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Dr. Ivar Giaever  (Source:
Dr. Ivar Giaever announced his resignation Tuesday, September 13

A well-known physicist has resigned from his position with the American Physical Society (APS) due to its recent policy stating that global warming is real.

Dr. Ivar Giaever, a 1973 Nobel Prize winner in physics and former professor with the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, announced his resignation from the APS on Tuesday, September 13, 2011.

The APS' official policy supports the theory that human actions have inexorably caused the warming of the Earth through heightened carbon dioxide emissions.

Giaever responded by refusing to pay his annual dues, and writing an email to Kate Kirby, executive officer of the physics society, saying that he disagreed with this policy.

The following is the email sent from Giaever to Kirby on September 13:

From: Ivar Giaever []

Sent: Tuesday, September 13, 2011 3:42 PM
Cc: Robert H. Austin; 'William Happer'; 'Larry Gould'; 'S. Fred Singer'; Roger Cohen
Subject: I resign from APS

Dear Ms. Kirby

Thank you for your letter inquiring about my membership. I did not renew it because I can not live with the statement below:


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.

In the APS it is ok to discuss whether the mass of the proton changes over time and how a multi-universe behaves, but the evidence of global warming is incontrovertible? The claim (how can you measure the average temperature of the whole earth for a whole year?) is that the temperature has changed from ~288.0 to ~288.8 degree Kelvin in about 150 years, which (if true) means to me is that the temperature has been amazingly stable, and both human health and happiness have definitely improved in this 'warming' period.


Best regards,


Ivar Giaever


Nobel Laureate 1973


PS. I included a copy to a few people in case they feel like using the information.

Ivar Giaever

According to the Wall Street Journal, Giaever announced he was an avid global warming skeptic in 2008, saying that global warming was "becoming a religion."

"I am Norwegian, should I really worry about a little bit of warming?," said Giaever in 2008. "I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but the humanity is still around. The ozone hole width has peaked in 1993. Moreover, global warming has become a new religion. We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it. But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important. We don't really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is. There are better ways to spend the money."

Giaever, who earned his Nobel Prize for his experimental discoveries with tunneling phenomena in superconductors, joined more than 100 signers of a letter to U.S. President Barack Obama criticizing his position on climate change in 2009.

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are insurance policies bad?
By subh on 9/15/2011 5:18:31 PM , Rating: 2
what about global climate change? or the fact that humans are permanently changing the face of the planet? It seems we have decided wholeheartedly not to be careful in protecting the planet's environment. I still don't get what the problem is with protecting our planet & its environment even if we consider it just an investment/insurance towards the future of the planet - forget "global warming"! Isn't it judicious to eat healthy and maintain a good state of the body irrespective of the fact whether or not you are sure of getting a heart attack 10 years from now? Or will you just keep gorging on unhealthy food by assuming you have no risk of heart disease? If 200 years from now pollution, temperature, whatever, makes the planet unsuitable to living, hope our descendants will not blame our generation for not giving the sinister possibility enough chance and for being too greedy.

P.S.: Dr. Ivar Giaever is an extraordinary *quantum physicist*, and his Nobel prize was for his work on solid-state physics - which is all awesome, and deserves great respect! But then, he is not a climate/environment scientist. His opinion on global warming is as good as his opinion on how "tomatoes" should be pronounced. 98% of climate scientists however still believe artificial global warming+climate change is a fact. Picking two numbers to represent a complex system as the global climate does not do justice to climate analysis.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By someguy123 on 9/15/2011 6:48:16 PM , Rating: 3
Because this "insurance" is based on assumptions that are not proven. Containing human CO2 levels may not actually help prevent climate issues if humans are not the cause.

It would be like seeing a house on fire and immediately blaming the homeowners for playing with matches. What if there's a gas leak? It would never be fixed and there would likely be another fire in the future. There needs to be more money put into research, not more money being poured into CO2 credits and CO2 reduction, unless we prove that that is in fact the cause.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By Jeffk464 on 9/16/2011 9:50:44 AM , Rating: 2
There has been plenty of scientific studies that overwhelming lead to this conclusion. A lot of people say the same thing about evolution. Really what these people should say is they don't really accept science. More likely they are invested in their beliefs and don't want any contrary information to get in the way.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By Arsynic on 9/16/2011 10:39:49 AM , Rating: 2
Garbage in and garbage out. When the studies are based on the same flawed and manipulated data, of course they'll all be in agreement.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By FITCamaro on 9/16/2011 10:47:46 AM , Rating: 2
So your argument, in regards to this article, is that a winner of a Nobel Prize for Physics rejects science.....

Good luck with that one.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By rikulus on 9/16/11, Rating: 0
RE: are insurance policies bad?
By The Raven on 9/16/2011 12:14:18 PM , Rating: 4
And your argument is what? If 98 scientists say one thing, and 2 say the other, I'll stick with the 2?

No, he is saying that he doesn't necessarily agree with the 98.

Some time ago scientists apparently believed that smoking was good for you. Well, all the ones who saw the light of day to speak about it. How many people do you see claiming that human driven climate change is bunk? 0. And that is the way the elites in NY would have it. If this guy is a whack job, we should put him on a pedestal and disprove his theories. Science should be transparent.

The same goes for the lipid hypothesis. I don't know all the details, but the only people I have seen effectively lose weight and get healthy, cut carbs, not fat. Anecdotal as that may be, there are scientists past and present who have railed against gov't policy to mandate a moratorium on fat and cholesterol while leaving carb intake unfettered. I know the data may be pushed by the dairy farmers or beef/pork lobbies, but I think the corn/pharmaceutical lobbies would the stronger ones in that fight. (Plus it seems that there is more of a focus on weight than the overall health that results from such a diet.)

If there is incontrovertible evidence then why haven't I seen it? I am relatively open to many new ideas and follow science news, but I am unswayed by Al Gore or anyone else to this point. If the evidence is so solid then I will take action of my own free will. I do see evidence of crappy air quality in urban areas and so I try my best to keep my personal pollution to a minimum and encourage others to do so (not to mention it is usually a cost savings measure). But I don't see incontrovertible evidence that we are heating up the world.

I have every reason to want to believe that we should do something about this alleged issue: I am a clean air proponent guy who has no problem with the cost of goods increasing. But I have yet to see it and I am sick as I gather this guy is also, of people ramming this THEORY down my throat.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By rikulus on 9/16/2011 2:28:24 PM , Rating: 2
I think FitCamaro would go a little further than say he "doesn't necessarily agree" with the 98, but I don't want to put words in his mouth.

I'm just trying to figure out what you are saying in the second paragraph, because I can totally understand and agree with much of your last three.

I would disagree that there was a time when as many scientists believed smoking was good for you as there are now scientists who agree with the consensus on global warming. There was certainly a campaign after the surgeon general released his statements on smoking being deadly where scientists and actors posing as scientists and doctors tried to convince the public that smoking was healthy. I think it's easy to see parallels between the "scientists" who claimed smoking was healthy after the surgeon general warning, and the "scientists" casting doubt on climate change. Some of the very same public relations firms actually organized and made/make money on both.

"How many people do you see claiming that human driven climate change is bunk? 0. And that is the way the elites in NY would have it." Are you actually saying nobody is calling climate change bunk, or being sarcastic, or what? I think there are several commenters on this website who are calling human driven climate change bunk. Who are the elites in NY?

As far as putting this guy on a pedestal and disproving his theories, he would have to put forth a theory about the topic before anyone could disprove it. There are plenty of people putting forth transparent research on climate change (as much as some people try to find red herring examples where the research wasn't transparent.)

I'm not sure what piece of evidence would be considered "incontrovertible" by someone determined not to believe that mankind can have a major effect on the earth's environment or climate. Especially when some of those people fall back to saying God wouldn't create an Earth that is fragile. (I'm not accusing you of this at all, you seem very reasonable and concerned about the environment... so I'll ask: what would incontrovertible evidence of human caused climate change look like to you?)

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By The Raven on 9/18/2011 6:00:35 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not sure what piece of evidence would be considered "incontrovertible" by someone determined not to believe that mankind can have a major effect on the earth's environment or climate.

I and many who don't believe are agnostic on the issue. We have not seen proof one way or the other. So I wouldn't say that I don't believe that mankind cannot affect the climate either. As a matter of fact I actually lean toward the contrary quite a bit.
Especially when some of those people fall back to saying God wouldn't create an Earth that is fragile. (I'm not accusing you of this at all, you seem very reasonable and concerned about the environment...
lol I'd never heard that one before.
so I'll ask: what would incontrovertible evidence of human caused climate change look like to you?)

I don't know... since I haven't seen it ;-)

But seriously it is like asking me to prove my belief in a God to you. You will either see/experience it or you won't. I may be able to tell you things to sway you but I shouldn't be mandating that you believe it.

For me personally, most any measure I would take to curb global warming... no I mean STOP global warming (because there would be no point in curbing it), has already pretty much been taken, in order to save money/air/water/etc.

So there isn't really any reason for me to research climate change in detail unless I am open to taking people's freedom from them. Hell if I thought the earth would be uninhabitable due to climate change, I would commit mass murder in order to save the children/future. (Talk about cutting emissions) And you and I certainly don't want that to happen lol. I'd go all Jonathan Swift, but it would be the other way around where we feast on the adults instead of the infants :-O~~~

I do see evidence of crappy air quality in urban areas

e.g.:That is incontrovertible to me I guess.

If the fact that bad air comes from cars, etc. is not incontrovertible to you than feel free to pollute the air should you feel like it, until I can convince you otherwise. I don't want to pass a law to make you do something that you don't even believe in. It is this top down crap that gets my goat. From the elites like your Presidents Obama and your Brians Williams. Yeah they all have plenty of $$$ to spend on expensive new cars, lights, carbon credits, etc. Why they want to mandate that non-believers such as myself also participate I don't understand. They want me to pay my share of the costs to curb this theoretical risk. And they do so while they live essentially the same life they always have. They can't just buy some new light bulbs and... crisis averted. If they really believed this crap, then they would make real sacrifices. I mean ask Al Gore who apparently believes this stuff if he has sacrificed? Last I heard he has a few huge mansions, flying all over the place, etc. and that is not part of an energy efficient lifestyle. If Gore and everyone else who believed in this was living like Ed Beagley Jr. then I might actually be inclined to believe them and look further in to it. But they don't. They just demand that the unbelievers subsidize protection from their nightmare.

Sorry I'm rambling a bit, but I just wanted to try to quickly address you question, which I hope I was able to do lol.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By FITCamaro on 9/16/2011 11:39:31 PM , Rating: 1
His post said that people who disregard claims that humans are responsible for the warming our planet is supposedly undergoing disregard science. The man is an award winning scientist. Clearly this is not the case.

And yes, award winning physicists are smart. Certainly smarter than you. Otherwise you'd be winning awards.

And all the "evidence" that we are responsible for warming is based on flawed models, outright falsified and/or biased data, and inconsequential data sets (~100 years or even less). That is how I see it.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By Voldenuit on 9/17/2011 1:02:12 AM , Rating: 2
A quick application of Pascal's suffices to point us in the right direction.

If AGW proponents are correct and we do nothing, then the Earth (or humanity) is doomed.

If AGW proponents are wrong and we do nothing, then no harm is done.

If AGW proponents are correct and we do something (reducing CO2, investing in renewable and non-polluting energy), then we are saved (assuming our measures are enough).

If AGW proponents are wrong and we still reduce CO2, then no harm is done*.

* Yes, there is an economic cost to reducing CO2 and investing in "green" energy, but these costs are a drop in the bucket compared to real world financial crises like the sub-prime mortgage crisis or global financial crisis. And investing in clean and efficient energy also has the benefit of creating jobs, money, and reducing developed nations' dependence on fossil fuels and the existing oil cartels (none of which are particularly pleasant people).

In the absence of definitive proof, the only sensible action we can take is to assume the worst and do our best to mitigate the potential issue. If we wait 100 years to see if the environment suffers a catastrophe, it'll be too late to fix matters by the time it happens. In the mean time, there is a preponderence of evidence that climate change is happening (low arctic ice levels, global and regional temperature maps, satellite data) in addition to several scientific models and hypotheses of catastrophic failure (ocean acidity and the crustacean food chain, etc). No one has yet provided any plausible model where voluntary reduction of anthropogenic CO2 will do any harm to the environment. Even though there are other factors affecting global temperatures (such as solar cycles), human CO2 production is the only variable we can directly affect, so it's the best option we have to combat climate change, whether significant or not. In the mean time, I'm happy to reap the very real benefits of technological advances in efficiency (better gas mileage on cars, renewable energy providers giving competition to big iron electric companies, etc).

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By KPOM1 on 9/17/2011 8:30:04 PM , Rating: 2
I disagree. The economic costs of reducing carbon are significant if it turns out that the AGW adherents are incorrect. The EU went to great lengths to reduce carbon output after its member nations signed the Kyoto Treaty, and what happened by and large is that they accomplished their goal (reducing carbon output by 40%) by outsourcing manufacturing to China. On the whole, they just shifted carbon production, rather than reduce it, and strengthened China's economic hand even more.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By Eris23007 on 9/15/2011 7:40:21 PM , Rating: 5
A few key comments:

1) The climate has been continually changing since long before humans were around. The major question is whether we can really do anything to affect the climate's changes (positive or negative). Proponents of (your words) "protecting our planet & its environment" who advocate for reductions in carbon emissions are taking the following three positions simultaneously (and simple logic dictates that if even one of them is incorrect, the purpose of reducing carbon emissions is negated):

A) the climate's changes are negative (i.e. a "bad" thing)
B) the changes are caused by humanity through emissions of CO2, and
C) by drastically reducing the amount of CO2 emitted, we can reduce or reverse these changes (which, if (A) is true, must be a "good" thing)

There are many, many ways that each of these three necessary assertions could be invalidated. Most of the arguments over the climate change issue revolve around one of these three items.

For the purposes of this comment, the issue is really item (C) - calling a program to drastically reduce CO2 emissions an "insurance policy."

There is just one problem with this so-called "insurance policy:" it is enormously, mind-bogglingly expensive. If one believes assertions (A) and (B), virtually no CO2 emissions are acceptable, because the CO2 we've already emitted combined with the simple act of breathing (7 billion humans constantly taking in oxygen and emitting CO2 create a very large amount) make virtually any form of artificial CO2 emissions verboten.

So, that means not only coming up with a way to have completely carbon-free cars and electricity generation (extremely difficult and expensive if even possible with current technology), but also many other impacts. For just one example, we would not be permitted to make concrete anymore - the manufacturing process is extremely expensive.

Most knowledgable economists of have run the numbers have concluded that the only way to realistically achieve such drastic carbon emission reductions in the foreseeable future with current technology is to return to a roughly stone-age standard of living.

Would you pay $2,000,000 per month for an insurance policy on a $200,000 house? That's the kind of "insurance" you're advocating.

P.S. Invalidating someone's opinion because of their field of study is remarkably short-sighted. The fundamentals of the AGW position are built upon extremely complex computer simulations based upon certain climate-related assumptions. Therefore, people with the following skills / knowledge can reasonably be assumed to participate in building them:
- Certainly Climate Science types who help define the base assumptions
- Unquestionably mathematicians, statisticians, simulation experts - without the underlying mathematical models, the simulations won't run
- Computer scientists who actually implement these models into working code that spits out a result - and then have to test the code to prove that the results are actually valid

Quantum Physics relies on surprisingly similar models & simulations to predict the behavior of atomic and sub-atomic particles. As well there is evidence of a non-trivial component of quantum physical effects causing climate phenomena (cf: recent experiments at CERN of how cosmic rays impact cloud formation).

I, for one, consider physicists' opinions to be quite relevant to this debate - and that's what it is, since the AGW theorists have yet to prove a single hypothesis. Science isn't about consensus, and it isn't about opinion. It's about cold hard fact: form a hypothesis AND THEN PROVE IT.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By rikulus on 9/16/11, Rating: -1
RE: are insurance policies bad?
By The Raven on 9/16/2011 12:31:22 PM , Rating: 3
I can't help but think: how does the cost of a tomahawk missile compare to a large windmill? I'd rather we'd spent the last 10 years building windmills rather than blowing things up.

Ok you are obviously trying to start a partisan debate. Don't believe everything the democratic party says. They are just as stupid as the republicans on a great many things IMHO.

It seems to me that for everything the reps get right that the dems get wrong, the opposite is true for other issues.

How about save the air and end the wars? Vote libertarian! (or cross the aisle to help get Ron Paul nominated during the rep primary ;-)

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By rikulus on 9/16/2011 2:45:32 PM , Rating: 2
Is "save the air" actually part of the Libertarian platform?

I heard Ron Paul talking about the environment on NPR a couple weeks ago. His idea that stricter personal property laws would solve those issues without the Government needing to get involved. But he did say that since water and air pollution travel from one property to another, that there would need to be government regulation of that... even though he had just finished saying he was going to get rid of government regulation. Aren't air and water the only things that really get regulated now anyways?

And stricter personal property laws to control pollution just sounds like more lawsuits and money for lawyers to me. And don't worry, I'm not naive enough to believe something a politician says. All I can do is know what I know, learn what I can, and watch out for guys that are saying the opposite.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By The Raven on 9/26/2011 10:53:31 AM , Rating: 2
Do you have a link to that interview? They post them all but I don't know which one you are referring to.

Regardless of what he said I would just take it as meaning *at least* less federal regulation. (That is the one sure thing I would assume of his opinion. Then he would (want to) leave it to the States, the community, etc.)

So if you are for less federal gov't intervention then you should vote for Ron Paul. That is the one thing I can say for sure without listening to that interview.

Also he is the only non-interventionalist within the 2 parties who will work hard to bring our troops home and keep them there. IMO It will be nice to have a president that WE would have to talk into a war, instead of THEM trying to convince us (e.g. Bush, Obama, etc.)

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By 0ldman on 9/16/2011 3:06:35 PM , Rating: 3
Scientists haven't "proven" a hypothesis? Scientists haven't "proven" how gravity works, does that mean we can't predict how fast things will fall when we drop them?

They haven't figured out the process of how/why gravity works, however, it is a measurable force. It is consistent, proven. Man made global warming is a bunch of arrogant, money grubbing jacks looking for suckers.

I think they found them.

Even reproducing the climate in a computer model is so complex that there is no way they've gotten it right. They can't predict weather, hurricanes, etc, with a single simulation. They run dozens, if not more, and come up with an average. Those still have a huge margin for error.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By animekenji on 9/16/2011 9:26:49 AM , Rating: 2
The problem with your so called "insurance policy" is it destroys jobs worldwide and plunges hundreds of millions and possibly billions of people into poverty who wouldn't be there if they were allowed to work for a living. Just remember that it is going to be the poorest of the poor and those who are just hanging on who are going to be most affected by a government mandated slowdown or halt in economic activity in any country when they can no longer afford the cost of food, housing, and medical care. You'll have the blood of those hundreds of millions or even billions of people on your hands when they die of poverty, starvation, and illness that might have been avoided had there been jobs available for them to support themselves and their country had been allowed to develop instead of trying to preserve it as it is at the cost of countless lives.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By ZorkZork on 9/16/2011 3:19:13 PM , Rating: 2
Why would you assume that conserving energy would be expensive? And why would a government mandated shutdown be in order?

50 years ago you could not run a city without dumping garbage in lakes, rivers, etc. Has it made the world a poorer place that we now clean up our waste?

And just think about the money saved if the US only used 25% of the oil it is using today. And crazy people like Chavez would run out of money to their revolutions.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By Jeffk464 on 9/16/2011 9:34:37 AM , Rating: 2
"humanity is still around"

Nobody ever said that global warming would kill off humanity, just that it will have a significant impact on weather systems. Humanity survived the ice age just fine, humans are nothing if not adaptable. That being said it changing weather patterns could make crops harder to grow in some regions causing big problems for people in those regions.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By twhittet on 9/16/2011 10:55:30 AM , Rating: 2
Fire, drought, flood, rising coastal waters, tornadoes, hurricanes. All valid concerns from even mild rising of temperature.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By autoboy on 9/16/2011 1:59:53 PM , Rating: 2
Fire, drought, flood, rising coastal waters, tornadoes, hurricanes. All valid concerns regardless of climate change. They will continue regardless of what the overall climate is. It's called weather.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By Jeffk464 on 9/16/2011 9:45:47 AM , Rating: 2
" I still don't get what the problem is with protecting our planet & its environment"

Its called big money, big money controls the government and they absolutely don't want anything that interferes with them making more money.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By drycrust3 on 9/16/2011 12:45:21 PM , Rating: 2
98% of climate scientists however still believe artificial global warming+climate change is a fact.

Any scientist who thinks that it is OK to fabricate research results and manipulate base data to fit a theory in a subject that is barely understood is not worth listening to, but that is exactly what those "scientists" in England did, and they are proud of it too!
I still don't get what the problem is with protecting our planet & its environment

The problem is this isn't about protecting the environment, it is about stopping people earning a living (except those "scientists"). What are the main gases a car produces? CO2 and H2O. What are the two main by products every living creature produces? CO2 + H2O! Notice that: the modern motor vehicle has the same by-products as nature itself produces, so logic will tell you those by-products will not accumulate and kill us, but will be recycled.

RE: are insurance policies bad?
By ZorkZork on 9/16/2011 3:28:15 PM , Rating: 2
Those "scientists" didn't manipulate their data. They did write something pretty stupid in their emails. And even if they did, why would you assume that the rest of the 98% did the same?

The thing is ... the CO2 produced by every living creature comes from plants that have just been harvested. That means that it is CO2 that has just been taken out of the atmosphere.

The CO2 that comes from burning carbohydrates comes from deposits millions of years old. That is the difference.

That said, I would love to see some estimates of the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere compared to the amount in the oil in the ground.

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