Chronology Current Month Current Thread Current Date
[Year List] [Month List (current year)] [Date Index] [Thread Index] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Prev] [Date Next]

[Phys-l] response from APS and those petitioning the APS

Please find the press release with Roger Cohen's comments interspersed in red.
Someone made the comment earlier that physicists should just rely on climate scientists
and not evaluate the science for themselves. I wholeheartedly disagree. I think that if
we are interested we can look into the literature and study the data and methods and
come to our own conclusions. That's what I invite my students to do and my colleagues.

October 12, 2010
Contact: Tawanda W. Johnson
Press Secretary
American Physical Society
Washington, D.C.

APS Comments on Harold Lewis´ Resignation of his Society Membership
WASHINGTON, D.C. - In a recent letter to American Physical Society (APS) President
Curtis A. Callan, chair of the Princeton University Physics Department, Harold Lewis,
emeritus physics professor at the University of California, Santa Barbara, announced that he
was resigning his APS membership.

In response to numerous accusations in the letter, APS issues the following statement:
There is no truth to Dr. Lewis´ assertion that APS policy statements are driven by financial
gain. To the contrary, as a membership organization of more than 48,000 physicists, APS
adheres to rigorous ethical standards in developing its statements.

We know that the existing 2007 APS Statement on Climate Change was developed
literally over lunch by a few people, after the duly constituted Committee had signed
off on a more moderate Statement.

The Society is open to review of its statements if members petition the APS Council - the
Society´s democratically elected governing body - to do so.

We have yet to receive a response to our Petition, signed by 267 including nearly
100 Fellows, and delivered last spring, on the independent study and assessment.

Dr. Lewis´ specific charge that APS as an organization is benefitting financially from climate
change funding is equally false. Neither the operating officers nor the elected leaders of the
Society have a monetary stake in such funding.

The chair of the POPA Committee that re-endorsed the 2007 APS Statement on
climate change, with its Appendix, sits on the science advisory board of a large
international bank. The bank has major investments in "green enterprises" whose
viability depends on continued concern over CO2 emissions . One of the members of
the Kleppner Committee that reviewed the 2007 Statement served on the committee
while under consideration for Chief Scientist at BP. The position had been vacated
when Steve Koonin left to take a post in the DOE. Soon the Kleppner Committee
report in late 2009, this committee member took the BP job.

Moreover, relatively few APS members conduct climate change research, and therefore the
vast majority of the Society´s members derive no personal benefit from such research support.

This does not mention the firm expectation by federal government agencies such as
the NAS and the Presidential Science Advisor´s office that the APS will continue to
support the huge funding machine that diverts billions of taxpayer dollars into
research that must support the alarmist credo.

On the matter of global climate change, APS notes that virtually all reputable scientists agree
with the following observations:
· Carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere due to human activity;
· Carbon dioxide is an excellent infrared absorber, and therefore, its increasing presence in
the atmosphere contributes to global warming; and
· The dwell time of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is hundreds of years.
On these matters, APS judges the science to be quite clear. However, APS continues to
recognize that climate models are far from adequate, and the extent of global warming and
climatic disruptions produced by sustained increases in atmospheric carbon loading remain

This is much better than the 2007 Statement itself. However, the phrase "climate
disruptions" is noteworthy because it is the new buzzword recently introduced by
Science Advisor John Holdren
isdead-long-live-er-global-climate-disruption/ , evidently enabling advocates to assign
any unusual weather event to human causes. It is curious that that the APS press
release happens to echo this new phrase.

In light of the significant settled aspects of the science, APS totally rejects Dr. Lewis´ claim
that global warming is a "scam" and a "pseudoscientific fraud."

What we have here is a bait and switch. No one is saying that the greenhouse effect
itself is a scam. This passage seeks to transfer the `scam´ charge from its real target
to the trivial. The fraud/scam is to be found in the continual drumbeat that the
science is settled; that the effects will be catastrophic; that it requires draconian
economic sacrifices to avoid; and that mandates and subsidies for rent-seeking
corporations are justified.

Additionally, APS notes that it has taken extraordinary steps to solicit opinions from its
membership on climate change. After receiving significant commentary from APS members,
the Society´s Panel on Public Affairs finalized an addendum to the APS climate change
statement reaffirming the significance of the issue. The APS Council overwhelmingly endorsed
the reaffirmation.

Never mind that the Panel on Public Affairs is chaired by an individual whose
research funding stream (from BP) depends on continued global warming alarm.

Lastly, in response to widespread interest expressed by its members, the APS is in the process
of organizing a Topical Group to feature forefront research and to encourage exchange of
information on the physics of climate.

Never mind that the TG was proposed in a petition organized by a small group of
members that included Dr. Lewis. Also, the Council has not yet approved a TG;
therefore it is not in the process of being "organized." It is being "considered." What
we have here is the first attempt to co-opt the TG for PR purposes. This before it has
even been approved by the Council.
Read the APS Climate Change Statement and
The last thing I would refer anyone to is this Statement.

About APS: The American Physical Society ( is the leading physics organization,
representing 48,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories, and
industry in the United States and internationally. APS has offices in College Park, MD
(Headquarters), Ridge, NY, and Washington, DC.

Tawanda W. Johnson
Press Secretary
APS Physics
529 14th St. NW, Suite 1050
Washington, DC 20045-2065
Phone: 202-662-8702
Fax: 202-662-8711