Despite seven months of intense effort to recruit physicists to sign a politically motivated petition disputing anthropogenic climate change, a mere, 0.45% of the American Physical Society‘s 47,000 members signed on.
It’s a humiliating defeat for the climate change Deniers who make such false claims as ”many scientists dispute’ and ‘there is no consensus. The Petition drive was announced in the prestigous journal Nature, APS publications, numerous popular and electronic media, as well as heavily promoted by the petition organizers. Despite all of that effort and publicity, a mere 0.45% was all that they could manage.
Of course the reason for that APS Council’s rejection is unrelated to the number of the signatories, but rather was based the quality of the alleged “science” justifying the call. The “scientific” claims are a sad cobbling together of the argumentum ad ignorantiam and appeal to authority logical fallacies, along with the unbelievably idiotic “it’s happened in the past” argument. As “science” it should embarrass a freshman.
Not that there was ever any risk that the APS would actually reverse it’s stance; they are scientists after all. However the Deniers had hoped to demonstrate some meaningful level of grossly uninformed dissent within the APS, so the dismal showing is an embarrassment.
Most significant is that of the signatories
- only one is/has ever been active in climate research
- all work(ed) in fields and specializations largely unrelated to climate science (eg astrophysics, aerospace, defense, nuclear)
The effort was instigated by a core group dominated by members involved with four industry funded groups that pose as “think tanks”, but in reality are little better than Public Relations firms.
This is consistent with the pattern of climate change Denial being driven by a tiny handful of lobbyists and consultants (here and here) working through a network of phony think tanks and astro-turf “citizens groups.”
In this case the key relationships seem to have been to:
- that ozone depletion is nothing to worry about
- that smoking doesn’t cause cancer
- that second-hand smoke is nothing to worry about anyway
- and now that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is nothing to worry about.
This petition seems to be just another in a long series of phony petitions which the core group has a “a long history of manufacturing …” (here and here). As Mashey documents, it’s nothing more than another industry attempt to bypass science and influence policy politically.
In a rather sad attempt to spin the story, Chair of the Exxon funded G.C. Marshall Institute William Happer said “They basically sent both statements back to their committee on public affairs and asked them to reconsider, I think it’s a big victory for us.”
Ever a bastion of scientific ignorance, Lubos Motl frames the defeat as “APS fat cats stick to the sinking AGW bandwagon” and even has a message for the APS, literally “and tell them, fuck you.” A great example of the cogent, fact based scientific arguments we know so well from the Denialosphere.
Despite Lubos’ delusions of APS political correctness, the truth is that [emphasis added]:
“What this means is that the APS, which is the preeminent society of physicists in the US, and which tends to be extremely conservative in its policy and statements, continues to support the prevailing consensus of AGW model based on the scientifically available studies and results.“
Nonetheless we can expect that there will continue to be more attempts by this cabal of industry consultants and lobbyists to try and create the impression that “the debate is not over.“
More on this story may be found at:
“Since 1982, spring in East Asia (defined here as the eastern third of China and the Korean Peninsula) has been warming at a rate of one degree Fahrenheit per decade.” Earth Gauge
We give our consent every moment that we do not resist.
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