Finally, Some Real Climate Science

  • Date: 19/03/14
  • Tony Thomas, Quadrant

The American Physical Society has been amongst the loudest alarmist organisations whipping up hysteria about CO2, but a review of its position that has placed three sceptics on the six-member investigatory panel strongly suggests the tide has turned

The 50,000-strong American body of physicists, the American Physical Society (APS), seems to be turning significantly sceptical on climate alarmism.

The same APS put out a formal statement in 2007 adding its voice to the alarmist hue and cry. That statement caused resignations of some of its top physicists (including 1973 Nobel Prize winner Ivar Giaever and Hal Lewis, Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara).[1] The APS was forced by 2010 to add some humiliating clarifications but retained the original statement that the evidence for global warming was ‘incontrovertible’.[2]

By its statutes, the APS must review such policy statements each half-decade and that scheduled review is now under way, overseen by the APS President Malcolm Beasley.

The review, run by the society’s Panel on Public Affairs, includes four powerful shocks for the alarmist science establishment.[3]

First, a sub-committee has looked at the recent 5th Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change  and formulated scores of critical questions about the weak links in the IPCC’s methods and findings. In effect, it’s a non-cosy audit of the IPCC’s claims on which the global campaign against CO2 is based.

Second, the sub-committee, after ‘consulting broadly’, appointed a panel to workshop the questions and then provide input to the new official statement on climate. The appointed panel of six, amazingly, includes three eminent sceptic scientists: Richard Lindzen, John Christy, and Judith Curry. The other three members comprise long-time IPCC stalwart Ben Santer (who, in 1996, drafted, in suspicious circumstances, the original IPCC mantra about a “discernible” influence of manmade CO2 on climate), an IPCC lead author and modeler William Collins, and atmospheric physicist Isaac Held.

Third, the sub-committee is ensuring the entire process is publicly transparent — not just the drafts and documents, but the workshop discussions, which have been taped, transcribed and officially published, in a giant record running to 500+ pages.[4]

Fourth, the APS will publish its draft statement to its membership, inviting comments and feedback.

What the outcome will be, ie what the revised APS statement will say, we will eventually discover.  It seems a good bet that the APS will break ranks with the world’s collection of peak science bodies, including the Australian Academy of Science, and tell the public, softly or boldly, that IPCC science is not all it’s cracked up to be.

The APS audit of the IPCC makes a contrast with the Australian Science Academy’s (AAS) equivalent efforts. In 2010 the AAS put out a booklet, mainly for schools, ”The Science of Climate Change, Questions and Answers”, drafted behind closed doors. The drafters and overseers totalled 16 people, and the original lone sceptic, Garth Paltridge, was forced out by the machinations of  then-President Kurt Lambeck.[5] The Academy is currently revising the booklet, without any skeptic input at all. Of the 16 drafters and overseers, at least nine have been IPCC contributors and others have been petition-signing climate-policy lobbyists, hardly appropriate to do any arm’s length audit of the IPCC version of the science. Once again, the process is without any public transparency or consulting with the broad membership.

The American Physical Society’s audit questions are pretty trenchant.[6] Just to recite some of them points in the can of worms soon to be authoritatively exposed.  Here’s a selection:

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