International Scientific Society Responds to Paris Agreement

12 December 2015

WASHINGTON, DC — The following statement is attributable to American Geophysical Union (AGU) President Margaret Leinen. AGU represents more than 60,000 Earth and space scientists worldwide.

“Today, we congratulate global leaders for taking a historic step to combat climate change by finalizing the Paris Agreement.

AGU’s community of scientists called for action on climate change in 2003 and reiterated in 2013 that ‘human-induced climate change requires urgent action’.  Today, the world’s negotiators universally recognized that climate change and its effects are real and serious, and also that collective action can and will make a difference to lessen the most severe impacts on people’s lives and society at large.

We especially applaud the recognition in the Paris Agreement of the need to ensure the integrity of the ocean as an ecosystem, given the consequences of its warming, sea level rise, ocean acidification and oxygen levels.

Scientists will play an essential role in ensuring that the global framework for action is effective in advancing a series of progressive steps ‘based on the best available scientific knowledge.’  We welcome the challenge to the science community, which includes many AGU members, to provide a special report to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in 2018 on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways.

AGU affirms its commitment to act in the spirit of cooperation envisioned in the agreement. We stand ready to contribute to the agreement’s call to ‘strengthen[] scientific knowledge on climate, including research, systematic observation of the climate system and early warning systems, in a manner that informs climate services and supports decision-making.’

Finally, the agreement requires the parties to encourage public awareness and action to help carry out the plan. AGU considers this a clarion call for the scientific community to more deeply and broadly engage non-scientific audiences on climate change in the U.S. and around the world.”


The American Geophysical Union is dedicated to advancing the Earth and space sciences for the benefit of humanity through its scholarly publications, conferences, and outreach programs. AGU is a not-for-profit, professional, scientific organization representing more than 60,000 members in 139 countries. Join the conversation on FacebookTwitter, YouTube, and our other social media channels.

AGU Contact:

Joan Buhrman
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