An Open Letter to the Council of the American Physical Society

Published November 1, 2009

Regarding the National Policy Statement on Climate Change of the APS Council: An Open Letter to the Council of the American Physical Society

As physicists who are familiar with the science issues, and as current and past members of the American Physical Society, we the undersigned urge the Council to revise its current statement* on climate change as follows, so as to more accurately represent the current state of the science:

Greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide, methane, and nitrous oxide, accompany human industrial and agricultural activity. While substantial concern has been expressed that emissions may cause significant climate change, measured or reconstructed temperature records indicate that 20th and 21st century changes are neither exceptional nor persistent, and the historical and geological records show many periods warmer than today. In addition, there is an extensive scientific literature that examines beneficial effects of increased levels of carbon dioxide for both plants and animals.

Studies of a variety of natural processes, including ocean cycles and solar variability, indicate that they can account for variations in the Earth’s climate on the time scale of decades and centuries. Current climate models appear insufficiently reliable to properly account for natural and anthropogenic contributions to past climate change, much less project future climate.

The APS supports an objective scientific effort to understand the effects of all processes—natural and human—on the Earth’s climate and the biosphere’s response to climate change, and promotes technological options for meeting challenges of future climate changes, regardless of cause.

* The statement of the APS Council, adopted on November 18, 2007 is as follows:

Emissions of greenhouse gases from human activities are changing the atmosphere in ways that affect the Earth’s climate. Greenhouse gases include carbon dioxide as well as methane, nitrous oxide and other gases. They are emitted from fossil fuel combustion and a range of industrial and agricultural processes.

The evidence is incontrovertible: Global warming is occurring. 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. We must reduce emissions of greenhouse gases beginning now.

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.

 — APS News; January 2008 (Volume 17, Number 1)


Harold M. Agnew
Director, Los Alamos National Laboratory (1970-1979)
President, General Atomics Corporation (1979-1984)
White House Science Councilor (1982-1989)
E.O. Lawrence Award 1966, Enrico Fermi Award 1978, Los Alamos Medal (with H.A. Bethe) 2001 Member National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Fellow APS, AAAS

Sol Aisenberg
President, International Technology Group
Formerly Staff Member, MIT; Lecturer, Harvard Medical School;
Visiting Research Professor, Boston University

Ralph B. Alexander
Former Associate Professor of Physics, Wayne State University
President, R.B. Alexander & Associates
Author, Global Warming False Alarm (Canterbury)

Moorad Alexanian
Professor of Physics and Physical Oceanography, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Member Mexican Academy of Sciences

Louis J. Allamandola
Director, Astrochemistry Laboratory
NASA Ames Research Center
Fellow APS, AAAS
Member ACS, American Astronomical Society, International Astronomical Union

Eva Andrei
Professor of Physics, Rutgers University
Fellow APS

Robert H. Austin
Professor of Physics, Princeton University
Fellow APS, AAAS; APS Council: 1991-1994, 2007-2010
Member National Academy of Sciences, American Association of Arts and Sciences

Franco Battaglia
Professor of Chemical Physics and Environmental Chemistry, University of Modena, Italy
Life Member APS

David J. Benard
Aerospace Scientist (retired)
Coinventor of the Chemical OxygenIodine Laser

Lev I. Berger
President, California Institute of Electronics and Materials Science
Author, Semiconductor Materials and
Material and Device Characterization Measurements (CRC Press)

Stuart B. Berger
Research Fellow, Xerox Corporation (retired)

Ami E. Berkowitz
Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of California at San Diego
Fellow APS

Barry L. Berman
Columbian Professor and Chair, Physics Department, The George Washington University
Fellow APS

Edwin X. Berry
Atmospheric Physicist, Climate Physics, LLC
Certified Consulting Meteorologist #180
Member American Meteorological Society

Vladislav A. Bevc
Associate Professor, Naval Postgraduate School, Monterey (retired);
Formerly Technical Staff Member, The Aerospace Corporation;
Physicist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory;
Visiting Fellow, Hoover Institution (Stanford University)
Member IEEE

Clifford Bruce Bigham
Atomic Energy of Canada, Ltd. (retired)
Senior Member APS, Sustaining Member CAP

Arie Bodek
George E. Pake Professor of Physics, University of Rochester
Wolfgang K. H. Panofsky Prize in Experimental Particle Physics (APS) 2004
Fellow APS

Lowell S. Brown
Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Washington
Scientific Staff Member, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Fellow APS, AAAS

Daniel M. Bubb
Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Physics, Rutgers University-Camden

Timothy D. Calvin
President, Bearfoot Corporation (retired)
Member ACS

Gregory H. Canavan
Senior Fellow and Scientific Advisor, Los Alamos National Laboratory
Fellow APS

Roger W. Cohen
Manager, Strategic Planning and Programs, ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)
Otto Schade Prize (Society for Information Display) 2006
Fellow APS

Steven R. Cranmer
Astrophysicist, HarvardSmithsonian Center for Astrophysics
Karen Harvey Prize (AAS) 2006
Associate Editor, Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics
Member: American Astronomical Society, American Geophysical Union

Jerry M. Cuttler
President, Cuttler and Associates, Inc.
President, Canadian Nuclear Society 19951996
Fellow Canadian Nuclear Society
Member American Nuclear Society

Joseph G. Depp
Founding President and CEO, Accuray Incorporated (retired)
Founding President and CEO, PsiStar Incorporated
Life Member APS

Riccardo DeSalvo
Senior Scientist Laser Interferometer Gravitational Wave Observatory (LIGO)
California Institute of Technology
Member ASME

David H. Douglass
Professor of Physics, University of Rochester
Fellow APS

Paul J. Drallos
President and CEO, Plasma Dynamics Corporation (retired)

William T. Duffy Jr.
Professor Emeritus of Physics, Santa Clara University

David F. Edwards
Physicist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (retired)
Formerly Los Alamos National Laboratory
Professor of Physics and Electrical Engineering, Colorado State University
Lincoln Laboratory, MIT

Albert G. Engelhardt
President and CEO, Enfitek, Inc.
Senior Life Member IEEE

Hughen Falconer
Emeritus Professor of Geology, University of Aberdeen
Member American Geophysical Union

Jens G. Feder
Professor of Physics of Geological Processes, University of Oslo
Fellow APS

Peter D. Friedman
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth
Member American Geophysical Union, ASME, American Nuclear Society

Rodger L. Gamblin
Inventor, holder of 44 U.S. patents

G. Roger Gathers
Senior Scientist, M. H. Chew and Associates
Physicist, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1967-1993)
Author, Selected Topics in Shock Wave Physics and Equation of State Modeling (World Scientific Publishing)

Gary J. Gerardi
Professor, Department of Chemistry and Physics, William Paterson University

Ivar Giaever
Institute Professor, School of Engineering and School of Science, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Nobel Prize in Physics 1973
Fellow APS, Member National Academy of Science, National Academy of Engineering

Albert Gold
Associate Dean of Engineering and Applied Sciences (Retired), Harvard University

Laurence I. Gould
Professor of Physics, University of Hartford
Member Executive Board of the New England Section of the APS
Chairman (2004), New England Section APS

Paul M. Grant
EPRI Science Fellow (retired)
IBM Research Staff Member Emeritus
Senior Life Fellow APS

Howard D. Greyber
University of Pennsylvania (retired)
Formerly Princeton University, LLNL Theory Group, Northeastern University
Member American Astronomical Society, Fellow Royal Astronomical Society

Mike Gruntman
Professor of Astronautics, University of Southern California
Author, Blazing the Trail. The Early History of Spacecraft and Rocketry (AIAA)
Luigi G. Napolitano Book Award (International Academy of Astronautics) 2006
Member American Geophysical Union, Associate Fellow AIAA

George Hacken
Senior Director, SafetyCritical Systems, New York City Transit Authority
Formerly Senior Member of the Technical Staff, GECMarconi Aerospace
Chair, New York Chapter, IEEE Computer Society
Member AMS, SIAM, ANS, AIAA, New York Academy of Sciences

Sultan Hameed
Professor of Atmospheric Science, School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University, New York

William Happer
Cyrus Fogg Brackett Professor of Physics, Princeton University
Fellow APS, AAAS
Member National Academy of Sciences

Howard C. Hayden
Emeritus Professor of Physics, University of Connecticut
Editor, The Energy Advocate
Author, A Primer on CO2 and Climate (Vales Lake)

Jack M. Hollander
Professor Emeritus of Energy and Resources, University of California, Berkeley
Vice President Emeritus, The Ohio State University
First Head, Energy and Environment Division, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory
Fellow APS, AAAS

David B. Holtkamp
Scientific Staff Member, Physics Division, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Helen Jackson
Physicist, U.S. Air Force, Wright Patterson Air Force Base
Member Materials Research Society, IEEE

James R. Johnson
3M Company (retired)
Member Carlton Society (3M Hall of Fame)
Member National Academy of Engineering

O’Dean Judd
LANL Fellow, Los Alamos National Laboratory (retired)
Technical Advisor and Consultant

Andrew Kaldor
Distinguished Scientific Advisor, Manager of Breakthrough Research, ExxonMobil Corporation (retired)
Fellow AAAS, Member ACS

Alexander E. Kaplan
Professor, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, The Johns Hopkins University
Max Born Award (Optical Society of America) 2005
Alexander von Humboldt Award (von Humboldt Foundation) 1996
Fellow OSA

Jonathan Katz
Professor of Physics, Washington University

William E. Keller
Leader. Low Temperature Physics Group 1971-1985, Los Alamos National Laboratory (retired)
Fellow APS

John M. Kennel
Autonetics Division, Boeing North American (retired)
Formerly Electronics Division, Northrop Grumman Corporation

Robert S. Knox
Professor of Physics Emeritus, University of Rochester
Member APS Council (1985-1988)
Fellow APS

Joseph A. Kunc
Professor, Physics and Astronomy, University of Southern California
Fellow APS

Robert E. LeLevier
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (1951-1957)
Physics Department, RAND Corp (1957-1971)
R&D Associates (1971-1983)
Eos Technologies, Inc. (1983-1993)

Robert E. Levine
Industrial and Defense Physics and Engineering (retired)
Member ACM, IEEE

John D. Lindl
James Clerk Maxwell Prize for Plasma Physics (APS) 2007
Fellow APS, AAAS

Michael D. Lubin
Colonel, United States Air Force (retired)

Alfred U. MacRae
President, MacRae Technologies
Fellow APS, IEEE, Member National Academy of Engineering

Phillip W. Mange
Associate Superintendent, Space Science Division
Scientific Consultant to the Director of Research,
Naval Research Laboratory (retired)

Joseph Maserjian
Senior Research Scientist, California Institute of Technology Jet Propulsion Laboratory (retired)

Harold Mirels
Principal Scientist, The Aerospace Corporation (retired)
Fellow APS, AIAA
Member National Academy of Engineering

Jim Mitroy
Lecturer in Physics, School of Engineering and Information Technology, Charles Darwin University, Australia

Michael Monce
Professor of Physics, Astronomy, and Geophysics, Connecticut College
Member AAPT, American Geophysical Union

Nasif Nahle
Scientific Research Director
Biology Cabinet, Mexico
Member AAAS, New York Academy of Sciences

Rodney W. Nichols
President and CEO, New York Academy of Sciences (1992-2001)
Vice President and Executive Vice President, The Rockefeller University (1970-1990)
Secretary of Defense Medal for Distinguished Meritorious Civilian Service (1970)
Fellow AAAS, New York Academy of Sciences

Gordon C. Oehler
Senior Fellow, Potomac Institute for Policy Studies
Working Group Chairman, Congressional Commission on the Strategic Posture of the United States.
Corporate Vice President for Corporate Development, SAIC (1998-2004)
National Intelligence Officer for Science, Technology and Proliferation (1989-1992)

William P. Oliver
Professor of Physics, Tufts University
Life Member APS

Frank R. Paolini
Adjunct Professor of Physics, University of Connecticut at Stamford (retired)
Senior Member APS, Member IEEE

Thomas E. Phipps, Jr.
Physicist (retired)
Operations Evaluation Group, MIT
US Naval Ordnance Laboratory
Senior Member APS

Donald Rapp
Chief Technologist, Mechanical and Chemical Systems, Jet Propulsion Laboratory (retired)
Professor of Physics and Environmental Engineering, University of Texas (1973-1979)
Author, Assessing Climate Change and Ice Ages and Interglacials (SpringerVerlag)
Fellow APS

Ned S. Rasor
Consulting Physicist
Formerly President and CEO, Rasor Associates, Inc.

John E. Rhoads
Professor of Physics, Midwestern State University (retired)
Member SPE

Harry I. Ringermacher
Sr. Research Physicist, General Electric Global Research Center
AIP “History of Physics in Industry” Participant at GE
Sir William Herschel Medal (American Academy of Thermology)
Copper Black Award (American Mensa) 2003 and 2007

Stanley Robertson
Emeritus Professor of Physics, Southwestern Oklahoma State University

Berol Robinson
Principal Scientific Officer, UNESCO (retired)
Member AAPT, AAAS, Association des Écologistes Pour le Nucléaire

Raymond E. Sarwinski
President, Cryogenic Designs, Inc.
Life Member APS

Nicola Scafetta
Research Scientist, Physics Department, Duke University
Member American Geophysical Union

Thomas P. Sheahen
President/CEO, Western Technology, Inc.
Member AAAS; APS Congressional Science Fellowship (1977-1978)
Author, Introduction to High Temperature Superconductivity (Springer)

Joseph Silverman
Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering, Department of Materials Science and Engineering, University of Maryland
Fellow APS, ANS

S. Fred Singer
Professor of Environmental Sciences Emeritus, University of Virginia
First Director of the National Weather Satellite Service
Fellow APS, AAAS, American Geophysical Union

Hermann Statz
Raytheon Corporation (retired)
Microwave Pioneer Award (IEEE) 2004
Fellow APS

Nick Steph
Chair, Department of Physics, Franklin College
Member AAPT, ACS

Peter Stilbs
Professor of Physical Chemistry Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden
Life Member APS

Szymon Suckewer
Professor, School of Engineering & Applied Sciences, Director of Plasma Science and Technology Program, Princeton University
Fellow APS, OSA

Ronald M. Sundelin
Associate Director, DOE Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (retired) Commonwealth Professor Emeritus of Physics, Virginia Tech
Fellow APS

Frank J. Tipler
Professor of Mathematical Physics, Tulane University
Coauthor, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (Oxford University Press)

Salvatore Torquato
Professor of Chemistry,Princeton Center for Theoretical Science
2009 APS David Alder Lectureship Award in the Field of Material Physics
Fellow APS

Edward S. Troy
Principal Engineer Aerospace Consulting Wireless, RF, microwave, analog/DSP, and GPS circuits and systems
Member IEEE

Samuel A. Werner
Curators’ Professor Emeritus, The University of Missouri
Guest Researcher, NIST Fellow APS, AAAS

Bruce J. West
Adjunct Professor of Physics, Duke University
Fellow APS

Peter J. Wojtowicz
Group Head, Senior Member Technical Staff (retired), RCA Labs, GE, Sarnoff Corporation Fellow APS

YaHong Xie
Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, University of California at Los Angeles
Senior Member IEEE, Member Materials Research Society

M. John Yoder
Principal Physicist, The MITRE Corporation
Life Member APS

Martin V. Zombeck
Physicist, HarvardSmithsonian Center for Astrophysics (retired)
Author, Handbook of Space Astronomy and Astrophysics (Cambridge University Press)
Coauthor, High Resolution XRay Spectroscopy of Cosmic Plasmas (Cambridge University Press)