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APS reconsiders its official statement on AGW?

  1. Nov 2, 2009 #1
    I received this email from APS headquarters this morning. A bit unclear to me whether or not one is meant to email them in support of *which* statement.


    In 2007 the APS Council adopted a statement on global warming that reads as follows:

    “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.
    The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.
    Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.”

    We note that this strong statement was adopted without any consultation with the membership.

    At its May meeting the Council received a petition from a large group of Members and Fellows (now numbering over 160), saying that the Society position was not supported by the science, asking for its reconsideration, proposing an alternate, and suggesting that the Society undertake a real and impartial study of the scientific situation.

    On November 8, the Council will meet to decide what to do about the Statement. We urge you to let the Councilors know if you believe the Statement is a fair representation of the scientific position through an e-mail to any or all of them (email addresses provided below).

    Since the addressees of this note represent only a sample of the membership, we would also urge you to pass this on.

    Details on the petition that triggered the review, the signers of the petition, and other relevant information can be found at http://tinyurl.com/lg266u.

    Bob Austin APS Fellow
    Roger Cohen APS Fellow
    Hal Lewis APS Fellow


    Robert H. Austin austin@princeton.edu
    Christina Back backca@fusion.gat.com
    Akif Balantekin baha@physics.wisc.edu
    Bruce Barrett bbarrett@physics.arizona.edu
    Shobo Bhattacharya shobo@tifr.res.in
    Betsy Beise beise@umd.edu
    James G. Brasseur brasseur@psu.edu
    Marcela Carena carena@fnal.gov
    Janet Conrad Conrad@mit.edu
    Charles D. Dermer charles.dermer@nrl.navy.mil
    Theodore Einstein einstein@umd.edu
    Arthur Epstein Epstein.2@osu.edu
    David Ernst david.j.ernst@vanderbilt.edu
    Katherine Freese ktfreese@umich.edu
    Heather Galloway Galloway@txstate.edu
    David Hammer rainer.kunz@coldquanta.com
    Philip Hammer pwhammer@gmail.com
    Wendell Hill wth@umd.edu
    P.S. Julienne paul.julienne@nist.gov
    David Landau dlandau@hal.physast.uga.edu
    Nancy Levinger levinger@lamar.colostate.edu
    Nergis Mavalvala nergis@ligo.mit.edu
    Scott Milner smilner@engr.psu.edu
    Jorge Pulline pullin@lsu.edu
    Mark Reeves reevesme@gwu.edu
    Steven Rolston Rolston@umd.edu
    Ronald Ruth rruth@slac.stanford.edu
    Gay Stewart gstewart@uark.edu
    Roger Stuewer rstuewer@physics.umn.edu
    Stefan Zollner zollner@mailaps.org

    And the president and president elect, as ex officio members:

    Cherry A. Murray (President) camurray@seas.harvard.edu
    Curtis G. Callan (President elect) ccallan@princeton.edu

    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 2, 2009 #2
    Here is the new, proposed statement.

    Greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, accompany human industrial and agricultural activity. While substantial concern has been expressed that emissions may cause significant climate change, measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today. In addition, there is an extensive scientific literature that examines beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide for both plants and animals.

    Studies of a variety of natural processes, including ocean cycles and solar variability, indicate that they can account for variations in the Earth’s climate on the time scale of decades and centuries. Current climate models appear insufficiently reliable to properly account for natural and anthropogenic contributions to past climate change, much less project future climate.

    The APS supports an objective scientific effort to understand the effects of all processes – natural and human --on the Earth’s climate and the biosphere’s response to climate change, and promotes technological options for meeting challenges of future climate changes, regardless of cause.

  4. Nov 2, 2009 #3
  5. Nov 2, 2009 #4
    This is bad science, as it shows a poor understanding of the basic laws of statistics. There was a high peak in 1998 with an exceptional "el nino" whereas 2008 had the opposite "la nina". We may be more or less flat over this period, but it remains that we need more than a decade to make statements about global trends : for instance, 78 to 98 shows a clear 0.16 per decade in agreements with most models around 0.2
  6. Nov 2, 2009 #5
    Its a decade long trend during the decade in which we have had the most intense politisizing of the issue. It may be in their best interest to down play their conviction in order to maintain support.
  7. Nov 3, 2009 #6


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    The National Academy of Sciences is looking into Climate Change.

    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 25, 2014
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