Physicists Stick to Warming Claim Post-ClimateGate
When CBSNews.com asked on Monday whether it will rethink the statement calling for immediate reductions in carbon dioxide emissions, the said it would not. APS spokeswoman Tawanda Johnson replied with a pre-ClimateGate announcement from November 10 reiterating support for the ; neither APS president-elect nor Johnson would answer other questions on the topic.
Pressure on this venerable society of physicists, which was founded in 1899 at Columbia University, is coming from members who are squarely in the scientific mainstream and are alarmed at the state of climate science revealed in the leaked e-mail messages and program files from the University of East Anglia's . (SeeCBS News' .)
Those files show that prominent scientists were so wedded to theories of man-made global warming that they ridiculed dissenters who asked for copies of their data, plotted how to keep researchers who reached different conclusions from publishing, and discussed how to conceal apparently buggy computer code from being disclosed under the Freedom of Information law. Internal investigations are now underway at East Anglia, Penn State, and the British government's .
One APS dissenting member is , a physicist who runs the at Princeton University. Another is Hal Lewis, a professor emeritus of physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara. A third is , another Princeton physics professor and head of a .
They've been circulating a saying: "By now everyone has heard of what has come to be known as ClimateGate, which was and is an international scientific fraud, the worst any of us have seen... We have asked the APS management to put the 2007 statement on ice until the extent to which it is tainted can be determined, but that has not been done. We have also asked that the membership be consulted on this point, but that too has not been done."
Some of the same scientists had asked the APS, pre-ClimateGate, to revise its climate policy statement. To the applause of who "a silly distraction," the APS that idea on November 10.
In the aftermath of the embarrassing data leaks, however, Princeton's Happer says that about half of the APS members they've contacted now support the petition (which, after all, is only asking for an independent analysis of the science involved).
Of the signatories so far, Happer says, 77 are fellows of major scientific societies, 14 members of the National Academies, one is a Nobel laureate, and there is a large number of authors of major scientific books and recipients of prizes and awards for scientific research. He adds: "Some have accepted a career risk by signing the petition. The 230 odd signatories can hardly be dismissed as lightweights compared to those who spread the message of impending climate disaster."
This has become a common refrain: , director of the Institute for Coastal Research, calls the climate change axis a "cartel." A colleague, , went further and the scientists implicated in the e-mails "should be barred" from future United Nations proceedings and warned that "the scientific debate has been in many instances hijacked to advance other agendas." One from a free-market group says that 12 of the 26 scientists who wrote the relevant section of a U.N. global warming report are "up to their necks in ClimateGate."
Below are excerpts from e-mail messages that the scientists behind the petition to the APS sent me on Monday:
Princeton University's Robert Austin:
Princeton University's William Happer:
We have independently contacted as many members of the APS as we can to ask for their support of the petition. We are getting about as many supportive as negative responses, so I would judge that about half the membership of the APS agrees with us. Those who oppose us usually have little or nothing to say about the science and plenty of things to say about what evil people we are. Those who agree with us are troubled by the lack of scientific support for the current APS statement and the highly political nature of it.
Hal Lewis of the University of California, Santa Barbara:
So the tragedy is that the serious questions are quantitative, and it's easy to fool people with slogans. If you say that the Earth is warming you are telling the truth, but not the whole truth, and if you say it is due to the burning of fossil fuels you are on thin ice. If you say that the Earth is warming and therefore catastrophe lies ahead, you are pulling an ordinary bait and switch scam. If you are a demagogue, of course, these distinctions don't bother you -- you have little interest in that quaint concept called truth.
So it isn't simple, and the catastrophe mongers are playing a very lucrative