To Reduce Climate Change, Sigma XI Calls for Support of Climate Scientists, Global Cooperation, and Investments in Research

American Scientist, January/February 2019 | Go to article overview

To Reduce Climate Change, Sigma XI Calls for Support of Climate Scientists, Global Cooperation, and Investments in Research


In November 2017 at its Symposium on Atmospheric Chemistry, Climate, and Health, Sigma Xi convened its members and the public to discuss the global threat of climate change. At the meeting, the Society's board of directors agreed to reaffirm its commitment to finding a solution. They published the following statement on October 8, 2018-the same day that the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a special report indicating that we can avoid several climate change effects by limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels. The report, however, also stated that limiting global warming to this level would require unprecedented changes in society.

Scientific evidence continues to confirm that human activities are contributing to the warming of our planet. The byproducts of industrial development including carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases have risen dramatically in recent decades leading to an overall increase in air and sea temperatures. The effects of this warming can be observed in increasing sea levels and atmospheric water vapor and decreases in mountain glacier and arctic ice mass, snow cover, and permafrost. Extreme weather-related events, such as droughts, heat waves, wildfires, large magnitude and intensity storms, floods, and blizzards, also appear to be associated with global warming. Left unresolved, the impact on ecosystems and human quality of life may be devastating. …

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