Wow, listen to that—and look who said it!

Eighty prominent physicists have called on the American Physical Society (APS), the nation’s leading physics organisation, to revise its policy statement on climate change.

This could be one of the most influential events of the year. Many scientists, researchers and professional bodies around the world are watching these events unfold. The century-old APS is the premier scholarly group in the U.S. dedicated to the advancement and dissemination of the knowledge of physics.

Oh, that a group of New Zealand scientists might challenge their masters as freely! Are free-thinking members of the Royal Society listening?

On August 12th, the writers sent an open letter to the APS Council, the governing body of APS, “regarding the National Policy Statement on Climate Change of the APS Council”.

“As physicists who are familiar with the science issues, we the undersigned urge the Council to revise its current statement on climate change… so as to more accurately represent the current state of the science.”

Considering it’s a mere 20 months since the APS adopted the statement on climate change, it hasn’t taken long for these members to have second thoughts about it.

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 [and] 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.

Now, by any standards, that’s a pretty moderate statement. Nobody’s blood is boiling and no threats have been made. But by the same token it doesn’t pull any punches and leaves no doubt that the current state of the science is unsatisfactory. If anyone misses the moderately-phrased point, let’s spell it out in simple words: man-made climate change has not been demonstrated!

I want to draw attention to the people, many retired now, who have supported the statement by signing the letter. It’s inspiring to consider the power of thinking and the body of scientific knowledge that these people represent. To oppose them would require impeccable standards of evidence and reason.

Please visit the link to their letter to browse the entire list, but the positions include: Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory; Professor of Physics and Physical Oceanography, University of North Carolina, Wilmington; Professor of Physics, Rutgers University; Professor of Physics, Princeton University; Professor of Chemical Physics and Environmental Chemistry, University of Modena, Italy; Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California at San Diego.

You get the idea. I don’t mean to invoke the appeal to authority argument, for that’s part of what bogs down the climate change debate, but it’s valid to acknowledge well-informed and powerful allies.

Scientific bodies in most countries around the world have subscribed to the anthropogenic global warming creed promoted by the IPCC. However, there have been signs for some time that these bodies have in effect been taken over by activists with an agenda. Lately, thousands of scientists have published open letters like this one, asking for a proper debate on the science, using the latest research.

This direct request by members to their association follows similar requests from scores of members to the American Chemical Society a month ago and by 60 German scientists to the German Chancellor, Angela Merkel, little more than a week ago.

They all challenge the supremacy of the belief in man-made global warming.

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