News Release: Galileo Silenced Again

Published November 18, 2009

In a grim display of ham-handed censorship in the scientific debate over the causes and severity of global warming, the American Geophysical Union has canceled a previously approved conference session on climate change led by some of the world’s elite geophysicists.

This incident is no mere squabble among warring factions in the climate change debate. It involves the integrity of one of the world’s leading earth science associations, the freedom of scientific inquiry, and plain fair play. You may use any part or all of this posting to send a letter to the editor of a newspaper, a journalist for a newspaper or periodical, a blogger – or contact the AGU itself at this email address to express your opinion.

“The AGU action is … counter-productive to the scientific method and to promoting open scientific discussions. It smacks of censorship,” wrote two of the scientists who developed the now-cancelled session, Dr. Willie Soon, a physicist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, and Dr. David R. Legates, associate professor in climatology at the University of Delaware.

Both are members of the 50,000-person American Geophysical Union, which is scheduled to meet in December in San Francisco.

The AGU began its power play in September, when the AGU Planning Committee pulled the plug on a session called “Diverse Views from Galileo’s Window: Researching factors and processes of climate change in the age of anthropogenic CO2.” The 27 scientific papers approved for presentation in San Francisco focused on “knowledge that spans an extremely diverse range of expertise” and provides “an integrated assessment of the vast array of disciplines that affect and in turn are affected by the Earth’s climate.”

The Planning Committee wrongly concluded that the topic of the Galileo session was “thematically divergent” and subsequently divided the 27 papers among other sessions. In doing so it altogether diluted the planned discussions of the secondary role of CO2 on the climate system–discussions that weeks earlier had been submitted and approved by the Planning Committee.

For further your background on this topic, follow this link to “Galileo Silenced Again,” a short essay by Drs. Soon and Legates that provides details of the AGU’s action, and the scientists’ reaction.

I would appreciate being informed of any follow up action you may take regarding this incident.

Dan Miller
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]