Stanford, CA—One of the rationales behind basic research is to provide the scientific foundations for good public policy. Carnegie scientists have always done their share, but the Department of Global Ecology recently pulled off a public policy “hat trick” that is impressive even by Carnegie standards: three DGE scientists testified in three separate Congressional hearings in one day.
On February 25, 2009, in Washington, D.C. department director Chris Field appeared before the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works on Updates on the latest Climate Warming Science. Field, a leading member of the Nobel-Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, briefed the committee on scientific findings since the panel’s last report in 2007. He warned that carbon emissions are accelerating faster that any of the models anticipated, and that dangerous feedbacks in the climate system may be triggered if action is not taken soon.
That same day, Ken Caldeira testified before the House Subcommittee on Insular Affairs, Oceans and Wildlife of the Committee on Natural Resources, in a hearing on HR860, the "Coral Reef Conservation Act". This act is intended to expand protection for coral reefs. Caldeira briefed the committee on threats to reefs from global warming and ocean acidification.
Finally, Greg Asner submitted a written statement to a congressional briefing for House representatives and staff on tropical deforestation. In his statement, Asner emphasized the importance of monitoring and measuring rates of deforestation―which accounts for about 20% of global greenhouse gases released―and noted that technologies for achieving this already exist and can be implemented now.
The fact that DGE’s scientists have the ear of the nation’s lawmakers concerning some of society’s most urgent issues underscores not only the importance of DGE’s work, but the growing impact of Carnegie’s newest department.
Link to Field testimony:
Link to Caldiera testimony: