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APS President Cherry Murray has appointed an ad hoc committee to study whether the APS statement on climate change, passed in 2007, needs to be revisited. This action comes in the wake of a motion by councilor Robert Austin at the May 1 Council meeting, asking that the statement be reviewed and possibly changed. The motion, which was introduced at the very end of the meeting, was tabled to allow time for further consideration.
The APS statement on climate change had originally been adopted after the American Geophysical Union requested that APS sign on to their statement about global warming. The Council opted instead to compose its own statement. The APS Panel on Public Affairs produced a draft which was passed after some modification by Council on November 18, 2007, with one dissenting vote.
APS Statement on Climate Change
The next opportunity for Council to consider the climate change issue will be at its November 8 meeting. It is expected that the ad hoc committee will have submitted its recommendations by then.
The motivation for requesting this review was expressed by Austin and five other physicists in the “Correspondence” section of the July 23 issue of Nature. In part they state: “We are among more than 50 current and former members of APS who have signed an open letter to the APS Council this month, calling for a reconsideration of its November 2007 policy statement on climate change. The letter proposes an alternative statement, which the signatories believe to be a more accurate representation of the current scientific evidence.” They go on to decry the “subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement that pervades the climate issue.” In addition to Austin, those signing the communication were S. Fred Singer, Hal Lewis, Will Happer, Larry Gould, and Roger Cohen.
Members who wish to provide their input on these issues prior to the Council meeting on November 8 can do so by contacting an appropriate member of Council. Each APS division and forum has its own Councillor, and sections are represented on a rotating basis. There are also eight General Councillors.
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Editor: Alan Chodos