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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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A question about the big experiment
By Tony Swash on 9/15/2011 6:01:39 PM , Rating: 5
Leaving aside all the politics and all the money, both of which can pollute and deflect science, we are left with a fairly straight forward giant experiment. The supporters of the CO2 causes warming hypothesis make a clear cut causative argument: adding CO2 to the atmosphere in the amounts that humans add causes the average global temperature to increase. Now if you believe in good old fashioned science then two things about that hypothesis are immediately clear.

First: if CO2 is added to the atmosphere and the average global temperature does indeed increase then that is consistent with the CO2 causes warming hypothesis, It doesn't prove the hypotheses but it is consistent with it and all other things being equal would tend to be supportive of the hypothesis.

Second: if CO2 is added to the atmosphere and the average global temperature does not increase then the CO2 causes warming hypothesis is pretty much definitively proved false .

Since the peak year of 1998 the the average global temperature has not increased. It has gone up and down but never surpassed the peak of thirteen years ago. Various groups of researchers and compilers of some global temperature sets may attempt to quibble about that statement but even accepting their arguments about the stats still means accepting that at best there has been a tiny and really statistically speaking insignificant rise at one point above 1998.

I personally prefer the satellite global temperature sets as I think they are far more accurate than the 'adjusted' and incomplete surface sets. And the evidence from the satellites is absolutely clear. No warming since 1998. Thirteen years of no warming.

My questions to those who support the CO2 causes warming hypothesis is this: if you accept that increasing CO2 and getting no warming over a long enough time period will disprove your hypothesis how long is that time period? Does thirteen years of no warming disprove your hypothesis? Twenty years? Twenty five?

RE: A question about the big experiment
By dgingerich on 9/15/2011 6:34:04 PM , Rating: 2
On top of all of this, we can get approximate CO2 data and temperature from tree rings and ice cores over the last 300 years, and this shows that, contrary to the "hockey stick" chart of the past 150 years used so frequently by the GW movement, that the mean global temperature has gone down and back up comparatively to the level today while CO2 has increased. This completely blows their conclusions out of the water. Many want to cover this up, though, as it does not fit their doom and gloom predictions.

They also disregard the data that 350 million years ago, when the sun was hotter and CO2 levels were 7 times what they are today, average temperatures were a bit higher than today, there were no ice caps, and life was at its most abundant of the history of the Earth. (Hint: that's where all the oil, natural gas, and coal come from.)

RE: A question about the big experiment
By Jeffk464 on 9/16/2011 10:01:30 AM , Rating: 2
I think there was also much higher oxygen levels at the time which probably explained their being more abundant life. Either way this experiment is going to play out so I guess we might as well sit back and watch what happens. Most likely those of us in wealthy countries won't have a problem with it anyways. Most of the potential harm will probably come in places like Somalia where you can see how closely their survival is tied into their own marginal farming.

RE: A question about the big experiment
By bh192012 on 9/16/2011 5:36:26 PM , Rating: 2
Where did the oxygen come from... right all the plants. What do plants breathe? C02

By deadrats on 9/18/2011 5:45:29 PM , Rating: 2
plants only consume C02 and release O2 during the day, at night the process is reversed and plants consume O2 and release C02; this is the reason that many people that sleep under a tree at night (say during the summer months in their backyard or on a camping trip) suffer from hallucinations such as the feeling that some unseen force is touching them or similar such sensation.

RE: A question about the big experiment
By rikulus on 9/16/11, Rating: -1
RE: A question about the big experiment
By vortmax2 on 9/16/2011 11:27:48 AM , Rating: 3
It certainly wasn't sun cycles, which are very low at the moment (and could explain why temperatures have been close to level since 1998 - but if it was just the sun, then temperatures would have gone way down instead of staying level.)

How can you be "certain" that sun cycles don't have a more significant impact? As with all climate change 'sources', there is significant lag time before the full effects of that 'source' are felt. Being a Meterologist myself (with limited, but more than your average-Joe knowledge about our climate), I believe the real effects of the new solar minimum we appear to be entering will be realized in full force over the next decade or so.

By rikulus on 9/16/2011 2:53:16 PM , Rating: 1
I was talking about the 11 year sun spot cycle.

And why would there be such a long lag between the suns output change and the effect on earth's temperature? A decade? (Maybe you are saying the solar minimum won't bottom out for a decade or something?)

I notice a pretty dramatic and immediate effect from the change in solar heating every day, and every season. What mechanism would there be to cause a 10 year delay in it's effects?

RE: A question about the big experiment
By homebredcorgi on 9/16/2011 12:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
Your argument is so overused, it's #9 on the top 10 at skeptical science:

Why would taking only the last 10 years of data prove anything? This is akin to looking at the stock market in the last 10 years and saying it never goes up (prices are nearly flat over the last 10 years), but we know from historical data it has gone up significantly. I could curve-fit a line to that kind of data and give you any slope you want - so long as I get to choose the time range(s).

And since you prefer to only use satellite data (very convenient for your argument). here you go:

The bottom line is that this is a very complex problem (much more complex than simply "measuring the temperature over time and plotting the results" as many here seem to think). It deserves our attention and debate, but it has been transformed into a political issue. Science can be wrong and group-think does happen - but our current evidence and vast majority of experts think this is real.

Another question: Why do you care what a particle physicist thinks about climate science? Do you go to a dentist for heart surgery?

By thesafetyisoff on 9/16/2011 11:39:45 PM , Rating: 2
"Why do you care what a particle physicist thinks about climate science?"

Because he appears to have a good understanding about what is science, what is politics, and the role of his former organization in both.

Plenty of people are qualified to label a presumptuous proclamation as bad science, even if it's outside their field.

By ZorkZork on 9/16/2011 3:43:50 PM , Rating: 2
I would love to see GW theory debunked. The resources could be spend on something more fun and useful.

However just looking at whether the record year of 1998 has been beaten or not doesn't prove anything. Just like this years record temperatures everywhere doesn't prove anything. Just think about how much the weather change all the time. And just think about how things like El Nino or volcano eruptions can affect weather.

A single year is "weather". When looking at a decade then you start to see climate trends. Although to have any kind of certainty you probably need more than that, because the "year-to-year" changes are minute.

It is almost like looking at average age. According to wikipedia in 1997 Jeanne Calment died at the age of 122. Since that no one has come close. Does that mean that the average life expectancy is no longer increasing?

"So, I think the same thing of the music industry. They can't say that they're losing money, you know what I'm saying. They just probably don't have the same surplus that they had." -- Wu-Tang Clan founder RZA

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