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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: Wrong again ...
By masher2 on 7/17/2008 10:55:54 AM , Rating: 0
I realize how desperately some people wish to minimize such news, but this is considerably more than just a forum post. The APS Newsletter is now hosting an ongoing debate on global warming, with the first two pieces already published, and more to come.

Coming from an organization which had previously sanitized any hint of skepticism from both its website and its publications, it is indeed a sea change in policy.

RE: Wrong again ...
By jbartabas on 7/17/2008 11:31:52 AM , Rating: 2
I realize how desperately some people wish to minimize such news, but this is considerably more than just a forum post . The APS Newsletter is now hosting an ongoing debate on global warming, with the first two pieces already published, and more to come.

I don't know who's trying to desperately minimize or maximize stuff, or what's your personal interpretation of "Forum", but first of all it's not the APS newsletter, it's the newsletter of the " Forum on Physics & Society". This unit is listed on the APS website under the category " Forums " ( Now if you don't like the word "forum", it's too bad for you, but that's what is is. Plain and simple.

As a side note regarding the pieces published in FPS, the FPS states:
Opinions expressed are those of the authors alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the APS or of the Forum .

Bottom line: the American Physical Society has not reversed its stance on climate change.

RE: Wrong again ...
By ttowntom on 7/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wrong again ...
By jbartabas on 7/17/2008 12:19:18 PM , Rating: 2
The APS is sponsoring a debate on global warming.

I never denied the debate. These debates happen in various scientific publications (EOS for example), there's nothing wrong with that. The point is that the APS has not reversed its stance on climate change, no more than the AGU does when a debate is published in one of its journals (i.e. EOS). That's it.

I posted enough statements from both the APS & FPS pages to make it clear that the editorial of FPS or the pieces published there do not engage in any way the position of the whole APS itself. If you can't tell the difference, that's your problem. And that's not the first time Mike does this kind of "mistake", cf his article about the Astronomical Society of Australia supposedly warning of global cooling. I note that you're the one who did not get it either that time.

RE: Wrong again ...
By masher2 on 7/17/08, Rating: 0
RE: Wrong again ...
By evildorf on 7/17/2008 3:46:55 PM , Rating: 2
Mr. Asher, please explain how the stance of the APS has been reversed if its position statement has not changed. A reader of your blog (without doing further research) is left with the impression that the APS has abandoned its previous position in its entirety, which is nowhere close to the truth of the matter.
Also, I am unaware of an official APS position that prohibited papers that called into question the conclusions of the IPCC report and was unable to find such a policy on record, though my search was, I'm sure, far from complete. If you have a credible source on your assertion, I would be interested in reading it.

RE: Wrong again ...
By Rosaline on 7/18/2008 6:19:08 AM , Rating: 2

He seems to have some problem understanding that scientists are not 'changing their stance' when they question pre-existing conclusions, that is how it is supposed to be done. There is nothing sensational or even really that news worthy in scientists wanting to be scientists.

This sort of thing is tabloid coverage of science, and it is quite worrying to see a respected website used as a platform for such misunderstandings - especially since the author has continued to protest the absolute truth of their post despite an official statement from the APA to the opposite.

Like all good science people, I would like to see a reference for the assertion that dissenting papers were denied publication for no reason other than their dissent. It is, in this regard, a shame that the common peer review process tends to be closed, rather than open and revealing to the world the issues with denied papers, and opening up the peer review process itself for peer review.

RE: Wrong again ...
By DTreen on 7/17/08, Rating: -1
RE: Wrong again ...
By plinkplonk on 7/17/2008 1:09:41 PM , Rating: 2
it difficult fault your accuracy of language :)

RE: Wrong again ...
By Yossarian22 on 7/17/2008 2:04:59 PM , Rating: 2
"the sword of truth and trusty shield of honesty"?

A tad bit melodramatic, don't you think?

RE: Wrong again ...
By TheDoc9 on 7/17/2008 2:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
the sword of truth and trusty shield of honesty.

It would be a great title for the next stargate movie.

RE: Wrong again ...
By Symmetriad on 7/17/2008 5:47:51 PM , Rating: 2
Why not ask why so many DT members simply follow Asher around from article to article with idiotic Al Gore jokes? Surely a legitimate critical response is more desirable than a bunch of sycophants circlejerking all over every one of his articles. The same should apply to anybody who desires any kind of journalistic credibility.

RE: Wrong again ...
By just4U on 7/17/2008 9:27:36 PM , Rating: 2
You get the odd screwball comment in just about every topic but they don't represent the majority of the responses.

RE: Wrong again ...
By YEYO on 7/18/2008 4:54:12 AM , Rating: 1
The information in this article is not accurate. In the APS website there's a notice denying this. This view represents only one member opinion that he wrote in an article. In no way it represents de official stand of the APS. The offcial point of view of the APS is that global warming is cause by man made CO2 emissions.

For more info check their website:

Sorry Bill O'Reilly and Glenn Beck uneducated followers

RE: Wrong again ...
By domeika on 7/22/2008 6:14:30 PM , Rating: 2
Typical of you and the rest of the sky is falling crowd to point to this and that and the guy's credibility but what I haven't heard is that you checked the math yourself. Unlike you, I can't give an answer on this just yet because unlike you, I don't blindly follow. I'm going to run these equations myself and let the chips fall where they may.
Also, I'm not an O'Reilly fan, I like Beck, and I am a Limbaugh subscriber.
Replies will go un-answered....I have a life.

RE: Wrong again ...
By Hoser McMoose on 7/18/2008 9:09:00 PM , Rating: 5
I'm sorry Michael but I have to disagree with you on this one. This blog post is just flat out wrong. There is no 'sea of change' of policy here, just scientists discussing science. Something that has long since become irrelevant to BOTH sides of the climate change debate.

I applaud the fact that you did post an 'update' to correct the error, but really one should put more then a few minutes of research into things BEFORE making a post before just mindlessly repeating someone else's nonsense. I read most of your posts and agree with some of your points, but when you post things just because they happen to support your point of view, despite the fact that they are factually incorrect, I quickly lose respect.

RE: Wrong again ...
By Brian H on 7/19/2008 4:06:01 AM , Rating: 2
The entire "science" consensus is an attempt to make invalid modeling and forecasting acceptable.

It is a PRIME ERROR to use "fit" to adjust a working model. The ONLY valid use for that technique, which is fundamental to what IPCC claims to have done, is to suggest possible relationships and hypotheses for inclusion in a coherent model. It is DEATH to use anything but explicit Popper-disprovable hypotheses and mathematical relationships in a predictive model. At most it becomes a disguised elaboration of the opinions of the "composer". At worst, an algebraic tautology.

The reason is that the process of "fitting" radically narrows the scope of the model to extant cases with their inherent limitations on significant digits of measurement. Attempts to extrapolate will spiral into more and more "by-hand" fittings until you are left with a Rube Goldberg contraption of weakly descriptive constraints with zero predictive power.

Which is the condition reached some time ago by the IPCC models. The egregious "sensitivity" plugs, and the reversed sign on the high-level albedo effect, are just two risible but deadly symptoms.

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