By Liz Klimas
Nobel Prize Winner Resigns Over an ‘Incontrovertible’ Stance on Global Warming
Dr. Ivar Giaever, former professor with Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and the 1973 winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, resigned yesterday as a Fellow from the American Physics Society over its ‘incontrovertible’ position on global warming.
Giaever wrote in an email to APS’s executive director (via Climate Depot):
“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.”
APS’s official position on global warming according to its website states:
The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring.
Because the complexity of the climate makes accurate prediction difficult, the APS urges an enhanced effort to understand the effects of human activity on the Earth’s climate, and to provide the technological options for meeting the climate challenge in the near and longer terms. The APS also urges governments, universities, national laboratories and its membership to support policies and actions that will reduce the emission of greenhouse gases.
In later commentary on its website to clarify its position, APS writes:
While there are factors driving the natural variability of climate (e.g., volcanoes, solar variability, oceanic oscillations), no known natural mechanisms have been proposed that explain all of the observed warming in the past century. Warming is observed in land-surface temperatures, sea-surface temperatures, and for the last 30 years, lower-atmosphere temperatures measured by satellite.
APS, in it’s commentary, also acknowledges that “the word ”incontrovertible” in the first sentence of the second paragraph of the 2007 APS statement is rarely used in science because by its very nature science questions prevailing ideas.“ The organization calls the evidence for global warming ”compelling” but doesn‘t retract it’s use of the word “incontrovertible.”
Giaever was one of 70 Nobel Prize winners to endorse Obama in 2008. But in 2009 he was one of 100 co-signers of a letter to the president questioning his stance on global warming. In 2010, Giaever was quoted by the New York Times as saying global warming “can’t be discussed, just like religion.”