Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Nobel Physicist Calls Earth's Temperature "Amazingly Stable"

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If the American Physical Society's numbers on global warming are accurate, the earth's temperature has been "amazingly stable" and "human health and happiness have improved" during a century and a half of minor climate change, Nobel Prize-winning physicist Ivar Giaever (left) said in a message to the APS, explaining why he is resigning from the society. Giaever cited a 2007 statement by the organization calling the evidence of global warming "incontrovertible."

"Global warming is occurring," the APS said at that time. "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."

Giaever sent word of his resignation in an email to AP official Kate Kirby, International Business Times reported. In it, the 82-year-old native of Norway took sharp issue with what he appears to regard as dogmatism by the organization on the subject of climate change.

"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?" he wrote.

"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."

Giaever was co-winner with Leo Esaki and Brian Josephson of the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1973 "for their discoveries regarding funneling phenomena in solids." Giaever's share of the prize was specifically for his discoveries in funneling in superconductors. The award was based on his research at General Electric in 1960.

Born in Bergen, Norway in 1929, Giaever earned a degree in mechanical engineering from the Norwegian Institute of Technology in 1952. He moved to Canada in 1954 and was employed by the Canadian division of General Electric. He relocated to the United States and in 1958 joined GE's Research and Development Center in Schenectady, New York. He has lived in Niskayuna, New York, ever since and became a U.S. citizen in 1964. He earned his Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytech Institute in 1964 and is a professor emeritus at the Institute. He is also professor-at-large at the University of Oslo, and the president of Applied Biophysics.

Giaever was among the prominent 400 scientists cited in the 2007 Minority Report of the U.S. Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works as dissenters from the conclusion that man-made climate change threatens the world with environmental disaster. The report was updated in 2009 to include 700 scientists. Giaever was also one of 100 signers of a March 30, 2009 letter to President Obama expressing disagreement with the President's stand on global warming. According to a Wall Street Journal article, Giaever, calling himself "a skeptic," declared in 2008 that "global warming has become a new religion.

"We frequently hear about the number of scientists who support it," he said at the time. "But the number is not important: only whether they are correct is important. We don't really know what the actual effect on the global temperature is. There are better ways to spend the money." He described himself in that interview as inclined by age, experience, and the land of his birth to be skeptical over apocalyptic pronouncements about the global warming phenomenon.

"I am Norwegian — should I really worry about a little bit of warming?" he asked. "I am unfortunately becoming an old man. We have heard many similar warnings about the acid rain 30 years ago and the ozone hole 10 years ago or deforestation but ... humanity is still around. The ozone hole width has peaked in 1993," he said.

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