Friday, July 18, 2008

So I guess there have been rumors that the American Physical Society reversed its stance on global warming. These rumors are simply not true. One editor from a non-peer reviewed newsletter under its aegis made the claim, not the entire society. The APS issued a response, a selection of which follows:
APS Position Remains Unchanged

The American Physical Society reaffirms the following position on climate change, adopted by its governing body, the APS Council, on November 18, 2007:

“Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that “Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum.” This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.
Joe Romm has a thorough debunking of this article at Climate Progress:
What Marque has does is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be fired from his editorial position. In the July issue of the newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, Marque wrote:

"With this issue of Physics & Society, we kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body which, together with Al Gore, recently won the Nobel Prize for its work concerning climate change research. There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

Apparently Marque hasn’t quite caught onto the scientific method. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t name a single scientist who does not agree with the conclusion, it is quite irrelevant as to whether there are some scientists who don’t agree with the scientific understanding. As I’ve written, “What matters is scientific findings — data, not opinions. The IPCC relies on the peer-reviewed scientific literature for its conclusions, which must meet the rigorous requirements of the scientific method and which are inevitably scrutinized by others seeking to disprove that work. That is why I cite and link to as much research as is possible, hundreds of studies in the case of this article. Opinions are irrelevant.”

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