In today's Washington Post, Professor of Climate Science Michael Mann:
The basic physics and chemistry of how carbon dioxide and other human-produced greenhouse gases trap heat in the lower atmosphere have been understood for nearly two centuries. Overloading the atmosphere with carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels is heating the planet, shrinking the Arctic ice cap, melting glaciers and raising sea levels. It is leading to more widespread drought, more frequent heat waves and more powerful hurricanes. Even without my work, or that of the entire sub-field of studying past climates, scientists are in broad agreement on the reality of these changes and their near-certain link to human activity.
Burying our heads in the sand would leave future generations at the mercy of potentially dangerous changes in our climate. The only sure way to mitigate these threats is to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions dramatically over the next few decades. But even if we don't reduce emissions, the reality of adapting to climate change will require responses from government at all levels.At the climate skeptical Watt's Up With That blog, Professor of Physics Hal Lewis:
Challenges to policy proposals for how to deal with this problem should be welcome -- indeed, a good-faith debate is essential for wise public policymaking.
But the attacks against the science must stop. They are not good-faith questioning of scientific research. They are anti-science.
... a few of us tried to bring science into the act (that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind...simply to bring the subject into the open.Here's where I struggle with the whole AGW issue. I think it's certainly possible - maybe even likely that AGW is real. I'd support, unforced, a bunch of low-cost, high-impact policy changes that would have an impact on atmospheric carbon and (incidentally) the domestic economy and national security.
5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members' interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.
But every time I turn around, the folks promoting radical action in the face of climate change based on "incontrovertible" science can't show processes that actually support - you know, through open inquiry - an absolute consensus that would support remaking the world economy (coincidentally, remaking it in ways that those making the arguments are predisposed to support for ideological reasons...).
And, sadly, Professor Lewis will never get a platform to tell his story remotely comparable to Professor Mann.
But we can tilt the balance a little bit here in the blogs.