Physicists forced to reaffirm that human-caused global warming is “incontrovertible”

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"Physicists forced to reaffirm that human-caused global warming is “incontrovertible”"

[I am asking all Climate Progress readers to start an email campaign. Please feel free to post your emails as comments.]

physics.jpgThe Drudge headline blared “Group Repping 50,000 Physicists Opens Global Warming Debate…” The link was to a story “Myth of Consensus Explodes: APS Opens Global Warming Debate.” Since it was a denier website, I ignored it. Then I got forwarded an e-mail from one of the top journalists in the country titled “This may be important” with the same opening paragraph as the denier article:

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming. The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science. The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming “incontrovertible.”

Now you can be just as sure that any denier talk point is wrong without studying it in detail as you can be sure that a perpetual motion machine is not, in fact, perpetual without studying it in detail. But as a former American Physical Society Congressional science fellow, I feel obliged to point out that the obvious way to figure out what the American Physical Society believes is to go to their website, www.aps.org, and see what they say:

APS Climate Change Statement

APS Position Remains Unchanged

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.”

An article at odds with this statement recently appeared in an online newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, one of 39 units of APS. The header of this newsletter carries the statement that “Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum.” This newsletter is not a journal of the APS and it is not peer reviewed.

Red arrow Read: APS Climate Change Statement [which states, “The evidence is incontrovertible” and “We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.”

I really don’t like the word “consensus” (see Deniers say there’s no consensus about global warming. Well, there’s not. There’s well-tested science and real-world observations [that are much more worrisome].” But in any case, one ignorant editor at one unpeer-reviewed newsletter does not explode it.

So this editor who single-handedly smeared the good name of the American Physical Society and the 50,000 physicists it represents is one “Jeff Marque, Senior Staff Physicist at Beckman Coulter Corporation, 1050 Page Mill Rd., MSY-14, Palo Alto, CA 94304, jjmarque@sbcglobal.net.” Please do email him and his bosses (whose names and e-mails I will provide below) to let them know your thoughts.

What Marque has does is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be fired from his editorial position. In the July issue of the newsletter of the APS Forum on Physics and Society, Marque wrote:

With this issue of Physics & Society, we kick off a debate concerning one of the main conclusions of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the UN body which, together with Al Gore, recently won the Nobel Prize for its work concerning climate change research. There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for the global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution.

Apparently Marque hasn’t quite caught onto the scientific method. Aside from the fact that he doesn’t name a single scientist who does not agree with the conclusion, it is quite irrelevant as to whether there are some scientists who don’t agree with the scientific understanding. As I’ve written, “What matters is scientific findings — data, not opinions. The IPCC relies on the peer-reviewed scientific literature for its conclusions, which must meet the rigorous requirements of the scientific method and which are inevitably scrutinized by others seeking to disprove that work. That is why I cite and link to as much research as is possible, hundreds of studies in the case of this article. Opinions are irrelevant.”

Since the correctness or fallacy of that conclusion has immense implications for public policy and for the future of the biosphere, we thought it appropriate to present a debate within the pages of P&S concerning that conclusion. This editor (JJM) invited several people to contribute articles that were either pro or con. Christopher Monckton responded with this issue’s article that argues against the correctness of the IPCC conclusion, and a pair from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz, responded with this issue’s article in favor of the IPCC conclusion.

Christopher Monckton! The well-debunked Lord Monckton of Brenchley!!! You cannot be serious!!! Marque apparently could not even find a real physicist for this physics newlsetter! !!! You can read Lord Monckton’s bio on Wikipedia. He has a diploma in journalism, served as a policy adviser for Margaret Thatcher, “inherited his father’s hereditary peerage upon his father’s death in 2006,” and “was an unsuccessful candidate for a conservative seat in the House of Lords.” You might consider him a rich man’s (failed) James Inhofe. If you wanted to consider him at all.

Marque reprints Monckton’s critique of the IPCC’s analysis of climate sensitivity, even though NASA’s Gavin Schmidt of RealClimate.org debunked it two years ago as “sleight-of-hand to fool the unwary,” and Dr. Stephan Harrison has shown Monckton’s articles are “full of errors, misuse of data and cherry-picked examples.” The IPCC itself notes in its Fourth Assessment,

Analysis of climate models together with constraints from observations enables an assessed likely range to be given for climate sensitivity for the first time and provides increased confidence in the understanding of the climate system response to radiative forcing….

It is likely to be in the range 2°C to 4.5°C with a best estimate of about 3°C, and is very unlikely to be less than 1.5°C. Values substantially higher than 4.5°C cannot be excluded….

I won’t waste your time further explaining why Monckton’s analysis is nonsense. You can read the discussion in the IPCC summary report cited above (which identifies the sections in the full report that have detailed analysis and citations to the extensive literature). If you believe ignorance is bliss, then you can join the deniers in their very unlikely and very unscientific belief that climate sensitivity is on the low side if you want.

In fact, the real problem with the IPCC discussion of equilibrium climate sensitivity is that they only include the fast feedbacks, such as water vapor, and not the longer-term forcings, like the tundra (see “Are Scientists Overestimating — or Underestimating — Climate Change, Part II” and “Another “Must Read” from Hansen: ‘Long-term’ climate sensitivity of 6°C for doubled CO2“).

Why should Marque be fired? Well, consider the rest of his newsletter comments:

We, the editors of P&S, invite reasoned rebuttals from the authors as well as further contributions from the physics community. Please contact me (jjmarque@sbcglobal.net) if you wish to jump into this fray with comments or articles that are scientific in nature. However, we will not publish articles that are political or polemical in nature. Stick to the science! (JJM)

Whether or not human produced carbon dioxide is a major cause of impending climate change…

Uhh, how about this, JJM and JJM’s bosses. Stick to scientists! And unless you have come up with a different scientific method and a different way to establish the scientific understanding on an issue like climate science, and until you refute in detail the IPCC analysis, then please stick to scientific conclusions. Indeed, the last sentence above is doubly non-scientific: “Whether or not human produced carbon dioxide is a major cause of impending climate change….”

We know the science says there is a greater than 90% chance humans are the dominant cause of the global warming that has already occurred in the past 50 years, under a regime where atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide have gone up a mere 100 ppm from preindustrial levels. We are poised to add more than another 500 ppm CO2 concentrations (see here), which means there is a far greater chance than 90%, that human produced carbon dioxide will be a major cause of impending climate change.

No scientist who wrote the above quoted sentences, who let Lord Inhofe Vader Monckton publish his long-debunked disinformation in a (once-serious) physics newsletter, should keep his job. So I would urge all of you to write in (or call) — whether you are a scientist or not (if a non-physicist can publish an article in the newsletter, then surely a non-physicist can write in to complain).

Please email (or call):

Chair, APS Forum on Physics and Society
Andrew P. Zwicker
Head, Science Education Program, Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory
PO Box 451, Princeton, NJ 08543
office: (609) 243-2150 lab: (609) 243-3144 fax: (609) 243-2112
email: azwicker@pppl.gov

Former Chair, APS Forum on Physics and Society
Lawrence M. Krauss
Ambrose Swasey Prof. of Physics and Astronomy Director, Center for Education
and Research in Cosmology and Astrophysics Dept of Physics, CWRU 10900
Euclid Ave, Cleveland OH 44106-7079
krauss@case.edu 216 368 4070

Co-Editor: Al Saperstein, Physics Department, Wayne State University, Detroit, MI 48202, ams@physics.wayne.edu

Interestingly, in researching this post I came across a nice review of my book by Prof. Peter Schroeder in the April issue of this (once-serious) newsletter, which notes:

A major contribution of this book is Dr. Romm’s clear answers to many continually recurring questions which are asked by the public and politicians, and which are not readily accessible….

The book gives a very readable, graphic and timely warning of things to come unless the world acts now. I highly recommend it.

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74 Responses to Physicists forced to reaffirm that human-caused global warming is “incontrovertible”

  1. Jon says:

    Dr. Krauss,

    Although I am sure that you had no involvement or knowledge of this newsletter (PDF) prior to its publication, I thought it prudent to make you aware that it is being used to spread anti-science propaganda on behalf of those who reject mainstream science regarding climate change, and is being touted as a representative document from the APS as a whole. Your passion for communicating science and engaging the public is something that a greatly admire, from your delightful Star Trek book to your recent advocacy of Science Debate 2008. In the past you have lent your voice on behalf of science in pushing back against rubbish like Intelligent Design. It is my hope that you will lend it here to set the public record straight regarding this woeful misrepresentation of APS’s stance on climate science.

    Gratefully yours,

  2. Jon says:

    “a greatly” was corrected to “I greatly” before sending.

  3. Jon says:

    Response:

    thank you.. I will.

    Lawrence

    That was fast!

  4. Not a moron says:

    An easier form letter copied to azwicker@pppl.gov, krauss@case.edu, ams@physics.wayne.edu:

    Sirs,

    I am sure you are aware of the grossly irresponsible debate sparked by Jeff Marque. What Marque has done is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be immediately fired from his editorial position. The world simply does not have time to put up with this garbage.

    Thank you,

  5. hisnamewas says:

    Wow I love how junkscience.com quickly put up an article that says it is a statement by the APS.

  6. Shannon says:

    Can we call a moratorium on propaganda yet?

  7. JMG says:

    Meanwhile, you’ll be pleased to know that a hydrogen future is totally plausible …

    http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/25719194/

    I’m sure convinced. You?

  8. Ronald says:

    The magazine Scientific American once had unknowingly hired a Creationist to write a series of articles about science for children. As soon as Scientific American found out that person was a creationist, they fired him. They said they needed to think of the reputation of the magazine. They had a controversy over it, but maybe it was the right thing to do. As here.

    JMG,

    Thanks to the link to the article on our Hydrogen future. I noticed there was not a single mention of BEV’s or PHEV’s. The group was headed by a retired Exxonmobil exec. I bet the exec. is just hoping that Congress pushes for Hydrogen so Exxonmobil can keep selling gasoline to an underfueled world for a few more years.

  9. RP says:

    Gentlemen,

    I ask you next to investigate the obviously flat earth.

    Time to debunk this “earth as a globe” heresy.

    And isn’t gravity just a theory?

  10. Alex J says:

    One little point: “Consensus” can refer to a prevailing view based on a preponderance of evidence. It doesn’t necessarily mean “100% agreement”.

  11. William Eacho says:

    Here is the letter I sent:
    Sirs,

    I am sure you are aware of the grossly irresponsible issue (vol. 37, no.3) of Physics and Society edited by Jeff Marque. What Marque has done is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be immediately fired from his editorial position. He is an embarrassment to the scientific profession. The Bush administration has conducted 17 federal studies of climate change. Despite political pressure to conclude the opposite, each concluded that the likelihood was greater than 90% that the cause was primarily anthropogenic. There is not a single reputable scientific study published in any peer-reviewed journal, which disagrees with this conclusion. Yet Jeff Marque implies that there is a debate on this issue, and prints an article by a non-scientist, Christopher Monckton, whose opinions have been thoroughly debunked, to create the impression of a debate. Allowing Marque to continue as Editor of what was previously considered a responsible publication would do great damage to the reputation of the APS.

    That is not to say that there is no disagreement about the IPCC’s forecasts. While no one responsible disagrees with the conclusion that climate change is anthropogenic in its primary origin, many disagree over what this means for our planet. Most scientists believe that the IPCC has under-estimated the likely downside scenarios, as the IPCC was subjected to considerable political pressure to do so. It is therefore safe to take the pessimistic forecasts from the IPCC study and assume things will be worse. How much worse is a subject for debate.

    If you allow Marque to continue, next he will be suggesting a debate exists in the scientific community about whether the earth is flat, or whether gravity truly exists. Time to salvage your damaged reputation, do the right thing, and jettison Marque.

    William C. Eacho
    Seal Harbor ME

  12. William Eacho says:

    Here is the reply:
    Dear Dr. Eacho,

    Thank you for taking the time to send your email.

    Please note that the FPS Executive Committee is working on a timely and appropriate response.

    Sincerely yours,

    Andrew Zwicker
    Chair, FPS

  13. John Mashey says:

    One may peruse the previous issue for this article as well:
    http://www.aps.org/units/fps/newsletters/200804/marsh.cfm

    Imminent ice-age, among other things.

  14. John Hollenberg says:

    > Imminent ice-age, among other things.

    Not too loud. The deniers will jump on this garbage if they find out about it. I wonder why they don’t publish these wonderful “theories” in peer-reviewed journals. Oh, I forgot about the “peer review” part :-)

  15. Robert S says:

    “Physicists forced to reaffirm that human-caused global warming is ‘incontrovertible'”

    I don’t remember reading this anywhere in the short and easily understood climate change statement nor the recent “reaffirmation”. I did, however, read (in the statement) that the evidence for GW was “incontrovertible”. And this:

    “Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate.”

    Which is fairly unobjectionable, even to “denialists”.

    William Eacho said
    “What Marque has done is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be immediately fired from his editorial position. He is an embarrassment to the scientific profession.”

    Wow, this is frightening.

  16. The Truffle says:

    You’ll be pleased to hear that the APS has added a disclaimer to Monckton’s article: “This article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article’s conclusions.”

  17. Manfred says:

    I think the best way to deal with this article is to try to proof that it is wrong or contains errors.

    I haven’t seen anything of this yet.

    This is what science is about, the denial of discussion is real climate propaganda.

    [JR: Try reading the links.]

  18. Richard says:

    Please tell me if the actual earth temperatures have increased as much as the Hansen model from 1988 predicted that they would. Is the temperature data shown in the graph from the Monckton article correct?

    JR: Yes, temperatures have increased within the range Hansen had projected. You can spend all the time you want trying to figure out what the errors are in the Monckton piece, but I don’t waste time anymore on long-debunked nonsense that is far outside of actual observations and establish scientific theory, particularly when it is from non-scientists. Read the new disclaimer.]

  19. John Mashey says:

    Manfred:
    you obviously don’t follow this stuff.

    As Joe points out, Gavin Schmidt rather thoroughly debunked Monckton’s earlier version of this piece several years ago at RealClimate.

    Monckton added a few new bits, but nothing that makes a difference.

    But, how could anyone take seriously someone who complains, in the second paragraph:

    “The models heavily relied upon by the IPCC had not projected…
    (long list of things):

    nor the consequent surface “global warming” on Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and even distant Pluto.”

    Monckton is correct: Earth climate simulators do not predict what’s happening on Pluto. However, he omitted complaining that the simulations don’t predict the stock market, either.
    IF anyone thinks that temperatures on other planets are relevant, see
    Skeptical Science, which has a nice list of long-debunked arguments that appear again and again, with brief descriptions and then pointers to relevant scientific papers. In this case, see:
    15 Mars
    20 planet
    36 Neptune
    38 Jupiter

    Planetary temperatures are always jiggling around, and you can always find some that are warming, and some that are cooling.

  20. Gunther Ostermann says:

    Dear Editor, would you be interested in publishing this article?
    In view of the chaos on Earth, the most important questions have never been answered: are there any alternatives to plundering the Earth, making war, destroying the planet and the devastating consequences of Climate Change? Not to forget Peak Everything which simply is not reversible with any amount of money.
    Obviously, leaders in politics, commerce, and academia have either not foreseen the predictable turmoil, or adopted TINA, THERE IS NO ALTERNATIVE, as it seems to exclude any thought of what is happening as unavoidable.
    I question TINA, since I discovered ideas, which were either discarded or forgotten, and some are not even thought of, as I have a ‘handy’ unique life and science based item with a motto “I LOVE THE WORLD-IT’S THE ONLY ONE WE HAVE” and a vision, that would capture the hearts and mind of young and old. It would help re-establish people’s heritage, since our planet needs for its health and survival privileged, knowledgeable and caring inhabitants.
    Are there any persons who would spend the money that is now wasted for the duration of ONE MINUTE on the Iraq war, if they can be certain that, indeed, there are ALTERNATIVES? This could get the ball rolling. Any proceeds go towards making peace with men and nature.
    Let us speak and act ON BEHALF of those who suffer, and those who cannot yet speak for themselves. Or should we wait until there is nothing left worth saving and living for?
    Gunther Ostermann gco@shaw.ca

    650 Brighton Rd.
    Kelowna, BC. Canada, V1X 5K5 250 765 8726

  21. David L. Hagen says:

    Lord Monckton has demanded redress, accountability and an apology for the American Physical Society’s disclamation. It appears they violate their own ethics standards. They required peer review. Monckton revised his paper in detail to comply. It was published as such, and then the APS claims it was not peer reviewed. See:

    American Physical Society and Monckton at odds over paper

    PeerGate review scandal at Applied Physical Society

    Will APS redress Monckton’s grievances and apologize? Or persist is declaring any questioning of IPCC is intolerable?

  22. muddy says:

    “What matters is scientific findings — data, not opinions.”

    Bravo.

    It never ceases to irk me how often scientific data is referred to as a “belief.” Even Al Gore uses this term, and wasn’t it nice of NPR’s Talk of the Nation to have Mr Gore on right before a segment about the marketing of the message of global warming.

  23. roger haskett says:

    some really thoughtful and interesting comments on this blog. I’m glad I found it.

  24. Thomas Lee Elifritz says:

    Wow, this is frightening.

    No, it’s not frightening. Why would you be frightened of the truth? The truth is, Mr. Jeffrey Marque invited an known propagandist to publish a crank essay in a newsletter associated with a prestigious US physics organization, and portrayed that essay as credible scientific debate. He should be removed from his editorial position forthwith, and indeed, there is no doubt he will be.

  25. Silvanus says:

    Manfred- Science disproves nothing, it posits. That’s it. To “posit” means to propose a theory based on observations of the phenomena, then to test that theory in a variety of instances of the phenomena. Hence, the term “positivism” which was coined by philosophers long before it was taken as a banner to wave by “objective” scientists who didn’t want their bias scrutinized. But this is better analyzed by people such as Husserl, the founder of Phenomenology.

    What you are suggesting, is rather in the realm of rhetoric, which is about winning an argument, and not getting at the truth (this is why Plato denounced Rhetoric as immoral).

    Thanks for learning,

  26. Robert S says:

    “The truth is, Mr. Jeffrey Marque invited an known propagandist to publish a crank essay in a newsletter associated with a prestigious US physics organization, and portrayed that essay as credible scientific debate.”

    Yeah, that Schwartz article had some doozies in it, but I didn’t know he was a propagandist. Perhaps it was Hafemeister? Monckton and H&S sent in articles, they were reviewed (not formal peer review), and were published with corrections. Despite the informal review, both articles contain some large errors in logic. Newsletter articles are not meant to be perfect (though they may like them to be), and surely you could find major errors in every APS FPS newsletter since the newsletter began.

    Despite what you may like to have happen, I am sure APS does not search through realclimate for a “thorough debunking” of everything they publish in their newsletters, and I suspect the real reason you wish to have Marque fired is a vehement distaste for Monckton and “denier” sensationalism (like the dailytech article), both of which are out of APS’s control (can’t please everybody), and are surely not real reasons to have Mr. Marque fired. Sorry.

  27. Thomas Lee Elifritz says:

    both articles contain some large errors in logic

    Feel free to point out to us the ‘large errors in logic’ in Mr. Hafemeister’s and Schwartz’s vastly oversimplified ad hoc primer to carbon dioxide forcing and sensitivity. Be specific.

    Removal from his editorial position is not ‘being fired’.

    I’m sure they can find work for him in janitorial.

  28. Patrick says:

    I have to admit like most I was a little shocked to see this article and it is certainly unfortunate that the far right extremists have grabbed this statement and clutched it so tightly to their bosom.

    I bears noting that in the same newsletter as the statement of the editor and the article of Monckton is an article by David Hafemeister and Peter Schwartz of the physics department at Cal Poly University.

    Titled ‘A tutorial on the basic physics of climate change’ it gives a pretty clear and cogent argument about the physical effects when one starts changing the gas mixture in planetary atmospheres.

    Their abstract spells it out quite clearly, and I quote

    “In this paper, we have used several basic atmospheric–physics models to show that additional carbon dioxide will warm the surface of Earth. We also show that observed solar variations cannot account for observed global temperature increase.”

    I won’t bore you with the mathematics but their conclusion is clear.

    “Earth is getting warmer. Basic atmospheric models clearly predict that additional greenhouse gases will raise the temperature of Earth. To argue otherwise, one must prove a physical mechanism that gives a reasonable alternative cause of warming. This has not been done. Sunspot and temperature correlations do not prove causality.”

    While the mathematics behind the physics described in this article should be relatively easy to validate, it must be noted that this publication is NOT peer reviewed and therefore not meeting the stringent acceptance criteria of journals or of scientific discourse.

    As for the editor and statements made, even in newsletters, societies that engage in engineering and scientific endeavour tend towards staying away from the fringes. I will be the first to admit that this tendency can sometimes narrow innovation and discovery but we do this to maintain focus.

    Sometimes radical ideas have to be introduced gradually. Good examples are tectonic shifting of the earths crust and the ability of viruses to move genetic material from species to species.

    I would not be surprised if there were some very interesting conversations going on within the APS leadership and should the consensus be that the editor has stepped out of bounds there will certainly be changes.

  29. Robert S says:

    “Feel free to point out to us the ‘large errors in logic’ in Mr. Hafemeister’s and Schwartz’s vastly oversimplified ad hoc primer to carbon dioxide forcing and sensitivity. Be specific.”

    I think the large error in logic on Schwartz’s part was sending in such sloppy work (I could say the the same thing for Monckton). Unfortunately, the oversimplification was at the expense of accuracy, like oversimplifying so often does. For instance, this:

    “Our zero-dimensional box model did not take into account the
    following variable factors: Reflection, absorption and emission by
    air, aerosols, clouds and surface; Convection of sensible and latent
    (evaporation) heat; Coupling to oceans and ice; Variations in three
    dimensions;”

    I could get into more detail if you wish, but really, it was besides the point (which I suspect was your intention).

    “Removal from his editorial position is not ‘being fired’.”

    Ah, well, i suggest you tell that to Dr. Romm, as it was his phrasing:

    “What Marque has does is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be fired from his editorial position.”

    But really, this is just semantics, and again, besides the point.

    and Variable solar flux.

  30. Robert S says:

    Sorry, I messed up the quote, So I will repost:

    “Feel free to point out to us the ‘large errors in logic’ in Mr. Hafemeister’s and Schwartz’s vastly oversimplified ad hoc primer to carbon dioxide forcing and sensitivity. Be specific.”

    I think the large error in logic on Schwartz’s part was sending in such sloppy work (I could say the the same thing for Monckton). Unfortunately, the oversimplification was at the expense of accuracy, like oversimplifying so often does. For instance, this:

    “Our zero-dimensional box model did not take into account the
    following variable factors: Reflection, absorption and emission by
    air, aerosols, clouds and surface; Convection of sensible and latent
    (evaporation) heat; Coupling to oceans and ice; Variations in three
    dimensions; and Variable solar flux.”

    I could get into more detail if you wish, but really, it was beside the point (which I suspect was your intention).

    “Removal from his editorial position is not ‘being fired’.”

    Ah, well, i suggest you tell that to Dr. Romm, as it was his phrasing:

    “What Marque has does is so beyond the realm of real scientific debate that he should be fired from his editorial position.”

    But really, this is just semantics, and again, beside the point.

  31. Thomas Lee Elifritz says:

    I could get into more detail if you wish

    Please do.

    I am especially interested in your crackpot theory of variable solar flux.

  32. Grammar Nazi says:

    What Marque has does???

    Can I has better grammar from climateprogress.org (especially when denouncing another editor)?

  33. Thomas Lee Elifritz says:

    What Marque has does???

    So I guess your quantum neurolyzer needs a wetware update, huh?

    What sort of a biophysicist are you, anyways? Did it even occur to you to send a quick email to the author alerting him of a glaring spelling error?

    Do you quote the dictionary as well?

  34. Mark In Ohio says:

    My e-mail to Dr. Zwicker:

    Hello –

    Lest you think the antics of wayward APS staffer Jeff Marque will pass unnoticed in the countryside, I want to tell you that I noticed and that I find Marque’s comments to be reprehensible. He has smeared the APS with his off-the-wall, unsupported newsletter opinions and his willingness to play fast and loose with facts, the truth, and genuine scientific consensus.

    He cites Christopher Monckton. Come on! Seriously?? I guess he assumes we don’t know of Monckton and his terrible reputation, and yes, Americans do tend to be ignorant of such details. That doesn’t mean you get to lie to them about this issue.

    This attack on science heaps disgrace upon the APS. Getting rid of Jeff Marque would go along way toward restoring its credibility, at least with me and other thinking people.

  35. Stuart Eugene Thiel says:

    While I agree that Marque is a fool or a mole for Exxon, I disagree with your exhortation that we, mostly nonscientists, badger scientists with demands that they stop paying heed to nonscientists. Surely the American Physical Society can police its own newsletter.

  36. jcwinnie says:

    And, here I thought it was dancing when actually the pin was stuck to the planet surface and the angels given a hotfoot.

  37. Paul says:

    That was exceptionally poor judgement on Marque’s part. He has not done the APS any favors and has given much ammunition to the deniers, ammunition that they have wasted no time in delpoying amongst their operatives. Remembering that the deniers’ chief strategy is to introduce an element of doubt into the minds of non-scientists, Marque just handed them a major victory in the struggle to disinform and manipulate the thinking of the innocently ignorant, those whose collective thinking can be manipulated and whose collective voice can be mobilized into supporting a cause that works against their own self-interests.

    Peer reviewed or not, science editorials must not be concerned about “fair and balanced” issues. That is the realm of propaganda organs like FOX News. In the sciences, data speaks for itself; it is impervious to the influence of opinion…either for or against any particular issue or theory. The science is what it is, independent of whether there is even anybody around to hold opinions about it, pro or con. More, science is not subject to being altered or corrupted by a corrupt political agenda. Conclusions and theories derived from and supported by rigorously executed science are what they are. As an editor of a science publication, Marque should understand this. As a science editor, Marque had a duty to ensure that integrity be preserved. By providing a forum for a thoroughly compromised denier propagandist like Moncton, Marque has lent him a legitimacy that he has not earned. He and his corrupt fellow propgandists will use this newly found advantage to further their work of introducing doubt where none is warranted.

    Though Moncton’s “work” has been thoroughly rebutted in the past, Marque (or his successor) may be able to negate some of the the damage that Marque has allowed to occur by dedicating the next issue to republishing those rebuttals. Some aggresively implemented remedial effort along that line is now mandatory, because the denier propagandists are attempting to use this situtation to implicate, and make co-complicit, the entire physics community in a lie and a false representation. To the extent that their lie and false representation succeeds, they will be able to manipulate the political process in ways that ill-serve the world. The APS cannot be a party to such doings, not even peripherally.

  38. Sulphurdunn says:

    The purpose of misinformation like this is political not scientific. If trumpeted enough, the same people who buy creationism and the link between Saddam Hussein and 911 will buy this too. Conveniently, this is a major election year, and any 24/7 media circus rebuttal of climate science should give status quo politicians cover to continue subsidizing fossil fuel energy economics and dovetail nicely with the fantasy paradigms of authoritarian religious and political voters.

  39. kcbill13 says:

    I would just check out whom Mr Marque’s been being paid off by lately.

    Us non-science people just kind of follow the money, and I am sure Mr. Marque’s has rcvd some funding lately from Exxon or BP, whomever.

  40. Dan Meenan says:

    Just sent this to the adults at APS.

    Sirs,

    I was surprised, or perhaps appalled, to see that P&S is now citing scientific charlatans for its articles. How anyone could use Lord Monckton of Brenchley as a source for anything other than scorn or sarcasm in a scientific journal is beyond reason – unless of course there is a naked political agenda underlying the whole ridiculous mess. My colleagues and I, though mathematicians (you might call us physicist wannabes, but that’s a topic for another day), do take seriously our responsibility to keep abreast of the sciences in general. We are dismayed to see the otherwise august body of the APS have its reputation sullied by the buffoonery of a sadly misinformed editor. Do please extend my apologies to Mr Marque if the inclusion of Lord Monckton in his article was meant to be taken as a lark or a July Fool’s Day prank.

    Yours,

    etc, etc.
    Dan Meenan

  41. belowrey says:

    I send an email, questioning how Marque would have heard of Monckton but not know what he is. And why did he chose this question anyway? I find it hard to believe that it was all stupid judgment.

    Anyone writing to debate a denier should move the argument forward: What do we do? (Not all solutions are reasonable imo).

    I thought of offering to start a forum on the validity of Velikovsky’s ideas about Venus gallivanting around the solar system 6000 years ago, but decided the climate issue is too serious for joking.

    I am a retired physicist. Forty years ago I used to think climate warming was something to worry about in my grandchildren’s old age (if I had any which I now do). Now I see it happening, in my father’s old age.

  42. John Mashey says:

    I conjecture that no one was paying off Marque or Saperstein at FPS, but they got talked into it by Larry Gould, and the details are over at Deltoid, especially post #2.

    Saperstein did the “review”, and since he expresses nonunderstanding of difference between forcing and feedback, he is clearly not a climate expert.

    DON’Tworry about bugging people at the APS.

    I *know* they are aware of the problem.

    I suspect there will be some serious discussions about:

    – governance
    – the exact role of the FPS

  43. Neil says:

    I don’t want to burst bubbles or anything, but since Plasma Cosmology is coming to the for, then the implications are that the sun has variable output and it is this output that most affects the climate. However, CO2 Emissions are a factor and can have regional and global effects, but a “little ice age” can come suddenly and change a regions climate significantly for hundreds of years. As we have historical documents to show has occured as recently as 800 years ago.

  44. me says:

    Neil, you keep blowing bubbles. Your mommy will be along to wipe the spittle away in a minute.

  45. Thomas Lee Elifritz says:

    The sun could burp at any moment and fry us, it could wane and freeze us, we could be hit by an asteroid any day now, a supervolcanoe would do us in, megatsunamis, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, George Bush attacking Iran, lots of things can happen. The point is all of these things will happen, and two things that are happening are global warming and overpopulation.

    The point is, what are you gonna do about it? I don’t know about you, but I’m placing my ‘bets’ on 1) science and 2) rationality, and finally 3) space.

    We’re gonna need a real rocket. Not some kind of big stick. The real deal.

  46. T Thomson says:

    Dear Sir:

    I just read the response to the questioning whether so-called greenhouse gases were responsible for the current climate change.

    I will set aside the inappropriate language used by the reviewer to criticize one of your editors. It doesn’t speak well of your organization. The search for truth is Helgian in nature in that there is a thesis (CO2 causes climate change) and an antithesis (there is no climate change or its not caused by CO2). In a civilized discussion, neither side is stupid or ignorant. Neither side should be fired. It is part of the process of scientific discovery.

    As it turns out there is incontrovertible data that questions the greenhouse gas theory (hypothesis).

    As a practicing scientist, not conflicted by a need for government funding, I was as concerned with the “consensus” (the history of science is filled with wrong consensuses) as I was about those who dismiss the effect as being the product of a university system dependent on the bureaucracy for funding. While not a physicist or a climatologist, I can read data. Using exclusively NASA data, I was able to prove to myself that the cause of what we call global warming (which I confirmed) did not correlate well with CO2 (as a surrogate for greenhouse gases). What did correlate well was what is known as Total Solar Irradiance. Still further, the effect was confirmed by juxtaposing TSI data with tree ring data. (Paper available on request)

    [JR: I’m glad you were able to convince yourself of something that has been so thoroughly disproven in the scientific literature. I respectfully question why anyone would want to buy your foam given your apparent lack of understanding of the scientific method.]

    As scientists, we must rise above politics. In the same sense that the research of Dow Chemical and Big Oil is dismissed as having a conflict of interest, government supported science needs to be especially vigilant. The ranker exposed in the criticism of Dr. Marque seems to me to be defensive and not constructive.

    We should be thanking Dr. Marque and Viscount Monckton for their courage.


    T. (Tim) Thomson
    Director of Research
    Rogers Foam Corp
    20 Vernon Street
    Somerville, MA 02145
    USA
    Phone: (617) 623-3010
    Fax: (617) 629-2585
    Email: tthomson@rogersfoam.com

  47. Besides, the TVMOD needs more foam cushions!

  48. James Dillon says:

    Sirs,
    I totally agree with Thomson and would add the following concerning peer reviewed journals. Where have the advocates of greenhouse generated global warming published the proof that their equations are accurate. If they think they can predict the future then they most assuredly can predict the past. They have all the data available from 1880 to 2000. Do their equations accurately correlate CO2 and temperature during that time?? If not, why not. If they do, where is it published?

  49. John Hollenberg says:

    How about instead of using the word “advocates” or “believers” we use a more accurate term like “those who accept the results of the scientific method, as reflected in the published, peer-reviewed literature”?

  50. Arthur Smith says:

    I’ve been a member of APS FPS for a couple of decades; Al Saperstein has been around forever, but I believe Jeff Marque is relatively new as editor for the newsletter. As far as I am aware, both are unpaid. The entire forum budget can’t be more than a few ten’s of thousands of dollars/year, and that covers organizing conference sessions, meetings of the executive committee, and mailing a physical copy of the newsletter (though this present issue is apparently the last one scheduled to be mailed!)

    The forum’s main focus for many years has been on nuclear weapons, reactors, and proliferation issues; they have occasional letters about more general energy issues and some good reviews of books on other subjects (like climate change) but that really hasn’t been their expertise. It probably ought to be, going forward; I would strongly recommend a re-thinking of their practices in handling contributed articles, to at least include a broader editorial board with real expertise in the areas being discussed. I’m sure they could find many volunteers to help with such activities among the forum membership.

  51. James Dillon says:

    Actually that’s whole problem with this area. It has more to do with politics and belief than a dispassionate pursuit of the truth.

  52. John Hollenberg says:

    > Actually that’s whole problem with this area. It has more to do with politics and belief than a dispassionate pursuit of the truth.

    No, the problem is that there is “incontrovertible” (to use APS term) evidence of anthropogenic global warming, and we need to get moving right away to keep the problem from getting a lot worse. It doesn’t hurt that the proper solutions will decrease pollution, move us toward energy independence, improve our national security, etc.

  53. John Mashey says:

    Arthur:
    As an FPS member, can you take a look at my suggestions over at Cocktail Party Physics and see if they make any sense.

    Briefly, I’m suggesting that the newsletter form is now falling in a weird ground in between real journals and blogs. If one wants active discussion, it’s hard to get it in a quarterly newsletter, a moderated blog with featured articles by guests might be better.

    Otherwise, they need to get serious on some level of refereeing.

  54. Arthur Smith says:

    John Mashey – great comments. I know FPS started an online discussion board four or five years ago and it went nowhere (I was one of the few people to actually comment there). It seems to have been discontinued – I can’t find it now.

    But they are in any case discontinuing the printed newsletter; the main reason for the quarterly publication schedule I believe was the constraints of print, so a blog/online forum of some sort makes a lot of sense going forward anyway. I certainly think it could work with some promotional effort…

  55. T Thomson says:

    To Mr. Hollenberg: When the APS uses words like “incontrovertible” it shuts off debate especially among those whose living depends on the global warming. The history of science (and religion) is peppered with discredited incontrovertible evidence. In this case the concentration of greenhouse gases is not the best fit to surface temperatures.

    In my discussions the concept of using the issue as a vehicle to “decrease pollution and move us toward energy independence…” seems to me to be misplaced. If an issue is serious enough, it should stand on its own.

  56. John Hollenberg says:

    > When the APS uses words like “incontrovertible” it shuts off debate

    That’s because the “debate” IS already over as far as whether AGW is occurring:

    http://climateprogress.org/2007/11/17/must-read-ipcc-synthesis-report-debate-over-delay-fatal-action-not-costly/

    (Short of some revolutionary finding that large areas of accepted science are wrong, of course.)

    > The history of science (and religion) is peppered with discredited incontrovertible evidence.

    In other words, you are saying that no degree of scientific certainty would be sufficient to take action on global warming, because there is always some possibility that it could be proven wrong. A very poor way to manage risk.

  57. T Thomson says:

    Beware of governments and their employees who dictate when a debate is over.

  58. Chris says:

    “[JR: I’m glad you were able to convince yourself of something that has been so thoroughly disproven in the scientific literature. I respectfully question why anyone would want to buy your foam given your apparent lack of understanding of the scientific method.]”

    He understands the same scientific method I do, which doesn’t include brainless activism such as you charging your minions to harass editors you who publish anything you might disagree with.
    This appears to be YOUR understanding of the scientific method:

    1. Form clique of friends
    2. Announce new “ground-breaking paper” to the press. Announce “result” in soundbite form.
    3. Get papers published peer reviewed by friends
    4. Go to United Nations and declare “the science is settled”
    5. Denigrate other scientists who disagree with you as “Deniers” and in league with [insert scary corporation here]
    6. Praise other “independent” scientific papers written by your friends which miraculously support your hypothesis.
    7. Repeat the above two processes so that you and your friends get lions share of grant money while your opponents are starved of funding and attention.
    8. Hide data/methodology so as to prevent replication. Make sure only copy of data is on a floppy disk and never, ever backed up like normal people.
    9. Start weblog.
    10. When cornered, declare that “science has moved on”

    [JR: That is a new one on me. But you’ll be glad to know that your ill-informed diatribe has gotten you a one-way ticket to moderation.]

  59. John Hollenberg says:

    > Beware of governments and their employees who dictate when a debate is over.

    Let me clarify this for you: the SCIENTIFIC debate about whether AGW is real is over. Of course, freedom of speech allows any damn fool to post whatever they want, which is one of the reasons for the continuing “debate” in circles outside mainstream science.

  60. T Thomson says:

    Thank you Chris: I didn’t want to believe that personal attacks were part of the scientific method taught by the APS but rather an anomaly.

  61. Eric says:

    Clearly we have a lot of confusion here. Obviously the best thing to do is redefine the scientific method so that everything is put into a yes/no format. Then we flip a coin, Simple Science without all those pesky facts and data points! Of course for the most difficult/controversal issues we should probably use a magic 8-ball, I hear they’re like the batphone to the truth…

  62. Andrew Thomson says:

    I find it interesting that the AGW camp clamor that all debate must cease, even to the point of demanding an editor’s head for offering a forum on the subject. It is my experience that when a side possesses the convincing argument they are spoiling for a debate so they can clearly show the strength of their views.

    It is quite telling how AGWers flee any direct debate and instead insist there is “consensus” and “the data is irrefutable!”, despite the obvious case that so many laymen and researchers disagree.

    [JR: Sadly or happily — take your pick — science isn’t based on which side possesses “the convincing argument.” If for instance you ever studied quantum mechanics you’d realize how unconvincing many of its predictions are — so much so that Albert Einstein himself could never accept them, even though they have all ultimately been vindicated by experiment. Sceince is based on facts and observations that support (or don’t support) a theory. The professional deniers are always spoiling for a fight because that is what they get paid to do. They don’t have to worry about the facts or future generations. Anyway, if you actually read this blog, you’d know that I don’t insist there is a consensus or the data is irrefutable.]

  63. T Thomson says:

    The use of the term “deniers” sound suspiciously like “heretic”.

  64. John Hollenberg says:

    > The use of the term “deniers” sound suspiciously like “heretic”.

    I think it is more akin to “flat earthers”.

  65. Luna says:

    I’m afraid that many of the arguments here in favour of continuing debate on the existance of AGW also work perfectly well as arguments in favour of continuing debate on the existance of evolution, or over whether HIV actually does cause AIDS.

    There is a point at which the vast majority of evidence points in a certain direction, so science really does move on to the more interesting and detailed questions, of “where”, “when”, “how much” and “how exactly” — and leaves “whether” as being answered. THIS is what is meant by “science moves on”. Dragging us back again and again and again to debunk the same old “new” objections, all the while declaring to the public that “the theory is on its last legs” in absolute defiance of what is being published in the mainstream of the field, does nothing but create confusion and devalue scientific effort amongst non-scientists and waste the time and resources of the scientists who have to try to counter it.

    T Thompson — unless you can explain why your work is more accurate than Solanki’s work — and unless you have submitted your work to the criticism and deconstruction by experts in the field, such as most professionals have to undergo — then expect people not to take your “proof” very seriously at all. You have roughly the same credibility as an electrical engineer who has “disproved” evolution.

  66. Andrew Thomson says:

    Hello JR

    I read your comments to my post and have noticed how you are a prolific poster on your site so I thought I might go fishing for information which is off topic for this thread.

    First off, full disclosure – I place myself firmly in the “denier” camp. There are multiple reasons for this that I won’t bore you with, but I do look to keep informed on the subject and am always open to pertinent information. One paper I found quite convincing when I was coming to my position was this one relating to the life time of atmospheric CO2: http://folk.uio.no/tomvs/esef/ESEF3VO2.htm

    I have tried to find papers justifying the “believers” view that it is 100 to 200 years but have been unsuccessful. The best I could find at the IPCC was that they do not dispute the low end numbers for CO 2 life time of 5 to 10 years: http://www.grida.no/climate/ipcc_tar/wg1/016.htm

    I’ve asked at AGW blogs and haven’t received a response. I’m hoping to get directed to some papers that are based on empirical evidence illustrating the view for the long lifetime for atmospheric CO2.

    I would much appreciate it if you could pass something along so I can evaluate, compare and make a more informed judgement on this one subject of the issue.

  67. John Hollenberg says:

    > I’ve asked at AGW blogs and haven’t received a response. I’m hoping to get directed to some papers that are based on empirical evidence illustrating the view for the long lifetime for atmospheric CO2.

    If you are honestly seeking information, ask at Realclimate.org. By the way, can you give the citation for where the paper in your link was published (peer-reviewed journals only, please)?

  68. T Thomson says:

    On peer-review: If the APS believes the the AGW is “incontrovertible.”all papers submitted that questions that are by definition, heretical. Unless, of course, a brave editor decides to risk his position.

    [JR: Since this publication is not peer-reviewed, your comment is irrelevant. It does not take a brave editor to publish long-debunked analysis in a newsletter, just an ignorant one.]

  69. Joe says:

    Andrew:
    Wikipedia explains “The atmospheric lifetime of CO2 is often incorrectly stated to be only a few years because that is the average time for any CO2 molecule to stay in the atmosphere before being removed by mixing into the ocean, photosynthesis, or other processes. However, this ignores the balancing fluxes of CO2 into the atmosphere from the other reservoirs. It is the net concentration changes of the various greenhouse gases by all sources and sinks that determines atmospheric lifetime, not just the removal processes.”

    “Recent work indicates that recovery from a large input of atmospheric CO2 from burning fossil fuels will result in an effective lifetime of tens of thousands of years.” See

    http://geosci.uchicago.edu/~archer/reprints/archer.2005.fate_co2.pdf

  70. Andrew, the residence time (the average time that a certain CO2 molecule stays in the atmosphere before being exchanged) indeed is somewhat over 5 years. That is not the same as the period that is necessary to remove an excess of CO2 (as total mass) from the atmosphere. In that case, the half life time is more in decades (30-50 years) for the first level processes (exchange with the upper oceans and vegetation).

    The Segalstad paper you are referring to should be taken with a lot of salt, most references about CO2 measurements in air and ice are completely outdated and unreliable. E.g. chemical measurements were mostly taken on land at places with (very) large local CO2 sources/sinks and don’t represent the global air composition of that time, while careful measurements of ice core bubbles do represent ancient air compositions.

    I have made a web page with a comprehensive overview of all arguments why the current increase of atmospheric CO2 is quite certainly man-made, see: http://www.ferdinand-engelbeen.be/klimaat/co2_measurements.html

    Joe, on the other hand, one need to be careful with statements like a “lifetime of tens of thousands of years”, as that is highly misleading. That statement is about the total lifetime, where the last influence of human CO2 still is measurable, but with a half lifetime of about 40 years, if we stop the emissions today, after 120 years only 12.5% of the excess CO2 still is in the atmosphere, the influence of this CO2 is near negligible…

  71. Readers interested in science rather than CreepyMedia-style ad-hom attacks may like to view my refutations of two attempted scientific rebuttals of my paper in Physics and Society. They will be found at http://www.scienceandpublicpolicy.org. Meanwhile, if anyone finds some global warming, would they send us some in Scotland? We could do with it. Temperatures here, as worldwide, are likely to turn out lower in 2008 than they were in 1980, 28 years ago. My paper concludes that climate sensitivity is likely to be substantially less than the range imagined rather fancifully by the IPCC on the basis of just four papers in the peer-reviewed literature. – Monckton of Brenchley

  72. Col Bennett says:

    In the broad sense, world temperature has risen about 0.6 C / century for three centuries; with both natural & man-made causes contributing. For rational Global Warming / Climate Change science / debate, one requires to apportion the observed temperature rise to the various causes.

    [JR: In no scientific sense is that true. We have, however, 0.8°C in the past century, thanks primarily to greenhouse gases as every major scientific analysis has shown.]

    With concentration of population to the cities, the urban heat island effect is significant & recognised, with urban temperature risen to a greater degree than the “country-side” as a whole – & “corrections” to the urban
    “temperature record” made.

    However, man, over the past couple of centuries, has not only built larger cities, but also cleared vast tracts of natural vegetation for farming.

    In my home country, Australia, since white settlement, & particularly in the Murray-Darling basin in Australia’s east & in the south west of Western Australia (>10% of Australia), extensive land clearing of the “country-side” for grazing / cropping has resulted in climate change.

    Studies show that surface albedo has increased, the climate has become drier with lower humidity / rainfall / cloud cover, greater wind velocity (even change in wind direction) & hotter*.

    Some 0.2 – 2 C hotter in the Murray-Darling region of eastern Australia over the last 150 years (& 10% lower rainfall), these changes being land clearing changes & not due to any change in CO2. Similarly, in the south-west of Western Australia, temperature has risen some 0.6 C due to LCCC. This land clearing / heating over the past 150 years accounts for a large chunk of the world’s observed temperature rise over this time.

    With regional land change heating a country town weather station, far from any urban heat island effect, there is an attendant increase to the temperature “record” – anthropogenic, but not CO2 (the same effect as Al Gore’s (incorrect) type example of the world’s receding glaciers – Kilimanjaro).

    The “country-side” temperatue rise above true background is real, & it needs to be recognised & corrected for in the same way as the urban heat island effect.

    And with World temperature failing to rise, despite (China’s rapidly) increasing output of CO2, perhaps one needs to “dust off” Henrik Svensmark’s “Sun magnetic activity / cosmic / cloud cover / Earth temperature” natural climate change theory, which postulates an explanation for the bulk of observed temperature change.

    Not much left over for any effect for increasing CO2?

    Col Bennett, Australia

    * Modeling Impacts of Vegetation Cover Change on Regional Climate : McAlpine, et al, Univ Of Queensland, Australia.

    Also interesting reading –

    For some interesting reading, see “THE RABBIT FENCE EFFECT” / Prof Tom Lyons.

  73. msn nickleri says:

    Not much left over for any effect for increasing CO2?

    Col Bennett, Australia

    * Modeling Impacts of Vegetation Cover Change on Regional Climate : McAlpine, et al, Univ Of Queensland, Australia.

    Also interesting reading –

    For some interesting reading, see “THE RABBIT FENCE EFFECT” / Prof Tom Lyons.

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