The notion that the American Physical Society (APS) has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming has been making it's way around the net. Articles stating this have recently appeared on a number of right leaning blogs
. Most point to a non-peer reviewed paper
by Christopher Monckton of Brenchley stating the conclusion is that, perhaps, there is no “climate crisis”, and that currently-fashionable efforts by governments to reduce anthropogenic CO2 emissions are pointless, may be ill-conceived, and could even be harmful.
One problem with the idea that the APS has changed its position is that it's not true. Here's what the APS
home page says:
Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth's climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.
The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. If no mitigating actions are taken, significant disruptions in the Earth’s physical and ecological systems, social systems, security and human health are likely to occur. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.
I don't want to attribute bias to the bloggers who jumped on this story. Most of them are not scientists and don't distinguish between peer-reviewed articles and conference papers. Many conferences base acceptance on an abstract only but it should be noted that the Monckton's paper was presented at a conference on Physics and Society, not at a conference on the physics of climate change. I don't have the background to know whether Monckton's work is correct or not. I don't think he's a climate scientist, but rather a former policy adviser
to the Thatcher administration. I'll leave the details to folks who know more about climate models. However, it is curious how people can deny the results of thousands of models that don't match certain prejudices and accept the one that matches them.