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Viscount Monckton gives a presentation during the 2007 Conference on Climate Change
"Considerable presence" of skeptics

Updated 7/17/2008

After publication of this story, the APS responded with a  statement that its Physics and Society Forum is merely one unit within the APS, and its views do not reflect those of the Society at large. 

The American Physical Society, an organization representing nearly 50,000 physicists, has reversed its stance on climate change and is now proclaiming that many of its members disbelieve in human-induced global warming.  The APS is also sponsoring public debate on the validity of global warming science.  The leadership of the society had previously called the evidence for global warming "incontrovertible."

In a posting to the APS forum, editor Jeffrey Marque explains,"There is a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree with the IPCC conclusion that anthropogenic CO2 emissions are very probably likely to be primarily responsible for global warming that has occurred since the Industrial Revolution."

The APS is opening its debate with the publication of a paper by Lord Monckton of Brenchley, which concludes that climate sensitivity -- the rate of temperature change a given amount of greenhouse gas will cause -- has been grossly overstated by IPCC modeling.   A low sensitivity implies additional atmospheric CO2 will have little effect on global climate.

Larry Gould, Professor of Physics at the University of Hartford and Chairman of the New England Section of the APS, called Monckton's paper an "expose of the IPCC that details numerous exaggerations and "extensive errors"

In an email to DailyTech, Monckton says, "I was dismayed to discover that the IPCC's 2001 and 2007 reports did not devote chapters to the central 'climate sensitivity' question, and did not explain in proper, systematic detail the methods by which they evaluated it. When I began to investigate, it seemed that the IPCC was deliberately concealing and obscuring its method." 

According to Monckton, there is substantial support for his results, "in the peer-reviewed literature, most articles on climate sensitivity conclude, as I have done, that climate sensitivity must be harmlessly low."

Monckton, who was the science advisor to Britain's Thatcher administration, says natural variability is the cause of most of the Earth's recent warming.   "In the past 70 years the Sun was more active than at almost any other time in the past 11,400 years ... Mars, Jupiter, Neptune’s largest moon, and Pluto warmed at the same time as Earth."

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RE: While I do agree...
By Fluxion on 7/17/2008 1:21:40 AM , Rating: 5
Oh, and one other thing I forgot to add:

They're only calling into question the viewpoint regarding anthropogenic CO2. They're not questioning (neither disavowing or supporting) the impact of other green house gases from human origin (such as methane, CFCs, etc.)

RE: While I do agree...
By masher2 on 7/17/2008 9:41:30 AM , Rating: 4
CO2 is a proxy for all GHG influences. The debate -- and the associated papers themselves -- speak to all greenhouse gases, not simply CO2 itself.

RE: While I do agree...
By Fluxion on 7/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: While I do agree...
By kbehrens on 7/18/2008 12:06:29 AM , Rating: 2
When they say "CO2", they generally mean CO2 equivalent, which is the sum of all greenhouse gases, converted into their equivalent mass of CO2. The debate is on the science behind radiative transfer and forcing from all GHGS, not just CO2 itself.

RE: While I do agree...
By Brian H on 7/19/2008 4:38:34 AM , Rating: 2
That's rather a knotty little recursive problem then isn't it? Since there is vast territory between those who assert that CO2 is strongly linearly warming, and those who consider it to be weakly logarithmic, or even log-log, in its effects. Considering that water vapour has a much wider and deeper absorption spectrum, and that many of the most crucial parts of the atmosphere (tropical, where the sun shines brightest, have you heard?) are generally saturated with said vapour, at vastly higher concentrations than CO2 is found ANYWHERE, even in the hot air spouted by Hansen, it is fundamentally implausible that fluctuations in small fractions of 1% of the atmosphere could drive runaway -- or even significant -- heating. These guys remind me of the kids who got lost in grade school math when their comprehension of multiplication and division narrowed to rote repetition of steps in a procedure, and never had a clue about whether the resultant was "reasonable" in magnitude. Modern equivalents are those who can't tell if their calculators' answers are off by an order, or several orders, of magnitude because a wrong key was touched.

Believe me, inability to do "reasonableness testing" is a sign of faith in ritual replacing reason.

Climatology has here branded itself "pseudo-science", little better than economics or psychology. It will be long and long, recovering.

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