consensus on the role of statistical science in current assessments of global warming and its impacts. Of particular interest to this workshop was the recently published Fourth Assessment Report of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), endorsed by more than 100 governments and drawing on the expertise of a large portion of the climate science community. Through a series of meetings spanning several years, IPCC drew in leading experts and assessed the relevant literature in the geosciences and related disciplines as it relates to climate change. The Fourth Assessment Report finds that “Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, as is now evident from observations of increases in global average air and ocean temperatures, widespread melting of snow and ice, and rising mean sea level. … Most of the observed increase in globally averaged temperatures since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations. … Discernible human influences now extend to other aspects of climate, including ocean warming, continental-average temperatures, temperature extremes, and wind patterns. [The ASA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] After people, water is our most critical and strategic natural resource, yet the U.S. lack a national strategy for water resources management. In addition, Americans are the world’s largest water consumers. Threats of an aging infrastructure, climate change and population growth are so significant that the nation can no longer afford to postpone action. It’s imperative that a focused effort be articulated and initiated to create and demonstrate strategies to sustain U.S. water resources. The country’s future growth and prosperity depend on it. The ATS is also a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The ASLO is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The ATBC is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The AERC is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The AAFA is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ There is broad scientific consensus that coral reefs are heavily affected by the activities of man and there are significant global influences that can make reefs more vulnerable such as global warming… It is highly likely that coral bleaching has been exacerbated by global warming. There is almost total consensus among experts that the earth’s climate is changing as a result of the build-up of greenhouse gases. The IPCC (involving over 3,000 of the world’s experts) has come out with clear conclusions as to the reality of this phenomenon. One does not have to look further than the collective academy of scientists worldwide to see the string (of) statements on this worrying change to the earth’s atmosphere… Given the observed damage caused by a temperature increase of ~1°C above pre-industrial levels, we urge all possible actions to keep future warming below the 1.5°C target set by the Paris Agreement. The following proposed initiatives will act to reduce the severity of climate-inflicted damage on reefs, helping to avoid total ecological collapse. The ACRS strongly supports the following proposed actions… The AIP supports a reduction of the green house gas emissions that are leading to increased global temperatures, and encourages research that works towards this goal… Research in Australia and overseas shows that an increase in global temperature will adversely affect the Earth’s climate patterns. The melting of the polar ice caps, combined with thermal expansion, will lead to rises in sea levels that may impact adversely on our coastal cities. The impact of these changes on biodiversity will fundamentally change the ecology of Earth… Human health is ultimately dependent on the health of the planet and its ecosystem. The AMA recognises the latest findings regarding the science of climate change, the role of humans, past observations and future projections. The consequences of climate change have serious direct and indirect, observed and projected health impacts both globally and in Australia. There is inequity in the distribution of these health impacts both within and between countries, with some groups being particularly vulnerable. In recognition of these issues surrounding climate change and health, the AMA believes that: Global climate has changed substantially. Global climate change and global warming are real and observable… Human influence has been detected in the warming of the atmosphere and the ocean globally, and in Australia. It is now certain that the human activities that have increased the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere contribute significantly to observed warming. Further it is extremely likely that these human activities are responsible for most of the observed global warming since 1950. The warming associated with increases in greenhouse gases originating from human activity is called the enhanced greenhouse effect…. Our climate is very likely to continue to change as a result of human activity. Global temperature increases are already set to continue until at least the middle of this century even if emissions were reduced to zero. The magnitude of warming and related changes can be limited depending on the total amount of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases ultimately emitted as a result of human activities; future climate scenarios depend critically on future changes in emissions… BioQUEST is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The BSA is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf We, the members of the Board of Trustees of CFCAS and Canadian climate science leaders from the public and academic sectors in Canada, concur with The Joint Science Academies statement that “climate change is real” and note that the 2004 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment concluded that Arctic temperatures have risen at almost twice the rate of the rest of the world over the past few decades. Furthermore, we endorse the assessment of climate science undertaken by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and its conclusion that “There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities.” There is now increasing unambiguous evidence of a changing climate in Canada and around the world… There is an increasing urgency to act on the threat of climate change. Significant steps are needed to stop the growth in atmospheric greenhouse gas concentrations by reducing emissions. Since mitigation measures will become effective only after many years, adaptive strategies as well are of great importance and need to begin now…. …Since the industrial revolution of the early 19th century, human activities have also markedly influenced the climate. This well-documented human-induced change is large and very rapid in comparison to past changes in the Earth’s climate… Even if the human-induced emission of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere were to cease today, past emissions have committed the world to long-term changes in climate. Carbon dioxide emitted from the combustion of fossil fuels will remain in the atmosphere for centuries to millennia, and the slow ocean response to atmospheric warming will cause the climate change to persist even longer. Further CO2 emissions will lead to greater human-induced change in proportion to total cumulative emissions. Meaningful interventions to mitigate climate change require a reduction in emissions. To avoid societally, economically, and ecologically disruptive changes to the Earth’s climate, we will have little choice but to leave much of the unextracted fossil fuel carbon in the ground… The urgent challenges for the global community, and Canadians in particular, are to learn how to adapt to the climate changes to which we are already committed and to develop effective and just responses to avoid further damaging climate change impacts for both present and future generations. The COL is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. The potential related impacts of climate change on the ability of agricultural systems, which include soil and water resources, to provide food, feed, fiber, and fuel, and maintenance of ecosystem services (e.g., water supply and habitat for crop landraces, wild relatives, and pollinators) as well as the integrity of the environment, are major concerns. Around the world and in the United States (US), agriculture—which is comprised of field, vegetable, and tree crops, as well as livestock production—constitutes a major land use which influences global ecosystems. Globally, crop production occupies approximately 1.8 Billion (B) hectares out of a total terrestrial land surface of about 13.5 B hectares. In addition, animal production utilizes grasslands, rangelands, and savannas, which altogether cover about a quarter of the Earth’s land. Even in 2010, agriculture remains the most basic and common human occupation on the planet and a major contributor to human well-being. Changes in climate are already affecting the sustainability of agricultural systems and disrupting production. [The May 2011 Statement was also signed by the American Society of Agronomy and the Soil Science Society of America.] [The CSSA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] Ecosystems are already responding to climate change. Continued warming—some of which is now unavoidable—may impair the ability of many such systems to provide critical resources and services like food, clean water, and carbon sequestration. Buffering against the impacts of climate change will require new strategies to both mitigate the extent of change and adapt to changes that are inevitable. The sooner such strategies are deployed, the more effective they will be in reducing irreversible damage. Ecosystems can be managed to limit and adapt to both the near- and long-term impacts of climate change. Strategies that focus on restoring and maintaining natural ecosystem function (reducing deforestation, for example) are the most prudent; strategies that drastically alter ecosystems may have significant and unpredictable impacts… The Earth is warming— average global temperatures have increased by 0.74°C (1.3°F) in the past 100 years. The scientific community agrees that catastrophic and possibly irreversible environmental change will occur if average global temperatures rise an additional 2°C (3.6°F). Warming to date has already had significant impacts on the Earth and its ecosystems, including increased droughts, rising sea levels, disappearing glaciers, and changes in the distribution and seasonal activities of many species… Most warming seen since the mid 1900s is very likely due to greenhouse gas emissions from human activities. Global emissions have risen rapidly since pre-industrial times, increasing 70% between 1970 and 2004 alone… Even if greenhouse gas emissions stop immediately, global temperatures will continue to rise at least for the next 100 years. Depending on the extent and effectiveness of climate change mitigation strategies, global temperatures could rise 1-6°C (2-10°F) by the end of the 21st century, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Swift and significant emissions reductions will be vital in minimizing the impacts of warming… [The ESA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] Engineers Australia accepts the comprehensive scientific basis regarding climate change, the influence of anthropogenic global warming, and that climate change can have very serious community consequences. Engineers are uniquely placed to provide both mitigation and adaptation solutions for this serious global problem, as well as address future advances in climate change science. This Climate Change Policy Statement has been developed to enable organisational governance on the problem, and provide support for members in the discipline and practice of the engineering profession. Building upon a long history of Engineers Australia policy development, and as the largest technically informed professional body in Australia, Engineers Australia advocates that Engineers must act proactively to address climate change as an ecological, social and economic risk… The ESA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf Human activity is most likely responsible for climate warming. Most of the climatic warming over the last 50 years is likely to have been caused by increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Documented long-term climate changes include changes in Arctic temperatures and ice, widespread changes in precipitation amounts, ocean salinity, wind patterns and extreme weather including droughts, heavy precipitation, heat waves and the intensity of tropical cyclones. The above development potentially has dramatic consequences for mankind’s future… The EFG recognizes the work of the IPCC and other organizations, and subscribes to the major findings that climate change is happening, is predominantly caused by anthropogenic emissions of CO2, and poses a significant threat to human civilization. Anthropogenic CO2 emissions come from fossil carbon sources, such as coal, oil, natural gas, limestone and carbonate rocks. Thriving and developing economies currently depend on these resources. Since geologists play a crucial role in their exploration and exploitation, we feel praised by the increasing welfare, but also implicated by the carbon curse. It is clear that major efforts are necessary to quickly and strongly reduce CO2 emissions. The EFG strongly advocates renewable and sustainable energy production, including geothermal energy, as well as the need for increasing energy efficiency. Impacts of ocean acidification may be just as dramatic as those of global warming (resulting from anthropogenic activities on top of natural variability) and the combination of both are likely to exacerbate consequences, resulting in potentially profound changes throughout marine ecosystems and in the services that they provide to humankind… Since the beginning of the industrial revolution the release of carbon dioxide (CO ) from our industrial and agricultural activities has resulted in atmospheric CO  concentrations that have increased from approximately 280 to 385 parts per million (ppm). The atmospheric concentration of CO  is now higher than experienced on Earth for at least the last 800,000 years (direct ice core evidence) and probably the last 25 million years, and is expected to continue to rise at an increasing rate, leading to significant temperature increases in the atmosphere and ocean in the coming decades… Ocean acidification is already occurring today and will continue to intensify, closely tracking atmospheric CO2 increase. Given the potential threat to marine ecosystems and its ensuing impact on human society and economy, especially as it acts in conjunction with anthropogenic global warming, there is an urgent need for immediate action. This rather new recognition that, in addition to the impact of CO  as a greenhouse gas on global climate change, OA is a direct consequence of the absorption of anthropogenic CO  emissions, will hopefully help to set in motion an even more stringent CO  mitigation policy worldwide. The only solutions to avoid excessive OA are a long-term mitigation strategy to limit future release of CO  to the atmosphere and/or enhance removal of excess CO  from the atmosphere. The emission of anthropogenic greenhouse gases, among which carbon dioxide is the main contributor, has amplified the natural greenhouse effect and led to global warming. The main contribution stems from burning fossil fuels. A further increase will have decisive effects on life on earth. An energy cycle with the lowest possible CO2 emission is called for wherever possible to combat climate change. The forthcoming United Nations Climate Change Conference (Paris, December 2015) will be held with the objective of achieving a binding and global agreement on climate-related policy from all nations of the world. This conference, seeking to protect the climate, will be a great opportunity to find solutions in the human quest for sustainable energy as a global endeavour. The Energy Group of the European Physical Society (EPS) welcomes the energy policy of the European Union (EU) to promote renewable energies for electricity generation, together with energy efficiency measures. This policy needs to be implemented by taking into account the necessary investments and the impact on the economical position of the EU in the world. Since the direct impact of any EU energy policy on world CO2 emissions is rather limited, the best strategy is to take the lead in mitigating climate change and in developing an energy policy that offers an attractive and economically viable model with reduced CO2 emissions and lower energy dependence… The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that climate change is a serious global threat which requires an urgent global response, and that climate change is driven by human activity… Enough is now known to make climate change the challenge of the 21st century, and the research community is poised to address this challenge… There is now convincing evidence that since the industrial revolution, human activities, resulting in increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases have become a major agent of climate change. These greenhouse gases affect the global climate by retaining heat in the troposphere, thus raising the average temperature of the planet and altering global atmospheric circulation and precipitation patterns. While on-going national and international actions to curtail and reduce greenhouse gas emissions are essential, the levels of greenhouse gases currently in the atmosphere, and their impact, are likely to persist for several decades. On-going and increased efforts to mitigate climate change through reduction in greenhouse gases are therefore crucial… The European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC) supports the Article (2) agreement on climate change of the Declaration of the ‘2015 Budapest World Science Forum on the enabling power of science’ urges such a universal agreement aiming at stabilising atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases and reducing the amount of airborne particles. The ESSC encourages countries to reduce their emissions in order to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, which could lead to disastrous consequences. Such consequences, albeit from natural evolution, are witnessed in other objects of our Solar System. Global climate change is real and measurable. Since the start of the 20th century, the global mean surface temperature of the Earth has increased by more than 0.7°C and the rate of warming has been largest in the last 30 years… Key vulnerabilities arising from climate change include water resources, food supply, health, coastal settlements, biodiversity and some key ecosystems such as coral reefs and alpine regions. As the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases increases, impacts become more severe and widespread. To reduce the global net economic, environmental and social losses in the face of these impacts, the policy objective must remain squarely focused on returning greenhouse gas concentrations to near pre-industrial levels through the reduction of emissions… The spatial and temporal fingerprint of warming can be traced to increasing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere, which are a direct result of burning fossil fuels, broad-scale deforestation and other human activity. Decades of scientific research have shown that climate can change from both natural and anthropogenic causes. The Geological Society of America (GSA) concurs with assessments by the National Academies of Science (2005), the National Research Council (2011), the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC, 2013) and the U.S. Global Change Research Program (Melillo et al., 2014) that global climate has warmed in response to increasing concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases. The concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere are now higher than they have been for many thousands of years. Human activities (mainly greenhouse-gas emissions) are the dominant cause of the rapid warming since the middle 1900s (IPCC, 2013). If the upward trend in greenhouse-gas concentrations continues, the projected global climate change by the end of the twenty-first century will result in significant impacts on humans and other species. The tangible effects of climate change are already occurring. Addressing the challenges posed by climate change will require a combination of adaptation to the changes that are likely to occur and global reductions of CO2 emissions from anthropogenic sources… [The GSA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] The HCWH is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The HCCC is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ Human activities have increased the concentration of these atmospheric greenhouse gases, and although the changes are relatively small, the equilibrium maintained by the atmosphere is delicate, and so the effect of these changes is significant. The world’s most important greenhouse gas is carbon dioxide, a by-product of the burning of fossil fuels. … Professional engineers commonly deal with risk, and frequently have to make judgments based on incomplete data. The available evidence suggests very strongly that human activities have already begun to make significant changes to the earth’s climate, and that the longterm risk of delaying action is greater than the cost of avoiding/minimising the risk. Scientific evidence is overwhelming that current energy trends are unsustainable. Immediate action is required to effect change in the timeframe needed to address significant ecological, human health and development, and energy security needs. Aggressive changes in policy are thus needed to accelerate the deployment of superior technologies. With a combination of such policies at the local, national, and international level, it should be possible—both technically and economically—to elevate the living conditions of most of humanity, while simultaneously addressing the risks posed by climate change and other forms of energy-related environmental degradation and reducing the geopolitical tensions and economic vulnerabilities generated by existing patterns of dependence on predominantly fossil-fuel resources… The Study Panel believes that, given the dire prospect of climate change, the following three recommendations should be acted upon without delay and simultaneously: Taking into account the three urgent recommendations above, another recommendation stands out by itself as a moral and social imperative and should be pursued with all means available While the Earth’s climate has changed many times during the planet’s history because of natural factors, including volcanic eruptions and changes in the Earth’s orbit, never before have we observed the present rapid rise in temperature and carbon dioxide (CO ). Human activities resulting from the industrial revolution have changed the chemical composition of the atmosphere…. Deforestation is now the second largest contributor to global warming, after the burning of fossil fuels. These human activities have significantly increased the concentration of “greenhouse gases” in the atmosphere… As the Earth’s climate warms, we are seeing many changes: stronger, more destructive hurricanes; heavier rainfall; more disastrous flooding; more areas of the world experiencing severe drought; and more heat waves. As reported by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), most of the observed global warming since the mid-20th century is very likely due to human-produced emission of greenhouse gases and this warming will continue unabated if present anthropogenic emissions continue or, worse, expand without control. CAETS, therefore, endorses the many recent calls to decrease and control greenhouse gas emissions to an acceptable level as quickly as possible. There is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and, indirectly, from increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes in many physical and biological systems. It is very likely that most of the observed increase in global temperatures since the mid-twentieth century is due to human-induced increases in greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere (IPCC 2007). Human activities are now causing atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases – including carbon dioxide, methane, tropospheric ozone, and nitrous oxide – to rise well above pre-industrial levels. Carbon dioxide levels have increased from 280 ppm in 1750 to over 380 ppm today, higher than any previous levels in at least the past 650,000 years. Increases in greenhouse gases are causing temperatures to rise; the Earth’s surface warmed by approximately 0.6°C over the twentieth century. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has forecast that average global surface temperatures will continue to increase, reaching between 1.1°C and 6.4°C above 1990 levels, by 2100. The uncertainties about the amount of global warming we face in coming decades can be reduced through further scientific research. Part of this research must be better documenting and understanding past climate change. Research on Earth’s climate in the recent geologic past provides insights into ways in which climate can change in the future. It also provides data that contribute to the testing and improvement of the computer models that are used to predict future climate change. Reduce the causes of climate change The scientific understanding of climate change is now sufficiently clear to justify nations taking prompt action. A lack of full scientific certainty about some aspects of climate change is not a reason for delaying an immediate response that will, at a reasonable cost, prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. It is vital that all nations identify cost-effective steps that they can take now to contribute to substantial and long-term reduction in net global greenhouse gas emissions. Action taken now to reduce significantly the build-up of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere will lessen the magnitude and rate of climate change. Fossil fuels, which are responsible for most of carbon dioxide emissions produced by human activities, provide valuable resources for many nations and will provide 85% of the world energy demand over the next 25 years (IEA 2004). Minimizing the amount of this carbon dioxide reaching the atmosphere presents a huge challenge but must be a global priority. The advances in scientific understanding of the Earth system generated by collaborative international, regional, and national observations and research programs; and The comprehensive and widely accepted and endorsed scientific assessments carried out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and regional and national bodies, which have firmly established, on the basis of scientific evidence, that human activities are the primary cause of recent climate change; Continuing reliance on combustion of fossil fuels as the world’s primary source of energy will lead to much higher atmospheric concentrations of greenhouse gases, which will, in turn, cause significant increases in surface temperature, sea level, ocean acidification, and their related consequences to the environment and society; Stabilization of climate to avoid “dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system”, as called for in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will require significant cutbacks in greenhouse gas emissions during the 21st century; and Mitigation of and adaptation to climate change can be made more effective by reducing uncertainties regarding feedbacks and the associated mechanisms; Nations collectively to begin to reduce sharply global atmospheric emissions of greenhouse gases and absorbing aerosols, with the goal of urgently halting their accumulation in the atmosphere and holding atmospheric levels at their lowest practicable value; National and international agencies to adequately support comprehensive observation and research programs that can clarify the urgency and extent of needed mitigation and promote adaptation to the consequences of climate change; Resource managers, planners, and leaders of public and private organizations to incorporate information on ongoing and projected changes in climate and its ramifications into their decision-making, with goals of limiting emissions, reducing the negative consequences of climate change, and enhancing adaptation, public well-being, safety, and economic vitality; and Organizations around the world to join with IUGG and its member Associations to encourage scientists to communicate freely and widely with public and private decision-makers about the consequences and risks of on-going climate change and actions that can be taken to limit climate change and promote adaptation; and To act with its member Associations to develop and implement an integrated communication and outreach plan to increase public understanding of the nature and implications of human-induced impacts on the Earth system, with the aim of reducing detrimental consequences. The LMS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change The NACCHO is a signatory to the April 2016 declaration: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The National Association of Geoscience Teachers (NAGT) recognizes: (1) that Earth’s climate is changing, (2) that present warming trends are largely the result of human activities, and (3) that teaching climate change science is a fundamental and integral part of earth science education. The core mission of NAGT is to “foster improvement in the teaching of the earth sciences at all levels of formal and informal instruction, to emphasize the cultural significance of the earth sciences and to disseminate knowledge in this field to the general public.” The National Science Education Standards call for a populace that understands how scientific knowledge is both generated and verified, and how complex interactions between human activities and the environment can impact the Earth system. Climate is clearly an integral part of the Earth system connecting the physical, chemical and biological components and playing an essential role in how the Earth’s environment interacts with human culture and societal development. Thus, climate change science is an essential part of Earth Science education and is fundamental to the mission set forth by NAGT. In recognition of these imperatives, NAGT strongly supports and will work to promote education in the science of climate change, the causes and effects of current global warming, and the immediate need for policies and actions that reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. The NAHN is a signatory to the April 2016 declaration: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The NAML is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The NEHA is a signatory to the April 2016 declaration: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The NMA is a signatory to the April 2016 declaration: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ Many national science academies have published formal statements and declarations acknowledging the state of climate science, the fact that climate is changing, the compelling evidence that humans are responsible, and the need to debate and implement strategies to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. A few examples of joint academy statements are listed here. Following the release of the third in the ongoing series of international reviews of climate science conducted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Chang (IPCC), seventeen national science academies issued a joint statement, entitled “The Science of Climate Change,” acknowledging the IPCC study to be the scientific consensus on climate change science. The statement was signed by: Australian Academy of Sciences, Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts, Brazilian Academy of Sciences, Royal Society of Canada, Caribbean Academy of Sciences, Chinese Academy of Sciences, French Academy of Sciences, German Academy of Natural Scientists Leopoldina, Indian National Science Academy, Indonesian Academy of Sciences, Royal Irish Academy, Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei (Italy), Academy of Sciences Malaysia, Academy Council of the Royal Society of New Zealand, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Turkish Academy of Sciences, and Royal Society (UK). Eleven national science academies, including all of the largest emitters of greenhouse gases, signed a statement that the scientific understanding of climate change was sufficiently strong to justify prompt action. The statement explicitly endorsed the IPCC consensus and stated: “…there is now strong evidence that significant global warming is occurring. The evidence comes from direct measurements of rising surface air temperatures and subsurface ocean temperatures and from phenomena such as increases in average global sea levels, retreating glaciers, and changes to many physical and biological systems. It is likely that most of the warming in recent decades can be attributed to human activities (IPCC 2001). This warming has already led to changes in the Earth’s climate.” The statement was signed by the science academies of: Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2007, seventeen national academies issued a joint declaration reconfirming previous statements and strengthening language based on new research from the fourth assessment report of the IPCC, including the following: “It is unequivocal that the climate is changing, and it is very likely that this is predominantly caused by the increasing human interference with the atmosphere. These changes will transform the environmental conditions on Earth unless counter-measures are taken.” The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In 2007, the Network of African Science Academies submitted a joint “statement on sustainability, energy efficiency, and climate change:” “A consensus, based on current evidence, now exists within the global scientific community that human activities are the main source of climate change and that the burning of fossil fuels is largely responsible for driving this change. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reached this conclusion with “90 percent certainty” in its Fourth Assessment issued earlier this year. The IPCC should be congratulated for the contribution it has made to public understanding of the nexus that exists between energy, climate and sustainability.” The thirteen signatories were the science academies of Cameroon, Ghana, Kenya, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia, Zimbabwe, as well as the African Academy of Sciences. In 2008, the thirteen signers of the 2007 joint academies declaration issued a statement reiterating previous statements and reaffirming “that climate change is happening and that anthropogenic warming is influencing many physical and biological systems.” Among other actions, the declaration urges all nations to “(t)ake appropriate economic and policy measures to accelerate transition to a low carbon society and to encourage and effect changes in individual and national behaviour.” The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In May 2009, thirteen national academies issued a joint statement that said among other things: “The IPCC 2007 Fourth Assessment of climate change science concluded that large reductions in the emissions of greenhouse gases, principally CO2, are needed soon to slow the increase of atmospheric concentrations, and avoid reaching unacceptable levels. However, climate change is happening even faster than previously estimated; global CO2 emissions since 2000 have been higher than even the highest predictions, Arctic sea ice has been melting at rates much faster than predicted, and the rise in the sea level has become more rapid. Feedbacks in the climate system might lead to much more rapid climate changes. The need for urgent action to address climate change is now indisputable.” The thirteen signatories were the national science academies of Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, India, Japan, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, the United Kingdom, and the United States. In addition to the statement signed in 2001 by the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and the Arts, the Academie Royale des Sciences, des Lettres & des Beaux-arts de Belgique (the French language academy in Belgium) issued a formal statement: In July 2015, the Royal Society and member organizations issued a joint “U.K. Science Communiqué on Climate Change.” In part, that statement reads: “The scientific evidence is now overwhelming that the climate is warming and that human activity is largely responsible for this change through emissions of greenhouse gases. Governments will meet in Paris in November and December this year to negotiate a legally binding and universal agreement on tackling climate change. Any international policy response to climate change must be rooted in the latest scientific evidence. This indicates that if we are to have a reasonable chance of limiting global warming in this century to 2°C relative to the pre-industrial period, we must transition to a zero-carbon world by early in the second half of the century. To achieve this transition, governments should demonstrate leadership by recognising the risks climate change poses, embracing appropriate policy and technological responses, and seizing the opportunities of low-carbon and climate-resilient growth.” It was signed by: The Academy of Medical Sciences (UK), The Academy of Social Sciences (UK), The British Academy for the Humanities and Social Sciences, The British Ecological Society, The Geological Society (UK), The Challenger Society for Marine Sciences, The Institution of Civil Engineers (UK), The Institution of Chemical Engineers, The Institution of Environmental Sciences, The Institute of Physics, The Learned Society of Wales, London Mathematical Society, Royal Astronomical Society, Royal Economic Society, Royal Geographic Society, Royal Meteorological Society, Royal Society, Royal Society of Biology, Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Society of Edinburgh, Society for General Microbiology, Wellcome Trust, Zoological Society of London Climate change is occurring, is caused largely by human activities, and poses significant risks for — and in many cases is already affecting — a broad range of human and natural systems. The compelling case for these conclusions is provided in Advancing the Science of Climate Change, part of a congressionally requested suite of studies known as America’s Climate Choices. While noting that there is always more to learn and that the scientific process is never closed, the book shows that hypotheses about climate change are supported by multiple lines of evidence and have stood firm in the face of serious debate and careful evaluation of alternative explanations. [The U.S. National Academies of Sciences have also signed a long series of statements with other national academies around the world in support of the state-of-the-science.] The NSCA is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf Acid rain, toxic air pollutants, and greenhouse gas emissions are a major threat to human health and welfare, as well as plant and animal life. Based on recognized adequate research of the causes and effects of the various forms of air pollution, the federal government should establish environmentally and economically sound standards for the reduction and control of these emissions. The OBFS is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The PHI is a signatory to the April 2016 declaration: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The RAS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The RES is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The RGS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The Fourth Assessment Report (AR4) of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is unequivocal in its conclusion that climate change is happening and that humans are contributing significantly to these changes. The evidence, from not just one source but a number of different measurements, is now far greater and the tools we have to model climate change contain much more of our scientific knowledge within them. The world’s best climate scientists are telling us it’s time to do something about it. Carbon Dioxide is such an important greenhouse gas because there is an increasing amount of it in the atmosphere from the burning of fossil fuels and it stays in the atmosphere for such a long time; a hundred years or so. The changes we are seeing now in our climate are the result of emissions since industrialisation and we have already set in motion the next 50 years of global warming – what we do from now on will determine how worse it will get. The RMS is also a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The RS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF Climate change is one of the defining issues of our time. It is now more certain than ever, based on many lines of evidence, that humans are changing Earth’s climate. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, accompanied by sea-level rise, a strong decline in Arctic sea ice, and other climate-related changes. The evidence is clear. We strongly support the introduction of policies to significantly reduce UK and global greenhouse gas emissions, as we feel that the consequences of climate change will be severe. We believe that biologists have a crucial role to play in developing innovative biotechnologies to generate more efficient and environmentally sustainable biofuels, and to capture and store greenhouse gases from power stations and the atmosphere. It is important for the government to continue to consult scientists, to review policy, and to encourage new technologies so as to ensure the best possible strategies are used to combat this complex issue. We are in favour of reducing energy demands, in particular by improvements in public transport and domestic appliances. As some degree of climate change is inevitable, we encourage the development of adaptation strategies to reduce the effects of global warming on our environment. There is an overwhelming scientific consensus worldwide, and a broad political consensus, that greenhouse gas emissions are affecting global climate, and that measures are needed to reduce these emissions significantly so as to limit the extent of climate change. The term ‘climate change’ is used predominantly to refer to global warming and its consequences, and this policy briefing will address these issues. Although long-term fluctuations in global temperature occur due to various factors such as solar activity, there is scientific agreement that the rapid global warming that has occurred in recent years is mostly anthropogenic, i.e. due to human activity. The absorption and emission of solar radiation by greenhouse gases causes the atmosphere to warm. Human activities such as fossil fuel consumption and deforestation have elevated atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide significantly since pre-industrial times. The RSB is also a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The RSC is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The RSE is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF Warming of the climate system is unequivocal, and since the 1950s, many of the observed changes are unprecedented over decades to millennia. The atmosphere and oceans have warmed, the amounts of snow and ice have diminished, and sea level has risen. Global surface temperatures have warmed, on average, by around one degree Celsius since the late 19th century. Much of the warming, especially since the 1950s, is very likely a result of increased amounts of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, resulting from human activity. The Northern Hemisphere have warmed much faster than the global average, while the southern oceans south of New Zealand latitudes have warmed more slowly. Generally, continental regions have warmed more than the ocean surface at the same latitudes. Global sea levels have risen around 19 cm since the start of the 20th century, and are almost certain to rise at a faster rate in future. Surface temperature is projected to rise over the 21st century under all assessed emission scenarios. It is very likely that heat waves will occur more often and last longer, and that extreme precipitation events will become more intense and frequent in many regions. The ocean will continue to warm and acidify, and global mean sea level will continue to rise. Relatively small changes in average climate can have a big effect on the frequency of occurrence or likelihood of extreme events. How the future plays out depends critically on the emissions of greenhouses gases that enter the atmosphere over coming decades. New Zealand is being affected by climate change and impacts are set to increase in magnitude and extent over time. Floods, storms, droughts and fires will become more frequent unless significant action is taken to reduce global emissions of greenhouse gases, which are changing the climate. Even small changes in average climate conditions are likely to lead to large changes in the frequency of occurrence of extreme events. Our societies are not designed to cope with such rapid changes. The SGM is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The SIAM is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The SMB is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The SSAR is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The Society of American Foresters (SAF) believes that climate change policies and actions should recognize the role that forests play in reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through 1) the substitution of wood products for nonrenewable building materials, 2) forest biomass substitution for fossil fuel-based energy sources, 3) reducing wildfire and other disturbance emissions, and 4) avoided land-use change. SAF also believes that sustainably managed forests can reduce GHG concentrations by sequestering atmospheric carbon in trees and soil, and by storing carbon in wood products made from the harvested trees. Finally, climate change policies can invest in sustainable forest management to achieve these benefits, and respond to the challenges and opportunities that a changing climate poses for forests. Of the many ways to reduce GHG emissions and atmospheric particulate pollution, the most familiar are increasing energy efficiency and conservation, and using renewable energy sources as a substitution for fossil fuels. Equally important is using forests to address climate change. Forests play an essential role controlling GHG emissions and atmospheric GHGs, while simultaneously providing essential environmental and social benefits, including clean water, wildlife habitat, recreation, and forest products that, in turn, store carbon. Finally, changes in long-term patterns of temperature and precipitation have the potential to dramatically affect forests nationwide through a variety of changes to growth and mortality (USDA Forest Service 2012). Many such changes are already evident, such as longer growing and wildfire seasons, increased incidence of pest and disease, and climate-related mortality of specific species (Westerling et al. 2006). These changes have been associated with increasing concentrations of atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) and other GHGs in the atmosphere. Successfully achieving the benefits forests can provide for addressing climate change will therefore require explicit and long-term policies and investment in managing these changes, as well as helping private landowners and public agencies understand the technologies and practices that can be used to respond to changing climate conditions… The SoN is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf The SSB is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf A comprehensive body of scientific evidence indicates beyond reasonable doubt that global climate change is now occurring and that its manifestations threaten the stability of societies as well as natural and managed ecosystems. Increases in ambient temperatures and changes in related processes are directly linked to rising anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations in the atmosphere. The potential related impacts of climate change on the ability of agricultural systems, which include soil and water resources, to provide food, feed, fiber, and fuel, and maintenance of ecosystem services (e.g., water supply and habitat for crop landraces, wild relatives, and pollinators) as well as the integrity of the environment, are major concerns. Around the world and in the United States (US), agriculture—which is comprised of field, vegetable, and tree crops, as well as livestock production—constitutes a major land use which influences global ecosystems. Globally, crop production occupies approximately 1.8 Billion (B) hectares out of a total terrestrial land surface of about 13.5 B hectares. In addition, animal production utilizes grasslands, rangelands, and savannas, which altogether cover about a quarter of the Earth’s land. Even in 2010, agriculture remains the most basic and common human occupation on the planet and a major contributor to human well-being. Changes in climate are already affecting the sustainability of agricultural systems and disrupting production. [The May 2011 Statement was also signed by the American Society of Agronomy and the Crop Science Society of America.] [The SSSA is also a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf] The AMS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The AoSS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The BAHSS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The BES is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The CSMS is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The last century has seen a rapidly growing global population and much more intensive use of resources, leading to greatly increased emissions of gases, such as carbon dioxide and methane, from the burning of fossil fuels (oil, gas and coal), and from agriculture, cement production and deforestation. Evidence from the geological record is consistent with the physics that shows that adding large amounts of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere warms the world and may lead to: higher sea levels and flooding of low-lying coasts; greatly changed patterns of rainfall; increased acidity of the oceans; and decreased oxygen levels in seawater… There is now widespread concern that the Earth’s climate will warm further, not only because of the lingering effects of the added carbon already in the system, but also because of further additions as human population continues to grow… [The GS is also a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF] The IoP is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The ICE is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The ICE is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The IES is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF The LSoW is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF Human activities over the past 100 years have caused significant changes in the earth’s climatic conditions, resulting in severe alterations in regional temperature and precipitation patterns that are expected to continue and become amplified over the next 100 years or more. Although climates have varied since the earth was formed, few scientists question the role of humans in exacerbating recent climate change through the increase in emissions of greenhouse gases (e.g., carbon dioxide, methane, water vapor). Human activities contributing to climate warming include the burning of fossil fuels, slash and burn agriculture, methane production from animal husbandry practices, and land-use changes. The critical issue is no longer “whether” climate change is occurring, but rather how to address its effects on wildlife and wildlife- habitats… The TFAA is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The USCHA is a signatory to the April 2016 statement: http://www.lung.org/our-initiatives/healthy-air/outdoor/climate-change/declaration-on-climate-change.html?referrer=https://www.google.com/ The UCAR is a signatory to the June 28, 2016 letter to the U.S. Congress: https://www.eurekalert.org/images/2016climateletter6-28-16.pdf Wellcome is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF Now that the world has negotiated the Paris agreement to mitigate GHGs and pursue adaptation to the changing climate, the focus must now turn towards implementation to turn the words into action. The world’s engineers are a human resource that must be tapped to contribute to this implementation. All countries use engineers to deliver services that provide the quality of life that society enjoys, in particular, potable water, sanitation, shelter, buildings, roads, bridges, power, energy and other types of infrastructure. There are opportunities to achieve GHG reduction as well as improving the climate resilience of this infrastructure through design, construction and operation all of which require the expertise and experience of engineers. Engineers are problem-solvers and seek to develop feasible solutions that are cost-effective and sustainable. Engineers serve the public interest and offer objective, unbiased review and advice. Having their expertise to evaluate the technical feasibility and economic viability of proposals to reduce GHGs and to adapt to climate change impacts should be pursued. Engineers input and action is required to implement solutions at country and local levels. The international organization known as the World Federation of Engineering Organizations consist of members of national engineering organizations from over 90 developing and developed countries representing more than 20 million engineers. The WFEO offers to facilitate contact and engagement with these organizations to identify subject matter experts that will contribute their time and expertise as members of the engineering profession. The expertise of the world’s engineers is needed to help successfully implement the Paris agreement. We encourage all countries to engage their engineers in this effort. The WFEO is prepared to assist in this effort. The WFEO consists of national members representing more than 85 countries as well as 10 regional engineering organizations. These members collectively engage with more than 20 million engineers worldwide who are committed to serve the public interest through Codes of Practice and a Code of Ethics that emphasize professional practice in sustainable development, environmental stewardship and climate change. WFEO, the International Council for Science (ICSU) and the International Social Science Council (ISSC) are co-organizing partners of the UN Major Group on Scientific and Technological Communities, one of the nine major groups of civil society recognized by the United Nations. Engineers acknowledge that climate change is underway and that sustained efforts must be undertaken to address this worldwide challenge to society, our quality of life and prosperity. Urgent actions are required and the engineering profession is prepared to do its part towards implementing cost-effective, feasible and sustainable solutions working in partnership with stakeholders. Noting the conclusions of the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and other climatologists that anthropogenic greenhouse gases, which contribute to global climate change, have substantially increased in atmospheric concentration beyond natural processes and have increased by 28 percent since the industrial revolution….Realizing that subsequent health effects from such perturbations in the climate system would likely include an increase in: heat-related mortality and morbidity; vector-borne infectious diseases,… water-borne diseases…(and) malnutrition from threatened agriculture….the World Federation of Public Health Associations…recommends precautionary primary preventive measures to avert climate change, including reduction of greenhouse gas emissions and preservation of greenhouse gas sinks through appropriate energy and land use policies, in view of the scale of potential health impacts… Over the last 50 years, human activities – particularly the burning of fossil fuels – have released sufficient quantities of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases to trap additional heat in the lower atmosphere and affect the global climate. In the last 130 years, the world has warmed by approximately 0.85oC. Each of the last 3 decades has been successively warmer than any preceding decade since 1850. Sea levels are rising, glaciers are melting and precipitation patterns are changing. Extreme weather events are becoming more intense and frequent… Many policies and individual choices have the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and produce major health co-benefits. For example, cleaner energy systems, and promoting the safe use of public transportation and active movement – such as cycling or walking as alternatives to using private vehicles – could reduce carbon emissions, and cut the burden of household air pollution, which causes some 4.3 million deaths per year, and ambient air pollution, which causes about 3 million deaths every year. In 2015, the WHO Executive Board endorsed a new work plan on climate change and health. This includes: Partnerships: to coordinate with partner agencies within the UN system, and ensure that health is properly represented in the climate change agenda. Awareness raising: to provide and disseminate information on the threats that climate change presents to human health, and opportunities to promote health while cutting carbon emissions. Science and evidence: to coordinate reviews of the scientific evidence on the links between climate change and health, and develop a global research agenda. Support for implementation of the public health response to climate change: to assist countries to build capacity to reduce health vulnerability to climate change, and promote health while reducing carbon emissions. Climate change is the greatest threat to global health in the 21st century. Health professionals have a duty of care to current and future generations. You are on the front line in protecting people from climate impacts – from more heat-waves and other extreme weather events; from outbreaks of infectious diseases such as malaria, dengue and cholera; from the effects of malnutrition; as well as treating people that are affected by cancer, respiratory, cardiovascular and other non-communicable diseases caused by environmental pollution. Already the hottest year on record, 2015 will see nations attempt to reach a global agreement to address climate change at the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP) in Paris in December. This may be the most important health agreement of the century: an opportunity not only to reduce climate change and its consequences, but to promote actions that can yield large and immediate health benefits, and reduce costs to health systems and communities… Since the beginning of the 20th century, scientists have been observing a change in the climate that cannot be attributed solely to natural influences. This change has occurred faster than any other climate change in Earth’s history and will have consequences for future generations. Scientists agree that this climate change is anthropogenic (human-induced). It is principally attributable to the increase of certain heat absorbing greenhouse gases in our atmosphere since the industrial revolution. The ever-increasing amount of these gases has directly lead to more heat being retained in the atmosphere and thus to increasing global average surface temperatures. The partners in the WMO Global Atmosphere Watch (GAW) compile reliable scientific data and information on the chemical composition of the atmosphere and its natural and anthropogenic change. This helps to improve the understanding of interactions between the atmosphere, the oceans and the biosphere. The World Meteorological Organization has published a detailed analysis of the global climate 2011-2015 – the hottest five-year period on record  – and the increasingly visible human footprint on extreme weather and climate events with dangerous and costly impacts. The record temperatures were accompanied by rising sea levels and declines in Arctic sea-ice extent, continental glaciers and northern hemisphere snow cover. All these climate change indicators confirmed the long-term warming trend caused by greenhouse gases. Carbon dioxide reached the significant milestone of 400 parts per million in the atmosphere for the first time in 2015, according to the WMO report which was submitted to U.N. climate change conference. The Zoological Society is a signatory to the July 21, 2015 UK science communiqué on climate change. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/Publications/2015/21-07-15-climate-communique.PDF [Edited, compiled by Dr. Peter Gleick. Please send any corrections, additions, updates…]


News Article | March 1, 2017
Site: www.washingtonpost.com

The White House has proposed deep cuts to the Environmental Protection Agency’s budget that would reduce the agency’s staff by one-fifth in the first year and eliminate dozens of programs, according to details of a plan reviewed by The Washington Post. While administration officials had already indicated that they intended to increase defense spending at the expense of other discretionary funding, the plan spells out exactly how this new approach will affect long-standing federal programs that have a direct impact on Americans’ everyday lives. “The administration’s 2018 budget blueprint will prioritize rebuilding the military and making critical investments in the nation’s security,” the document says. “It will also identify the savings and efficiencies needed to keep the nation on a responsible fiscal path.” The funding level proposed, which the document says “highlights the trade-offs and choices inherent in pursuing these goals,” could have a significant impact on the agency. Its annual budget would drop from $8.2 billion a year to $6.1 billion. And because much of that funding already goes to states and localities in the form of grants, such cuts could have an even greater effect on the EPA’s core functions. Though President Trump professes to care strongly about clean air and clean water, almost no other federal department or agency is as much in the crosshairs at the moment. As a candidate, he vowed to get rid of the EPA “in almost every form,” leaving only “little tidbits” intact. The man he chose to lead the agency, former Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt, sued it more than a dozen times in recent years, challenging its legal authority to regulate such things as mercury pollution, smog and carbon emissions from power plants. The plan reflects those past sentiments. As proposed, the EPA’s staff would be slashed from its current level of 15,000 to 12,000. Grants to states, as well as its air and water programs, would be cut by 30 percent. The massive Chesapeake Bay cleanup project would receive only $5 million in the next fiscal year, down from its current $73 million. In addition, 38 separate programs would be eliminated entirely. Grants to clean up brownfields, or abandoned industrial sites, would be gone. Also zeroed out: the radon program, climate change initiatives and funding for Alaskan native villages. The agency’s Office of Research and Development could lose up to 42 percent of its budget, according to an individual apprised of the administration’s plans. And the document eliminates funding altogether for the office’s “contribution to the U.S. Global Change Research Program,” a climate initiative that President George H.W. Bush launched in 1989. The staffing reductions, which could be accomplished through a buyout offer as well as layoffs, were among several changes to which the EPA staff was asked to react by the close of business Wednesday. Multiple individuals briefed on the plan confirmed the request by the Office of Management and Budget, which did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The document acknowledges that the cuts “will create many challenges” but suggests that “by looking ahead and focusing on clean water, clean air and other core responsibilities, rather than activities that are not required by law, EPA will be able to effectively achieve its mission.” [Trump to propose 10 percent spike in defense spending, major cuts to other agencies] Any cuts would have to be codified through the congressional appropriations process and would probably face resistance from some lawmakers. Rep. Mike Simpson (R-Idaho), a former chairman of the House Appropriations subcommittee on interior, environment and related agencies, said he did not think Congress would approve such a steep drop in funding. “There’s not that much in the EPA, for crying out loud,” he said, noting that Republicans had already reduced the agency’s budget dramatically in recent years. Jennifer Hing, a spokeswoman for the House Appropriations Committee, declined to comment Wednesday on the cuts targeted but said in an email that the panel “will carefully look at the budget proposal once it is sent to Congress.” The EPA also would not comment on the budget proposal. But its new administrator cautioned this week that the particulars of the budget remain in flux. “I am concerned about the grants that have been targeted, especially around water infrastructure, and those very important state revolving funds,” Pruitt told the publication E&E News after Trump’s address to Congress on Tuesday. He said he already had spoken with OMB Director Mick Mulvaney about the agency’s funding. “What’s important for us is to educate OMB on what the priorities of the agency are, from water infrastructure to Superfund, providing some of those tangible benefits to our citizens,” he said, “while at the same time making sure that we reallocate, re-prioritize in our agency to do regulatory reform to get back within the bounds of Congress.” [Pruitt to EPA employees: ‘We don’t have to choose’ between jobs and the environment] It is unclear whether Pruitt’s appeal would produce any ­changes: The document states that any requests from agencies to increase or reallocate funds must be accompanied by budgetary offsets. Those could include “alternative funding cuts, balance cancellations or viable user fees.” It instructs agency officials to “make sure any appeal is consistent with campaigns or other policy statements.” Agencies must submit any alternative budget proposals to OMB’s Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs by Friday, the document states, and OMB will convene a meeting April 15 to discuss the “initial draft of the workforce reduction plan.” As details of the blueprint emerged, environmental advocates and the EPA’s most recent administrator blasted the White House proposal. “This budget is a fantasy if the administration believes it will preserve EPA’s mission to protect public health,” Gina McCarthy, who served as the agency’s leader from 2013 through the end of the Obama administration, said in a statement Wednesday. “It ignores the need to invest in science and to implement the law,” she said. “It ignores the lessons of history that led to EPA’s creation 46 years ago. And it ignores the American people calling for its continued support.” S. William Becker, executive director of the National Association of Clean Air Agencies, said in an email that the proposed budget would devastate critical federal financial support for communities across the country. “These cuts, if enacted by Congress, will rip the heart and soul out of the national air pollution control program and jeopardize the health and welfare of tens of millions of people around the country,” Becker said. The instructions to the EPA signal how the new administration plans to delegate many responsibilities to the states even as it decreases the money they will receive from the federal government. The document directs the agency to get states “to assume more active enforcement roles” when it comes to federal environmental standards. In ­addition, it says, the agency should curtail its compliance-monitoring activities. “Basically, the direction is to reduce enforcement, which is already pretty strained,” said Eric Shaeffer, head of the Environmental Integrity Project, an advocacy group, and a former head of the EPA’s Office of Regulatory Enforcement. He noted that state programs are often “woefully underfunded” and at the mercy of state politics and pressure from large companies. Environmental justice activists are particularly alarmed at what they may face with the new administration. The document states that it supports the idea of environmental justice, but it would eliminate that EPA office and “assumes any future EJ specific policy work can be transferred to the Office of Policy.” On the South Side of Chicago, the neighborhood where Cheryl Johnson lives is known as “the toxic doughnut” because of the 200 leaking underground storage tanks and 50 landfills there. The EPA office has given People for Community Recovery, for which Johnson is the executive director, and other organizations money to conduct technical assessment of local facilities and provide training to educate residents. And, Johnson added, it also has provided a place where residents could appeal to force local polluters to come into compliance with federal standards. Losing that resource “would devastate a community like mine,” she said. It would be “like putting us in a chamber, to be disposed of.” More from Energy and Environment: Hundreds of current, former EPA employees urge Senate to reject Trump’s nominee for the agency Scott Pruitt, longtime adversary of EPA, confirmed to lead the agency Trump EPA official juggles two jobs in two Washingtons, and it hasn’t gone well For more, you can sign up for our weekly newsletter here and follow us on Twitter here.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: www.eurekalert.org

PHILADELPHIA - Casting one of the largest genomic nets to date for the rare tumors of the autonomic nervous system known as pheochromocytoma and paraganglioma (PCC/PGL) captured several new mutations driving the disease that could serve as potential drug targets, researchers from Penn Medicine and other institutions reported this week in Cancer Cell. Analyzing genetic data of 173 patients from The Cancer Genome Atlas, researchers, including senior author Katherine Nathanson, MD, a professor in the division of Translational Medicine and Human Genetics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and associate director for Population Science at Penn's Abramson Cancer Center, identified CSDE1 and fusion genes in MAML3 as drivers of the disease, both a first for any cancer type. The researchers also classified PCC/PGL into four distinct subtypes, each driven by mutations in distinct biological pathways, two of which are novel. "What's interesting about these tumors is that while they are astonishingly diverse genetically, with both inherited and somatic drivers influencing tumorigenesis, each has a single driver mutation, not multiple mutations," Nathanson said. "This characteristic makes these tumors ideal candidates for targeted therapy." Other cancer types typically contain anywhere from two to eight of these driver mutations. The discovery of these single drivers in PCC/PGL provides more opportunities for molecular diagnosis and prognosis in these patients, particularly those with more aggressive cancers, the authors said. PGLs are rare tumors of nerve ganglia in the body, whereas PCCs form in the center of the adrenal gland, which is responsible for producing adrenaline. The tumor causes the glands to overproduce adrenaline, leading to elevated blood pressure, severe headaches, and heart palpitations. Both are found in about two out of every million people each year. An even smaller percentage of those tumors become malignant - and become very aggressive. For that group, the five-year survival rate is about 50 percent. Matthew D. Wilkerson, MD, the Bioinformatics Director at the Collaborative Health Initiative Research Program at the Uniformed Services University, is the paper's co-senior author. To identify and characterize the genetic missteps, researchers analyzed tumor specimens using whole-exome sequencing, mRNA and microRNA sequencing, DNA-methylation arrays, and reverse-phase protein arrays. The four molecularly defined subgroups included: a kinase-signaling subtype, a pseudohypoxia subtype, a cortical admixture subtype, and a Wnt-altered subtype. The last two have been newly classified. The results also provided clinically actionable information by confirming and identifying several molecular markers associated with an increased risk of aggressive and metastatic disease, including germline mutations in SDBH, somatic mutations in ATRX (previously established in a Penn Medicine study), and new gene fusions - a genetic hybrid, of sorts - in MAML3. Because the MAML3 fusion gene activates the Wnt-altered subtype, the authors said, existing targeted therapies that inhibit the beta-catenin and STAT3 pathways may also prove effective in certain PCC/PGL tumors. Other mutations identified in the analysis may also serve as potential targets for drugs currently being investigated in other cancers. For example, glutaminase inhibitors are being tested in SDH-mutant tumors, including breast and lung, and ATR inhibitors are being investigated in blood cancers. Today, there are several U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved targeted therapies for mutations, such as BRAF and FGFR1, among others, also found in PCC/PGL. "The study gives us the most comprehensive understanding of this disease to date - which we believe will help researchers design better trials and target mutations that will ultimately help improve treatment for these patients," Nathanson said. "The next step is to focus more on aggressive cancers that metastasize and the drivers behind those tumors." Lauren Fishbein, MD, PhD, MTR, a former instructor in the division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolism at Penn who is now at the University of Colorado Hospital, served as the study's first author. The study was supported with grants by the National Institutes of Health (U54 HG003273, U54 HG003067, U54 HG003079, U24 CA143799, U24 CA143835, U24 CA143840, U24 CA143843, U24 CA143845, U24 CA143848, U24 CA143858, U24 CA143866, U24 CA143867, U24 CA143882, U24 CA143883, U24 CA144025, P30 CA016672). Penn Medicine is one of the world's leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation's first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $5.3 billion enterprise. The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top five medical schools in the United States for the past 18 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $373 million awarded in the 2015 fiscal year. The University of Pennsylvania Health System's patient care facilities include: The Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center -- which are recognized as one of the nation's top "Honor Roll" hospitals by U.S. News & World Report -- Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Wissahickon Hospice; and Pennsylvania Hospital -- the nation's first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional affiliated inpatient care facilities and services throughout the Philadelphia region include Chestnut Hill Hospital and Good Shepherd Penn Partners, a partnership between Good Shepherd Rehabilitation Network and Penn Medicine. Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2015, Penn Medicine provided $253.3 million to benefit our community.


Today, with the release of our report, The Global View of Transshipment: Preliminary Findings, we present the first-ever global footprint of transshipment in the fishing industry. The report explains how data scientists from SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch (a partnership of Oceana, SkyTruth and Google) analyzed Automatic Identification System (AIS) signals from ships at sea to developed a tool to identify and track 90 percent of the world's large refrigerated cargo vessels, ships that collect catch from multiple fishing boats at sea and carry it to port. According to the analysis, from 2012 through 2016, refrigerated cargo vessels, known as "reefers," participated in more than 5,000 likely transshipments (instances in which they rendezvoused with an AIS-broadcasting fishing vessel and drifted long enough to receive a catch). In addition, the data revealed more than 86,000 potential transshipments in which reefers exhibited transshipment-like behavior, but there were no corresponding AIS signals from fishing vessels. Brian Sullivan, Google's lead for Global Fishing Watch, will present the findings at the Economist World Ocean Summit in Indonesia today. The report, along with the underlying data and our list of likely and suspected transshipments, will be freely available on our website, globalfishingwatch.org. The global scale of transshipment and its ability to facilitate suspicious activity, such as illegal fishing and human rights abuses, is exposed in a complementary report being issued today by our partners at Oceana. The opportunity for mixing legal and illegal catch during the collection of fish from multiple fishing boats provides an easy route for illegal players to get their product to market. This obscures the seafood supply chain from hook to port and hobbles efforts at sustainability because it prevents an accurate measurement of the amount of marine life being taken from the sea. Among the many findings, Global Fishing Watch data documents that transshipment in offshore coastal waters is more common in regions with a high proportion of Illegal, Unregulated and Unreported (IUU) fishing than in regions where management is strong such as in North America and Europe. The data also revealed clusters of transshipment along the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZs) of some countries, and inside those zones of nations rated strongly for corruption and having limited monitoring capabilities. "These correlations do not provide any proof of specific illegal behavior," says Global Fishing Watch Research Program Director, David Kroodsma, and lead author on the report, "but they raise important questions and can lead to more informed international efforts by fisheries management organizations to prevent or better regulate transshipment." According to Oceana's report, three of the top eight countries visited by reefers have not yet ratified an international treaty meant to eliminate illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing, and therefore may have weaker regulations that would make it easier for illegally caught fish to enter the global marketplace. The report calls for the banning of transshipment at sea and expanded mandates for unique identifiers and vessel tracking for fishing vessels. The new analytical tools SkyTruth and Global Fishing Watch have developed using public domain AIS data can enable fisheries managers to identify and monitor transshipment anywhere in the world, permanently lifting the veil from the previously invisible practice of transshipment. The results were obtained through an analysis of over 21 billion satellite signals from Automatic Identification System messages broadcast by ocean-going vessels between 2012 and 2016. Using an artificial intelligence system developed by Global Fishing Watch, Kroodsma's team identified refrigerated cargo vessels based on their movement patterns. Verifying their results with confirmed fishery registries and open source online resources, they identified 794 reefers. That represents 90 percent of the world's reefer vessels identified in 2010 according to the US Central Intelligence Agency World Factbook. Through further analysis, they mapped 5065 instances in which a reefer and a fishing vessel were moving at a certain speed within a certain proximity to one another for a certain length of time.) Our algorithm was verified by matching a subset of these "likely transshipments" to known transshipments recorded by fishing registries. The data also revealed 86,490 potential transshipments, instances in which reefers that appeared to be alone traveled in a pattern and at a speed consistent with transshipment. Their activity cannot be verified, but given that many fishing vessels turn off their AIS device when they do not want to be detected, and some fishing vessels do not have AIS, these events must be considered potential transshipments. Explore further: Ships flagged for illegal fishing still able to get insurance, study finds


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: news.mit.edu

Many scientists are pursuing ways to treat disease by delivering DNA or RNA that can turn a gene on or off. However, a major obstacle to progress in this field has been finding ways to safely deliver that genetic material to the correct cells. Encapsulating strands of RNA or DNA in tiny particles is one promising approach. To help speed up the development of such drug-delivery vehicles, a team of researchers from MIT, Georgia Tech, and the University of Florida has now devised a way to rapidly test different nanoparticles to see where they go in the body. “Drug delivery is a really substantial hurdle that needs to be overcome,” says James Dahlman, a former MIT graduate student who is now an assistant professor at Georgia Tech and the study’s lead author. “Regardless of their biological mechanisms of action, all genetic therapies need safe and specific drug delivery to the tissue you want to target.” This approach, described in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences the week of Feb. 6, could help scientists target genetic therapies to precise locations in the body. “It could be used to identify a nanoparticle that goes to a certain place, and with that information we could then develop the nanoparticle with a specific payload in mind,” says Daniel Anderson, an associate professor in MIT’s Department of Chemical Engineering and a member of MIT’s Koch Institute for Integrative Cancer Research and Institute for Medical Engineering and Science (IMES). The paper’s senior authors are Anderson; Robert Langer, the David H. Koch Institute Professor at MIT and a member of the Koch Institute; and Eric Wang, a professor at the University of Florida. Other authors are graduate student Kevin Kauffman, recent MIT graduates Yiping Xing and Chloe Dlott, MIT undergraduate Taylor Shaw, and Koch Institute technical assistant Faryal Mir. Finding a reliable way to deliver DNA to target cells could help scientists realize the potential of gene therapy — a method of treating diseases such as cystic fibrosis or hemophilia by delivering new genes that replace missing or defective versions. Another promising approach for new therapies is RNA interference, which can be used to turn off overactive genes by blocking them with short strands of RNA known as siRNA. Delivering these types of genetic material into body cells has proven difficult, however, because the body has evolved many defense mechanisms against foreign genetic material such as viruses. To help evade these defenses, Anderson’s lab has developed nanoparticles, including many made from fatty molecules called lipids, that protect genetic material and carry it to a particular destination. Many of these particles tend to accumulate in the liver, in part because the liver is responsible for filtering blood, but it has been more difficult to find particles that target other organs. “We’ve gotten good at delivering nanoparticles into certain tissues but not all of them,” Anderson says. “We also haven’t really figured out how the particles’ chemistries influence targeting to different destinations.” To identify promising candidates, Anderson’s lab generates libraries of thousands of particles, by varying traits such as their size and chemical composition. Researchers then test the particles by placing them on a particular cell type, grown in a lab dish, to see if the particles can get into the cells. The best candidates are then tested in animals. However, this is a slow process and limits the number of particles that can be tried. “The problem we have is we can make a lot more nanoparticles than we can test,” Anderson says. To overcome that hurdle, the researchers decided to add “barcodes,” consisting of a DNA sequence of about 60 nucleotides, to each type of particle. After injecting the particles into an animal, the researchers can retrieve the DNA barcodes from different tissues and then sequence the barcodes to see which particles ended up where. “What it allows us to do is test many different nanoparticles at once inside a single animal,” Dahlman says. The researchers first tested particles that had been previously shown to target the lungs and the liver, and confirmed that they did go where expected. Then, the researchers screened 30 different lipid nanoparticles that varied in one key trait — the structure of a component known as polyethylene glycol (PEG), a polymer often added to drugs to increase their longevity in the bloodstream. Lipid nanoparticles can also vary in their size and other aspects of their chemical composition. Each of the particles was also tagged with one of 30 DNA barcodes. By sequencing barcodes that ended up in different parts of the body, the researchers were able to identify particles that targeted the heart, brain, uterus, muscle, kidney, and pancreas, in addition to liver and lung. In future studies, they plan to investigate what makes different particles zero in on different tissues. The researchers also performed further tests on one of the particles, which targets the liver, and found that it could successfully deliver siRNA that turns off the gene for a blood clotting factor. Victor Koteliansky, director of the Skoltech Center for Functional Genomics, described the technique as an “innovative” way to speed up the process of identifying promising nanoparticles to deliver RNA and DNA. “Finding a good particle is a very rare event, so you need to screen a lot of particles. This approach is faster and can give you a deeper understanding of where particles will go in the body,” says Kotelianksy, who was not involved in the research. This type of screen could also be used to test other kinds of nanoparticles such as those made from polymers. “We’re really hoping that other labs across the country and across the world will try our system to see if it works for them,” Dahlman says. The research was funded by an MIT Presidential Fellowship, a National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate Fellowship, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship, the MIT Undergraduate Research Opportunities Program, the Koch Institute Frontier Research Program through the Kathy and Curt Marble Cancer Research Fund, and the National Institutes of Health.


News Article | February 15, 2017
Site: cerncourier.com

Designing and building the advanced accelerator structures for CERN’s High-Luminosity LHC is a major challenge that requires international collaboration. Paola Catapano tours two labs in the US that are helping to develop superconducting focusing magnets and crab cavities for the project. Inside the IB3 Tech Building at Fermilab on the outskirts of Chicago, a heavy-duty machine several metres long slowly winds a flat superconducting cable. Watching the bespoke coil winder – called the Spirex and manufactured by Italian firm SELVA – in action, and the meticulous attention to detail from the coil’s specialist operators, is mesmerising. Their task is to fabricate the precision coils that will form the core of novel magnets for CERN’s High-Luminosity LHC (HL-LHC) project, scheduled to begin operation in the early 2020s. “It has to make 50 turns in total, 22 on the inner layer and 28 on the outer,” explains Fred Nobrega, of Fermilab’s magnet-systems department. The main challenge is the niobium-tin (Nb Sn) material, he says. “Bend it and it breaks like spaghetti.” The HL-LHC magnets will be built from Nb Sn, a new conductor used for the first time in an accelerator. Unlike copper, however,  Nb Sn is extremely brittle. Winding turns around the ends of the coil is particularly difficult, says Nobrega, and new chemical and heat treatments are being developed in the current R&D phase of the project at Fermilab to address this issue. The aim is to move from the prototype stage directly to the mass production of 45 long coils that are uniform and of high quality. A further 45 coils will be manufactured more than 1000 km away at Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL). The HL-LHC relies on a number of innovative magnet and accelerating technologies, most of which are not available off-the-shelf. Key to the new accelerator configuration are powerful superconducting dipole and quadrupole magnets with field strengths of 11 and 12 T, respectively (for comparison, the superconducting niobium-titanium dipoles that guide protons around the existing LHC have fields of around 8.3 T. The new quadrupoles will be installed on either side of the LHC collision points to increase the total number of proton–proton collisions by a factor 10, therefore boosting the chances of a discovery. Although the project requires modifications to just 5% of the current LHC configuration (see article on p28), each one of the HL-LHC’s key innovative technologies pose exceptional challenges that involve several institutes around the world. Fermilab has a glorious history in superconductivity. It was here that the first large superconducting magnet accelerator was built, for example. “But more than that, it was shown that [superconducting magnets] could be reliably employed in a collider experiment for hours and hours of stable beams,” says physicist Giorgio Bellettini, who was spokesperson of the CDF experiment at Fermilab’s Tevatron collider during the mid-1990s at the time the top quark was discovered there. “The LHC experience is built upon this previous large endeavour.” The plan is to develop and build half of the focusing magnets for the HL-LHC in the US. These have the specific project labels Q1 and Q3, and are a collaboration between three laboratories: Fermilab, BNL and Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California. Nb Sn technology, whose development has been supported by the US Department of Energy, was not applicable to accelerator magnets until around a decade ago. Now, Nb Sn magnets are the technology of choice. The prototypes being developed here are 4 m long, and once assembled with the surrounding “cold mass” to keep them below the superconducting operational temperature of Nb Sn, they will grow to around twice this length. The innovative feature of these magnets is their very large aperture – 150 mm in diameter – which is necessary to focus the proton beams more tightly in the interaction points. It also allows greater control of the stress on the magnets and the coils induced by the large magnetic field, explains Giorgio Apollinari, who joined Fermilab in the early days and is now director of the US LHC Accelerator Research Program (LARP). No magnet today can achieve fields of 12 T with such a big opening, which is three times larger than that of the existing LHC dipoles. This is a new development introduced by the LARP team, explains Apollinari, and it took several years to go from 70, then 90 to 120 and now 150 mm required by the HL-LHC. “And then you have to have all the infrastructure necessary to build the magnets, test the magnets, make sure they work, measure the field quality and hopefully send them to CERN for installation in the beamline in 2025.” Fermilab and the other LARP laboratories have successfully built 1 m-long short models to demonstrate that the technology meets the technical requirements, and the components are working exactly as expected. Now the teams are building longer prototypes with the correct length, aperture and all other design features. The next step is to build a full prototype with four coils, to complete the quadrupole configuration of the magnets, this coming spring. Similar magnets are being prototyped at CERN with a more ambitious length of 7.5 m. The final product from the US will be a 60 cm-diameter 4 m-long basic magnet containing a hole for the HL-LHC beam pipe. Twenty of these structures will be built in total, 10 in the US and 10 at CERN, of which 16 will be installed and the rest kept as spares. “This is collaboration in physics at its best,” explains Apollinari. “Everybody is trying to go faster, but we are looking at what each other does openly and learning from each other.” Over at Fermilab’s sister laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory (ANL) some 40 km away, the other substantial part of the US contribution to the HL-LHC project is gathering pace. This involves novel “crab”-cavity technology, which is needed both to increase the luminosity and reduce so-called beam–beam parasitic effects that limit the collision efficiency of the accelerator. Unlike standard radiofrequency cavities, which accelerate charged particles in the direction along their path, crab cavities provide a transverse deflection of the beam which causes it to rotate. The cavities are made from pure niobium and therefore require strict control from contamination via chemical processing. ANL specialises in superconducting cavities with a wide range of geometries, and a joint facility for the chemical processing of cavities is in place. ANL’s extensive experience with superconducting cavities includes the Argonne Tandem Linac Accelerator System (ATLAS). Built and operated by the physics division, this is the world’s first superconducting linear accelerator for heavy ions, working at energies in the vicinity of the Coulomb barrier to study the properties of the nucleus. It is for this machine that niobium was used for the first time in an accelerator, in 1977, and for which “quarter-wave” superconducting cavities were developed. “We developed superconducting cavities for a whole variety of projects, for the ATLAS accelerator, Fermilab, BNL, SLAC and of course for the HL-LHC at CERN,” says ANL accelerator scientist Michael Kelly. We meet in the lobby of the ANL physics division, next to a piece of the laboratory’s history: Enrico Fermi’s original “chopper”, a mechanical rotating shutter to select neutrons built in 1947 as part of ANL’s original nuclear-physics programme. “Today we process crab cavities for the HL-LHC, trying to achieve the highest possible accelerating or crabbing voltages, by making a very very clean surface on the cavity,” he explains. ANL’s chemical processing facility has recently been enlarged to accommodate new buffer chemical polishing and electro-polishing rooms. Wearing a complete set of clean-room garments as we enter the facility, electronic engineer Brent Stone explains the importance of surface processing. “A feature of niobium is that a damaged layer is formed as it is mined from the ground and goes through all different processes, so when the niobium is transformed into cavities we need to remove a 120–150 μm-thick damaged layer,” he says. “Inside these layers you can have inclusions that may affect their performance and it is critical to remove them.” Several steps, and journeys, are required to process the cavities. After the application of acids to remove material from the surface, the cavities undergo two cycles in ultrasonic tanks before being rinsed at high pressure and returned to Fermilab to be degassed in vacuum at high temperatures. They are then taken back to ANL for final chemical treatment, cleaning and assembly in the clean room. Finally, the cavities processed at Argonne are sent to BNL were they are cooled down to liquid-helium temperatures to test if they meet the crabbing voltage required for the HL-LHC. “One of the cavities processed has just very easily achieved its design goal,” says Kelly proudly, before we take leave of the laboratory. The crab cavities are less advanced than the magnets for the HL-LHC, both at CERN and at Fermilab. But efforts are progressing on schedule on both sides of the Atlantic. Two different designs have been developed for the HL-LHC interaction points: vertical plane for ATLAS and horizontal plane for CMS. Both cavity designs originated from LARP, the LHC accelerator R&D programme created by the DOE in 2005 while the LHC was nearing its completion. “Without that foresight we wouldn’t have the HL-LHC today,” says Apollinari.


Halstead S.B.,Research Program | Thomas S.J.,U.S. Army
Clinical Infectious Diseases | Year: 2010

Japanese encephalitis (JE) is a mosquito-borne flavivirus infection responsible for significant morbidity and mortality across Asia. Indigenous populations and those who undertake short- and long-term travel to endemic regions are at risk of infection and development of neuroinvasive disease. Effective mouse brain-derived vaccines have been available in select countries, including the United States, for decades. Limited access in Asia and safety concerns with regard to mouse brain products prompted the Chinese to develop a live, attenuated virus vaccine (SA14-14-2; Chengdu Institute of Biological Products), which has proven to be safe and efficacious following administration of >300 million doses. Recently, the portfolio of JE vaccines increased again with licensure in the United States, Europe, and Australia of a purified, inactivated virus JE vaccine (IC51; Intercell AG) and filing for licensure in Thailand and Australia of a Yellow fever-JE chimeric vaccine (ChimeriVaxJE; Sanofi Pasteur). JE is a vaccine-preventable disease with numerous options now available for active immunization. Aggressive and responsible vaccination programs should greatly diminish the burden of disease. © 2010 by the Infectious Diseases Society of America. All rights reserved.

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