Marine Biological Laboratory Scientist To Speak At White House

Jerry M. Melillo, distinguished scientist at the Ecosystems Center of the Marine Biological Laboratory, will join John Holdren, assistant to the US president for science and technology, and other administration officials, to release the Third National Climate Assessment at the White House on Tuesday, May 6.

This assessment presents detailed, region-by-region information on the impacts of climate change, both present and future, in the United States. Dr. Melillo is chairman of the National Climate Assessment and Development Advisory Committee that prepared the assessment.

From 2 to 4 PM on May 6, Dr. Melillo will lead a panel discussion of the assessment in the White House South Court Room. This event will be webcast at www.whitehouse.gov/live.

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“It is absolutely clear that climate is changing,” Dr. Melillo said. “The Third National Climate Assessment is superbly documented, so that anyone can look at their region of the country and say, ‘It has gotten warmer,’ or ‘Precipitation levels have changed,’ or ‘Sea level is rising,’ or ‘Growing seasons have lengthened.’ This is all data [on current impacts]: it is not projections. Every region of the country is being affected in some way by climate change.”

The national climate assessments are prepared by the interagency US Global Change Research Program.

“There is widespread understanding now that climate change in recent decades is the result of human activities. There is no question about that. You can’t make sense of the global data on climate unless you invoke human activities,” Dr. Melillo said.

“What we decide to do about climate change will make a big difference. It’s not a problem we have to throw up our hands about and say, ‘It’s too late.’ There is still time to act, but it is becoming more and more urgent because the longer we wait, the more difficult it will be [to take effective action], and the greater the consequences for the American people. Action can be taken at all levels, including the local level, to adapt to the changes that are projected.”

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