Monday, October 11, 2010

A Very Important Letter

In early October 2010 Harold Lewis (Emeritus Professor of Physics at the University of California, Santa Barbara) released a letter of resignation to Curtis G. Callan Jr, Princeton University, President of the American Physical Society.

This letter is of great importance because not only does a long standing member of the APS resign because of what he says is "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life", referring to global warming and the APS's unquestioning acceptance of it, but how they and in particular Callan Jr have stifled any debate on the issue in the most unscientific manner.

Anthony Watts has described this letter as:

This is an important moment in science history. I would describe it as a letter on the scale of Martin Luther, nailing his 95 theses to the Wittenburg church door. It is worthy of repeating this letter in entirety on every blog that discusses science.

Here is the letter (my emphasis added):

Dear Curt:
When I first joined the American Physical Society sixty-seven years ago it was much smaller, much gentler, and as yet uncorrupted by the money flood (a threat against which Dwight Eisenhower warned a half-century ago). Indeed, the choice of physics as a profession was then a guarantor of a life of poverty and abstinence—it was World War II that changed all that. The prospect of worldly gain drove few physicists. As recently as thirty-five years ago, when I chaired the first APS study of a contentious social/scientific issue, The Reactor Safety Study, though there were zealots aplenty on the outside there was no hint of inordinate pressure on us as physicists. We were therefore able to produce what I believe was and is an honest appraisal of the situation at that time. We were further enabled by the presence of an oversight committee consisting of Pief Panofsky, Vicki Weisskopf, and Hans Bethe, all towering physicists beyond reproach. I was proud of what we did in a charged atmosphere. In the end the oversight committee, in its report to the APS President, noted the complete independence in which we did the job, and predicted that the report would be attacked from both sides. What greater tribute could there be?

How different it is now. The giants no longer walk the earth, and the money flood has become the raison d’être of much physics research, the vital sustenance of much more, and it provides the support for untold numbers of professional jobs. For reasons that will soon become clear my former pride at being an APS Fellow all these years has been turned into shame, and I am forced, with no pleasure at all, to offer you my resignation from the Society.

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare. (Montford’s book organizes the facts very well.) I don’t believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

So what has the APS, as an organization, done in the face of this challenge? It has accepted the corruption as the norm, and gone along with it. For example:

1. About a year ago a few of us sent an e-mail on the subject to a fraction of the membership. APS ignored the issues, but the then President immediately launched a hostile investigation of where we got the e-mail addresses. In its better days, APS used to encourage discussion of important issues, and indeed the Constitution cites that as its principal purpose. No more. Everything that has been done in the last year has been designed to silence debate

2. The appallingly tendentious APS statement on Climate Change was apparently written in a hurry by a few people over lunch, and is certainly not representative of the talents of APS members as I have long known them. So a few of us petitioned the Council to reconsider it. One of the outstanding marks of (in)distinction in the Statement was the poison word incontrovertible, which describes few items in physics, certainly not this one. In response APS appointed a secret committee that never met, never troubled to speak to any skeptics, yet endorsed the Statement in its entirety. (They did admit that the tone was a bit strong, but amazingly kept the poison word incontrovertible to describe the evidence, a position supported by no one.) In the end, the Council kept the original statement, word for word, but approved a far longer “explanatory” screed, admitting that there were uncertainties, but brushing them aside to give blanket approval to the original. The original Statement, which still stands as the APS position, also contains what I consider pompous and asinine advice to all world governments, as if the APS were master of the universe. It is not, and I am embarrassed that our leaders seem to think it is. This is not fun and games, these are serious matters involving vast fractions of our national substance, and the reputation of the Society as a scientific society is at stake.

3. In the interim the ClimateGate scandal broke into the news, and the machinations of the principal alarmists were revealed to the world. It was a fraud on a scale I have never seen, and I lack the words to describe its enormity. Effect on the APS position: none. None at all. This is not science; other forces are at work.

4. So a few of us tried to bring science into the act(that is, after all, the alleged and historic purpose of APS), and collected the necessary 200+ signatures to bring to the Council a proposal for a Topical Group on Climate Science, thinking that open discussion of the scientific issues, in the best tradition of physics, would be beneficial to all, and also a contribution to the nation. I might note that it was not easy to collect the signatures, since you denied us the use of the APS membership list. We conformed in every way with the requirements of the APS Constitution, and described in great detail what we had in mind—simply to bring the subject into the open.

5. To our amazement, Constitution be damned, you declined to accept our petition, but instead used your own control of the mailing list to run a poll on the members’ interest in a TG on Climate and the Environment. You did ask the members if they would sign a petition to form a TG on your yet-to-be-defined subject, but provided no petition, and got lots of affirmative responses. (If you had asked about sex you would have gotten more expressions of interest.) There was of course no such petition or proposal, and you have now dropped the Environment part, so the whole matter is moot. (Any lawyer will tell you that you cannot collect signatures on a vague petition, and then fill in whatever you like.) The entire purpose of this exercise was to avoid your constitutional responsibility to take our petition to the Council.

6. As of now you have formed still another secret and stacked committee to organize your own TG, simply ignoring our lawful petition.

APS management has gamed the problem from the beginning, to suppress serious conversation about the merits of the climate change claims. Do you wonder that I have lost confidence in the organization?

I do feel the need to add one note, and this is conjecture, since it is always risky to discuss other people’s motives. This scheming at APS HQ is so bizarre that there cannot be a simple explanation for it. Some have held that the physicists of today are not as smart as they used to be, but I don’t think that is an issue. I think it is the money, exactly what Eisenhower warned about a half-century ago. There are indeed trillions of dollars involved, to say nothing of the fame and glory (and frequent trips to exotic islands) that go with being a member of the club. Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise. As the old saying goes, you don’t have to be a weatherman to know which way the wind is blowing. Since I am no philosopher, I’m not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

I want no part of it, so please accept my resignation. APS no longer represents me, but I hope we are still friends.

Harold Lewis is Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California, Santa Barbara, former Chairman; Former member Defense Science Board, chmn of Technology panel; Chairman DSB study on Nuclear Winter; Former member Advisory Committee on Reactor Safeguards; Former member, President’s Nuclear Safety Oversight Committee; Chairman APS study on Nuclear Reactor Safety Chairman Risk Assessment Review Group; Co-founder and former Chairman of JASON; Former member USAF Scientific Advisory Board; Served in US Navy in WW II; books: Technological Risk (about, surprise, technological risk) and Why Flip a Coin (about decision making)

Once again we see an noted scientific organisation being accused by one of its own members of becoming a prostitute to the glut of funding coming from government and environmental organisations and corrupting it's principles to the core. The long term damage of this is yet to be fully measured, but one can only assume that for some the damage they are doing to their reputations will be irreparable.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Stinks Of Desperation By The Alarmists.

In my previous post entitled Failing To Convince, Climate Activists Threaten Instead, I examined how the pro climate change activists and extremists had ramped up their use of direct threats to those who had dared to challenge their position. At the end of September 2010 a UK organisation called 10:10 released a movie to YouTube that depicted people who failed to instantly sign up to their campaign of reducing carbon emissions by 10% being exploded and their detritus being splattered all over those believers who stood near them (presumably as a warning never to disagree again or face the same fate). I will link to a copy of the video here, however, I do so with this warning: This film contains scenes that some viewers may find distressing. Not suitable for children

After its released10:10 released the following statement.

Today we put up a mini-movie about 10:10 and climate change called 'No Pressure'.

With climate change becoming increasingly threatening, and decreasingly talked about in the media, we wanted to find a way to bring this critical issue back into the headlines whilst making people laugh. We were therefore delighted when Britain's leading comedy writer, Richard Curtis - writer of Blackadder, Four Weddings, Notting Hill and many others – agreed to write a short film for the 10:10 campaign. Many people found the resulting film extremely funny, but unfortunately some didn't and we sincerely apologise to anybody we have offended.

As a result of these concerns we've taken it off our website.

We'd like to thank the 50+ film professionals and 40+ actors and extras and who gave their time and equipment to the film for free. We greatly value your contributions and the tremendous enthusiasm and professionalism you brought to the project.

At 10:10 we're all about trying new and creative ways of getting people to take action on climate change. Unfortunately in this instance we missed the mark. Oh well, we live and learn.

Onwards and upwards,

Eugenie, Franny, Daniel, Lizzie and the whole 10:10 team

But 10:10 are not alone in their use of controversial images. This poster is from ACT Responsible, (a Left-wing advertising executive group) used this for a Cannes conference:

And this video designed to scare children was used to open the Copenhagen conference in 2009:

In another act of desperation of different kind, is the Climate Change Committee put together by the Gillard Government of Australia and their new coalition partners The Greens. As Herald Sun Columnist Andrew Bolt reports in his article Gillard rigs her warming “consensus”:

The fix is in, and shame on any commentator who falls for this childish spin:

THE Australian Greens have secured a deputy chair position on a new parliamentary climate change committee, Prime Minister Julia Gillard has announced.

The committee will receive independent advice from four experts - Ross Garnaut, Will Steffen, Rod Sims and Patricia Faulkner.

Ms Gillard will chair the committee while Climate Change Minister Greg Combet and Greens climate spokeswomen Christine Milne will serve as co-deputy chairs.

Ms Gillard said the committee would start from the position that a carbon price was required to reduce pollution and encourage investment in low-emission technologies.

Note already that the committee skips what should be the start of any discussion. As in: is a carbon price actually worth the pain? Will cutting our emissions actually achieve anything? Is a rise in global temperatures actually good for us? Isn’t it suicidal to slash our tiny emissions before the rest of the world - and especially the biggest emitters - agree to do likewise?

So right away this committee is fundamentally rigged to dodge debate and produce the “right” result. What’s sold by Gillard as an exercise to achieve “community consensus” is a con - this is the consensus you reach simply by excluding everyone who doesn’t agree with you. In fact, Gillard today made that explicit:

“Parliamentary members of the committee will be drawn from those who are committed to tackling climate change and who acknowledge that effectively reducing carbon pollution by 2020 will require a carbon price,” Ms Gillard said.

This is why the Coalition will not be taking up of the offer of two seats on the committee, which will be stacked instead by ideologues, including Greens leader Bob Brown:

There will also be two Greens and representation from the independent MPs. Independent Tony Windsor already has indicated his willingness to be a member of the committee.

Another con. On the committee’s agenda will be the carbon “levy” - actually tax - that Gillard repeatedly ruled out before the election, when there were nervous voters to fool:

The committee will consider mechanisms for introducing a carbon price, including a broad-based emissions trading scheme, carbon levy, or a hybrid of both.

Contrast that to this solemn promise of just six weeks ago:

There will be no carbon tax under the government I lead.

A carbon tax is actually a demand of the Greens, which now seems in charge of Labor’s global warming agenda. After all, Ross Garnaut had already done an extensive report for the then Rudd Government on exactly these questions, among others, and settled on an emissions trading scheme. Holding yet another inquiry just buys Labor more time for further delay, but also offers the Greens a prize - the hope of getting something even tougher and more damaging to our economy. Note that this committee aims to produce a “consensus” among its members (two of them Greens) that will actually form the Government policy.

But let’s get to the remaining deceit here. The four “independent experts” appointed by Gillard to advise the committee include people who are either not expert (in global warming policies, at least) or not independent.

Take Patricia Faulkner, who has no expertise in global warming policies at all and seems to have been chosen instead for her Leftism, social activism and bureaucratic skills - all the hallmarks of a classic apparatchik:

Patricia Faulkner has had an extensive career covering both the public and private sectors. She is currently the chair of the Australian Social Inclusion Board and the Chair of Jesuit Social Services. Jesuit Social Services is a small welfare based organisation that looks after people at the margins of society. She is also a Chair and Member of a range of health care and government advisory services boards, including the Federal Government Health and Hospitals Infrastructure Fund; and, the Council of Australian Governments Reform Council. She has spent 10 of the last 20 years as a partner with KPMG leading both their health and social policy sectors.

Then there’s the alarmist Will Steffen, who is indeed a climate scientist, but not one independent of this Government;

Professor Will Steffen is Executive Director of the ANU Climate Change Institute at the Australian National University (ANU), Canberra, and is also Science Adviser to the federal Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.

Add Treasurer Wayne Swan to the committee, and the Government’s global warming policy is being decided (so far) by three Labor ministers, two Greens and an independent who knows little about global warming but is sure we must Do Something. And the six of them will be guided by four experts who turn out to be an alarmist scientist, a welfare activist, a big business representative and an alarmist economist.

Be scared.

This committee is little better than a propaganda outfit, designed to sell a “solution” already agreed upon in the broad - and which in detail may break one of Gilllard’s most solemn election promises. The “community consensus” it pretends to be developing is no more than a fix and a fraud.


Need more evidence of deceit and broken promises?

Julia Gillard, September 9. on her deal with the independents:

Indeed, this process, born of parliamentary deadlock, has resulted in more openness, transparency and reform in how we conduct our Parliament and the business of government than at any other time on modern Australian politics. Throughout this process of forming a new government we’ve been open with the Australian people. To quote Rob Oakeshott, sunshine is the best disinfectant, and we’ve agreed to far-reaching reforms that make me as Prime Minister and our government and how it functions more accountable to the Australian people. So, let’s draw back the curtains and let the sun shine in; let our parliament be more open than it ever was before. That’s real reform, and that’s the direct result of the election.

Julia Gillard, September 27, on her deal with the Greens for this climate committee:

The Committee will ensure its deliberations and papers remain confidential to the Committee and the Cabinet until a final position is agreed or all parties to the Committee agree otherwise.

Yet when other non Green Senators express interest in joining this Labor/Green committee, this was the result (again via Andrew Bolt):

The Leninism of the Greens is revealed - and their power over Gillard, too:

THERE was no room for Nick Xenophon on the government’s multi-party climate change committee...

Climate Change Minister Greg Combet ... said the committee, chaired by Julia Gillard, was “small and tightly focused” and there was no room for anyone else, even though the Coalition had refused to fill two seats set aside for it…

Senator Xenophon said he was bitterly disappointed that despite writing and making representations to the Prime Minister and Mr Combet requesting a seat, he was excluded from the committee.

Sources close to Senator Xenophon said at least two Labor Party figures had told him “the Greens vetoed his presence”.

“Christine Milne was fingered as the one who insisted Nick not be on the committee,” a well-placed source said.

A spokesman for Senator Milne yesterday said the claim was “untrue”. South Australian Greens senator Sarah Hanson-Young said there was “no space available” for Senator Xenophon on the committee. “The committee decides that, and at this stage he’s not on there.”

Wasn’t this a committee to build “consensus” on global warming policies? Not only does it exclude those who disagree with the Greens position that we must put a price on carbon dioxide emissions, but now it’s excluding those who might challenge Greens power, too.

And this (again via Andrew Bolt) :

I’d thought she’d broken her ludicrous promise already, days after the election, but consider it really broken now:

PRIME Minister Julia Gillard has ditched her election policy of a climate change citizens’ assembly.

The excuse?

“I thought it was important that we harness community members to rebuild a broad general public consensus on how to tackle climate change, how to price carbon,’’ she said.

“There is not one way of doing that. There is not one way of harnessing and involving community members. Obviously the multi-party climate change committee today is looking at going to work through ways of doing that.’’

Actually, there is one importance difference between the deservedly derided Citizens’ Assembly and this climate change committee that Gillard claims will do the same job of persuasion. The citizens’ assembly was intended to get 150 uninformed people holding different beliefs on global warming to come to a “consensus”. The climate change committee is intended to get half a dozen uninformed Labor, Greens and independent MPs all holding the same belief on global warming to come to a “consensus”.

Somehow the citizens assembly seemed to have more integrity to it.

It all stinks of desperation from those that committed themselves to a course of action, yet have failed to convince the public that theirs is the right course of action. So instead they use either threats, violence or stacked committees to bluff, cagoule or simply scare the public to their view point. The question must always be asked, if the science was settled and so very convincing, why is there the need for all of this other stuff. Surely presenting the undeniable facts would be enough and would leave anyone denying them looking foolish. Yet they haven't been able to do that so now they resort to type.