APS Council Rejects Bid to Soften Society Statement on Global Warming

Eli is a contributing correspondent for Science magazine.

A petition submitted earlier this year to the American Physical Society's leadership council to change the society's official statement in 2007 on climate change has gone down in (carbon neutral) flames:

The Council of the American Physical Society has overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to replace the Society’s 2007 Statement on Climate Change with a version that raised doubts about global warming.

The Council’s vote came after it received a report from a committee of eminent scientists who reviewed the existing statement in response to a petition submitted by a group of APS members. The petition had requested that APS remove and replace the Society’s current statement. The committee recommended that the Council reject the petition.

The 2007 statement warned that "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."

The petition had been bolstered by an official motion to APS's council to replace the existing statement with a new one that said that "21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent." 

APS President Cherry Murray appointed a committee, chaired by Massachusetts Institute of Technology physicist Dan Kleppner, to look into the APS statement and advise the Council. Its recommendations were to retain the existing statement, and to review the statement for its "clarity and tone." That happened on Sunday.

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