The first Congressional hearing on the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report will be held Thursday, February 8, 2007.
The hearing, “The State of Climate Change Science 2007: The Findings of the Fourth Assessment Report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Working Group I Report,” will be held on February 8 at 10a.m. in 2318 Rayburn House Office Building. It is open to the public and will be webcast on the Committee’s website.
It is our understanding that, as usual, the IPCC has not self-generated a plan for following-up the release of their 2007 assessment reports with a substantial continuing effort to communicate their findings to wider audiences around the world. It will be unfortunate if the authors release their several volumes of assessment reports this year, then go back to their research institutions without participating in a significant outreach effort to engage civil society in a dialogue about the current state of knowledge about climate change and its implications. Without direct communication by the scientists, the field is left to others with various non-scientific agendas to interpret and spin the findings. That extra-scientific communication will happen in any case, of course, and non-specialists do need to articulate their interpretations of the meaning of the scientific findings for public policy. But the more the scientists participate directly, at least in helping to keep the discourse scientifically accurate and honest, the better. Let’s hope that upcoming Congressional hearings are just a first step in pulling the IPCC authors into what should become an ongoing assessment dialogue.
February 2, 2007, press release from the House Commitee on Science and Technology:
(Washington, DC) The House Committee on Science and Technology will hold Congress’ first formal hearing on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today. Several authors of the report will be on hand to discuss their findings with Committee Members next Thursday.
Upon release of the IPCC report today, Committee on Science and Technology Chairman Bart Gordon (D-TN) offered the following comment:
“Expert scientists have provided us with a diagnosis of the problem and a prognosis for our planet’s health. Now, its time for us - the policymakers - to do our jobs.
This 4th Assessment Report confirms - with greater certainty than ever before - that the Earth’s climate is changing, the change is underway and will continue throughout our lifetime, and those changes are driven by human activity.
It’s time to end the debate and act. The Committee on Science and Technology will do our part by ensuring that science and cutting-edge research continue to provide us the information we need to understand climate change and respond to it.
This Committee will work to provide our colleagues here in Congress, the Administration and our citizens with a robust scientific enterprise to address this challenge.”