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Anthropogenic Global Warming? Not So Fast . . .

Skepticism about anthropogenic global warming (AGW) has engulfed the leadership of key scientific societies including the American Chemical Society (ACS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU) and the American Physical Society (APS). Growing numbers of members of these prestigious organizations are clamoring for a reassessment of their societies' positions on climate change. This skepticism of the accepted wisdom about the link between carbon dioxide and climate change makes a mockery of the ongoing claim that when it comes to AGW, "the science is settled."

Proof that the science is not, in fact, settled, can be seen by looking at the controversies within the ACS, APS, and AGU. The growing dissent at these organizations is major news. Yet as far as I can detect there has not been any acknowledgment of this development in the mainstream media. Given that lack of acknowledgement, here's a rundown of what is happening at those organizations as well as a quick look at what has happened recently in Germany.

American Chemical Society

The triggering editorial here was by a Rudy Baum, editor, Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), June 22nd, 2009.Baum concluded his editorial by stating that "deniers" are attempting to "derail meaningful efforts to respond to global climate change." Dozens of letters from ACS members followed and were published on July 27, 2009 castigating Baum, with some scientists calling for his replacement as editor-in-chief. One of the letters came from ACS member Howard Hayden, an emeritus physics professor at the University of Connecticut. Hayden wrote that "Baum's remarks are particularly disquieting because of his hostility toward skepticism, which is part of every scientist's soul. Let's cut to the chase with some questions for Baum: Which of the 20-odd major climate models has settled the science, such that all of the rest are now discarded?"

American Geophysical Union

A background paper, by J. D. McLean et al, in the Journal of Geophysical Research (JGR), July 23, 2009 was titled: "Influence of the Southern Oscillation on Tropospheric Temperatures." The JGR is a peer-reviewed journal of the AGU, and has been a leader in support of the AGW issue. The fact that they have published a paper by three prominent skeptics of this movement-who argue it may not be carbon dioxide, but something else that drives temperature-is major news.

The Southern Oscillation is a periodic warming and cooling of the tropical Pacific Ocean . It is quantified by monthly atmospheric pressures at Tahiti and Darwin . The difference in these averages is known as the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI). El Niño is the name for the period where the waters are warmer than normal. La Niña is the name for the period when they are colder than normal. For an abstract of this paper click here.

The conclusions from this research suggests "that the Southern Oscillation exercises a consistently dominant influence on mean global temperature." One can further conclude that climate change is ocean-driven.

The American Physical Society

A revolt against the APS bureaucracy has been ongoing for months. On November 18, 2007, the APS approved a new position on AGW, that was highly alarmist in nature. In response, Will Harper, a renowned Princeton physicist wrote an open letter to the American Physical Society. More than 50 past and current members of the APS have signed on to this petition.

About a year ago, the editor of the newsletter APS Forum on Physics and Society, reported on "a considerable presence within the scientific community of people who do not agree" with the conventional wisdom on AGW. A search for "APS, 2008 and editor" yields several references including a commentary in the blog: Watts up With That? (WUWT).

For instance, on July 17, 2008 dateline, WUWT reported that the APS was opening a debate on this issue, and this editor published pro and con papers in the July 2008 issue to that extent.

A later issue of WUWT, dated July 27, 2009, noted that an invited paper - one that was opposed to the conventional position on AGW -- was entitled "Climate Sensitivity Reconsidered" by Christopher Monckton. A disclaimer was placed on this to the extent that: "The following article has not undergone any scientific peer review. Its conclusions are in disagreement with the overwhelming opinion of the world scientific community. The Council of the American Physical Society disagrees with this article's conclusions." It is believed that this disclaimer was posted in 2008, almost immediately after the initial publication.

Another controversy began in April after Nature magazine published a series of alarmist articles on the "climate crunch." In its July 23 issue, Nature published a letter entitled "Petitioning for a revised statement on climate change" by S. Fred Singer of the University of Virginia , Hal Lewis from the University of California at Santa Barbara, Will Harper of Princeton University, Larry Gould of the University of Hartford, Robert H. Austin of Princeton University, and one other. The men said that they are "among more than 50 members who have signed an open letter to the APS Council calling for a reconsideration of its 2007 policy statement on climate change." The writers proposed that the APS adopt a more accurate representation of the current scientific evidence on AGW and that an objective scientific process be established to help prevent subversion of the scientific process and the intolerance towards scientific disagreement hat pervades the climate issue. They said that they applaud the APS Council's decision to review its stance on AGW "and we hope it will lead to meaningful change that reflects a more balanced view of climate issues."

The German Scientists

More than 60 German scientists declared their dissent from the ranks of AGW believers in an open letter to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. They declared that global warming has become a "pseudo religion" and they noted that rising carbon dioxide levels have "had no measurable effect" on temperatures." Their July 26, 2009 letter urges Merkel to "strongly reconsider" her position on global warming and requested a "convening of an impartial panel" that is "free of ideology." Since the letter was sent, Climate Depot reports that over 130 other people have now signed onto the letter sent to Merkel.

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Gerald T. Westbrook retired in 1994 from Dow Hydrocarbons and Resources, where he was manager of market intelligence and also the hydrocarbons and energy economist.

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