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In May, Council tabled a motion by Robert Austin that would have replaced the current APS statement on climate change with a new one much more skeptical of the evidence for, and consequences of, anthropogenic global warming. At its November 8 meeting, Council took it off the table and brought it to a vote.
The result: the motion was soundly defeated, with no one voting in favor and only one abstention. Even Austin voted against it.
In the interim, Councilors had faced an email barrage from APS members, expressing their opinions on the current statement and the proposed alternative (see accompanying story). In addition, APS President Cherry Murray had appointed an ad hoc committee, chaired by MIT Professor Daniel Kleppner, to advise her on appropriate action. The report of the committee was presented by Kleppner himself both to the Executive Board and Council.
The Kleppner committee made two main recommendations: first, that the current statement be retained; and second, that the statement be returned to the APS Panel of Public Affairs (POPA) to address “issues of clarity and tone.” Council voted to adopt the second recommendation as well, with 27 in favor, 5 opposed and no abstentions.
The other members of the ad hoc committee were Robert K. Adair, David M. Ceperley, Alexander L. Fetter, Helen R. Quinn, and Ellen D. Williams.
The full text of the Kleppner committee report is only available to APS members.
APS Statement on Climate Change
The APS statement on climate change was printed in the October APS News. After POPA has done its review, the statement and any clarifications will be posted for member comment and input in advance of the report back from POPA to Council at the April, 2010 Council meeting.
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Editor: Alan Chodos