A Few Things Ill Considered

This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


Objection:

The American Physical Society with tens of thousands of member scientists no longer believes that the science of global warming is conclusive. So what about that so called consenus?

Answer:

The APS has not reversed its position on climate change:

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.

This statement was reaffirmed on July 22, 2008 in response to a controversy prompted by the publication of an article by amateur climate sceptic Christopher Monckton. That article was published in the APS Forum on Physics and Society Newsletter, not a scientific journal, and is not peer reviewed science, nor is Monckton a scientist. The material Monckton presented has been thoroughly refuted by many working climatologists and the apparent embarrassment of the APS over how this happened has prompted them to preface that article with the following disclaimer:

The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review, since that is not normal procedure for American Physical Society newsletters. 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".

So, what about that consensus? Far from a sceptical institution, the American Physical Society is well in agreement with the IPCC consensus statement and their statement agrees with all the other endorsements from all the other major scientific institutions and national science academies from around the world. The consensus of scientific opinion on anthropogenic global warming is alive and well.


This is just one of dozens of responses to common climate change denial arguments, which can all be found at How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.


“The American Physical Society denies the so-called consensus” is also posted on the Grist website, where additional comments can be found, though the author, Coby Beck, does not monitor or respond there.

Comments

  1. #1 John Mashey
    September 17, 2008

    This whole thing happened because the editors of the FPS didn’t know this area, and asked Dr Gerald Marsh for suggestions on somebody to write a contrary position. They asked 5 people, only Monckton was interested.

    See more details at Deltoid.

    Marsh is a retired nuclear physicist and APS Fellow following the Fred Singer-like path of opining about climate in OpEds, thinktank websites, newspapers, newsletters, although not in peer-reviewed journals.

    His writings on climate are listed at RC here, and a few more here.

    I suggest reading a few of these to understand Marsh’s viewpoint, although you can guess from the list of those whose work he praises.

  2. #2 JLD
    July 28, 2009

    Natural forces are the dominant influence on climate, in a study just published in the highly-regarded Journal of Geophysical Research.
    (http://www.agu.org/pubs/crossref/2009/2008JD011637.shtml)

    I will chose to believe these “experts” over others.

    -JLD

  3. #3 coby
    July 28, 2009

    Hi JLD,

    That choice is called “confirmation bias”. A more open minded appraoch would look at the balance of all available evidence.

    BTW, this study apparently has serious flaws in terms of the conclusions they, and you, are drawing from their analysis. Please check out this link:
    http://tamino.wordpress.com/2009/07/24/old-news/

    Why don’t we let some time pass and other papers to weigh in before overturning a 100 year old consensus?

    Thanks for the comment.

  4. #4 michael wallace
    November 28, 2010

    I realize this is an old post, but it might add journalistic balance to describe the resignation of a founding member of the APS, Dr. Hal Lewis over this controversy.

  5. #5 pough
    November 28, 2010

    Is the use of “journalistic” to modify balance a purposely sarcastic thing?