APS News

Panel Prepares to Weigh APS Members’ Input on Climate Change Commentary

Late in February, APS members received an email message from President Curtis Callan, soliciting their input on the issue of climate change. Members were asked for input on a proposed commentary to be added to the APS climate change statement, which was originally passed by Council in November of 2007. As APS News goes to press, the comment period is still open, and a subcommittee of the Panel on Public Affairs (POPA) are getting ready to analyze member input once the March 19 deadline has passed.

The series of events leading to this situation began at the Council meeting last May, when a motion was introduced by Councilor Robert Austin to substantially change the 2007 statement. The motion was tabled, and then-President Cherry Murray appointed an ad hoc committee, chaired by Daniel Kleppner, to advise her. The Kleppner committee recommended sending the statement to POPA to address issues of “clarity and tone.” In response to this charge, an ad hoc subcommittee of POPA, chaired by Duncan Moore, produced a commentary of several paragraphs on the statement. That commentary has now gone to the full APS membership for their input.

In order to submit a comment, an APS member must click on the URL provided in the email. The link is unique to the individual member, and insures that he or she can submit a comment only once. The member input will be reviewed and analyzed by the POPA subcommittee. It will not be publicly available.

At press time, 5723 members had viewed the proposed addendum, and 1690 comments had been submitted. Once the Moore subcommittee has reviewed them all, it will, if necessary, revise the commentary, and bring the revised version to POPA for consideration. It is intended that all this will be accomplished in time to submit a final version to the APS Executive Board and Council, which meet on April 17 and 18. The Board and Council will either accept POPA’s recommended commentary, return it to POPA for further consideration, or possibly reject it outright. The Board and Council will not, however, indulge in further wordsmithing of the document that POPA produces.

The procedure that is being adopted marks the first time that the opinions of the full membership have been systematically solicited with regard to an APS statement. If the process is successful, it may serve as a model, going forward, for how APS statements are to be crafted, modified, and passed.

Results of POPA’s deliberations and of Council's actions will be reported in the next issue of APS News.


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