Friday, December 11, 2009

The APS strikes back!

Following an email to certain APS members suggesting changes in an APS policy statement post-ClimateGate, the APS President ( Cherry Murray) sent out an email to APS members on December 10, 2009 which included the text:

Recently, you may have received an unsolicited email from Hal Lewis,
Bob Austin, Will Happer, Larry Gould and Roger Cohen regarding the APS
and climate change. Please be assured that this was not an official
APS message, nor was it sent with APS knowledge or approval. A
number of members have complained to APS regarding this unsolicited
e-mail. If the e-mail addresses used to send this message were
obtained from our membership directory, this was contrary to the
stated guidelines for members' use of the directory. We are
continuing to investigate how the senders obtained APS member email

As many APS members are already aware, the Council of the Society has
tasked the Panel on Public Affairs to examine the 2007 APS statement
on climate change for issues of tone and clarity. Duncan Moore, the
current chair of POPA, is in the process of convening a subcommittee
to carry out the task. The subcommittee, which he is also chairing,
will report its recommendations to POPA in early February, and shortly
thereafter POPA will post the text for a three-week APS member comment
period. We will alert the APS membership by email when the posting
occurs. Duncan Moore's subcommittee will use the comments it receives
to finalize the wording in time for the April Council meeting.

Some members of the APS have asked the Society to craft a statement
regarding the issues surrounding the release of climate files stolen
from the Climate Research Unit (CRU) at the University of East Anglia.
The CRU maintains the repository for temperature measurements used by
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The APS
leadership has concerns about both the improper release of private
e-mails and any premature rush to judgment regarding scientific
integrity at the CRU.
Both the CRU and the IPCC are in the process
of investigating the affair. Once the full range of information is
made available, the APS Panel on Public Affairs will examine the case
and recommend how APS should act.

Query to the APS: does the APS leadership have concerns about
the express intention of certain people at the CRU to defeat "freedom
of information act" [FOIA] requests, including destruction of the data?

See previous IPBiz post:

ClimateGate: Physicists request change in APS policy statement

If you were wondering, here's Bob Park's take, from the 4 Dec 09:

Last week someone broke into the e-mail files of the Climate Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, and posted the results on the web for the world to see. The Wall Street Journal and Investors Business Daily are having a field-day writing about "criminal conspiracy" and "scientific blacklisting." There were a few embarrassing comments about global warming deniers in a mountain of e-mails. I would hate to see some of my private e- mails on the web. The suffix was added to invite comparisons to the infamous break-in at the Watergate Hotel by Nixon's goons, but in this story the unnamed burglars are treated as heroes. No one wrote even a line about what was probably the only criminal offense in this sordid affair: hacking into private files. There are angry demands in Congress for an investigation of the affair. So far the only effect has been to shift the focus away from bad news about rising oceans and stranded polar bears to climate scientists more interested in scoring points than advancing science. All that's left is to figure out who paid for the break- in. That book has already been written.

Apparently, Bob Park doesn't believe in FOIA, or at least doesn't want to discuss that aspect of what was revealed by the emails disclosed in the break-in. Talking about destroying evidence is a bad thing.


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