Supreme Court brief presents global warming facts

May 15, 2006
Two University of California, Berkeley, climate researchers have signed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the U.S. Supreme Court to hear an appeal in a case that could force the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles. The lawsuit, brought against the federal government by the State of Massachusetts, seeks to slow the onset of global warming.

The amici curiae brief was filed with the court on Monday, May 15, in Washington, D.C. by lawyers for the 14 scientists. The UC Berkeley scientists are John Harte, professor of ecosystem sciences and of energy and resources, and Inez Fung, professor of earth and planetary science and of environmental science, policy and management and co-director of the Berkeley Institute of the Environment. Fung also is a faculty staff scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory.

The scientists, according to the amicus brief, "are concerned about the possible, likely and virtually certain impacts on the Earth's climate from manmade emissions of greenhouse gases. They are also concerned about the legal interpretation of concerns about scientific uncertainty on this issue and the misinterpretation of relevant scientific conclusions in the decision below."

Among the other signatories are James E. Hansen, head of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, and Nobel Laureate F. Sherwood Rowland of UC Irvine. Most of the scientists signing the brief are members of the National Academy of Sciences or National Academy of Engineering, or have served on one or both of two recent National Academy of Sciences/National Research Council panels that have reviewed the state of the science on climate change and the impacts of human activities on climate.

Downloadable file (PDF)