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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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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.

“Then they pop up and say ‘Hello, surprise! Give us your money or we will shut you down!' Screw them. Seriously, screw them. You can quote me on that.” -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng referencing patent trolls

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