My colleagues and I thought you would be interested in this letter-to-the-editor, ”Petitioning for a revised statement on climate change
,” published in the July 23 issue of the scientific journal Nature. It briefly describes the objectives and status of our initiative relating to the American Physical Society statement on climate change. The Nature letter is signed by Professors S. Fred Singer (University of Virginia), Hal Lewis (University of California at Santa Barbara), Will Happer and Robert H. Austin (Princeton University), Laurence I. Gould (University of Hartford), and myself. We are joined by more than sixty other members and former members of the Society who have signed the attached Open Letter
. The Open Letter includes a proposed Alternative Statement which the signatories find a more accurate representation of the current state of the science than the unsupported assertion of the APS: “The evidence is incontrovertible.” The signatories are a diverse group who share only a background in physics and a concern for the integrity of the science process. They come from academia, industry, and government. Many are distinguished prize winners (including a Nobel laureate), members of national academies, authors of books, chairs of studies of historical significance, and leaders of important activities in industry and government.
Please do not hesitate to contact me if you would like more information.
Roger W. Cohen, Fellow, American Physical Society, July 23, 2009
Open Letter to the Council of the American Physical Society
As physicists who are familiar with the science issues, and as current and past members of the American Physical Society, we the undersigned urge the Council to revise its current statement on climate change as follows, so as to more accurately represent the current state of the science: 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 - 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.