National Academies Weigh in on Climate and Health

Calling some effects from global warming inevitable, the science academies of 13 nations -- including the United States -- issued a joint statement today calling on world leaders to cut greenhouse gas pollution in half by 2050 and speed up technology research that helps foster a "low-carbon society."

"A movement to a low-carbon society will provide the opportunity to mitigate and adapt," the statement reads. "Mitigation cannot provide all the answers, but many impacts can be reduced, delayed or avoided by cutting emissions."

Progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide has been slow, according to the statement. It was issued as President Bush is discussing an international climate agreement, among other topics, with European Union leaders at a summit in Slovenia.

"I think we can actually get an agreement on global climate change during my presidency," Bush said today at a news conference.

But he stressed it would only succeed if developing countries participate.

"I will just tell you that unless China and India are at the table, unless they agree to a goal, unless they agree to firm strategies to achieve that goal, then I don't see how any international agreement can be effective," he said.

The science academies called on countries to advance carbon capture and sequestration technologies, which would capture carbon dioxide pollution from coal-fired power plants and other sources, then store it underground. The statement also called for developing energy-saving housing, low-carbon transportation and policies for curbing emissions from deforestation.

The statement was signed by the science academies of the G-8 nations: Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, the United States and the United Kingdom, along with China, India, Brazil, Mexico and South Africa.

In addition to the statement on climate, the academies issued a statement addressing global health needs, calling on nations to increase scientific and medical collaboration, identify major disease challenges and work to protect human health through food and water safety, and access to medical treatment.