Semantic battle among physicists forces a restatement of their stance on climate change
Semantics is very important in science and I agree that the 2007 version was non-scientific:
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.
The key here is ‘incontrovertible’. Very little is such in science and to have an official statement representing a huge body of scientists use that word is rather offensive. Though physicists sometimes bandy about Einstein’s equations using such verbiage, they all know that doing so is a lazy approximation and is fine only in casual conversation. When they stand up to give presentations or write papers they get a lot more conservative and sprinkle caveats all over their statements. The person behind the change in verbiage, Dr. Steven E. Koonin, wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal (which, naturally, was controversial in itself since the WSJ has regularly been critical of climate science) where he basically laments the crappy state of the science of climate science and how both sides (‘denalists’ and what I term ‘end-of-the-world-ists’) have left no room for actual scientific discussion. As I talk about many times I have many of the exact same complaints about the science of climate science (I even talk about it here, toward the end) and while I seem to have missed Koonin’s original essay by a number of months, I do agree with his sentiment and so want to promulgate it to the extent my poor blog is capable of.