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Scientists Demand Climate Action

In a strongly worded letter to President Barack Obama and members of Congress, 20 prominent U.S. climate scientists and ecologists insist that the “Waxman-Markey bill now being considered by the Congress … must be enacted this year” as “only a first step” to avoiding the “rapidly developing global climatic catastrophe” that scientists have been sketching for decades.

The letter comes on the heels of similarly strong words from organizers of an international climate meeting in Copenhagen and scientists who wrote a U.S. government report on climate change impacts. Political scientist Roger Pielke Jr. of the University of Colorado, Boulder, doubts the letter will have much impact. “The science community doesn’t carry a lot of political weight,” he says. “What’s needed is good policy advice. To believe science is going to trump politics, it’s just not going to happen.”