This week the AMS (American Meteorological Society) sent a letter chastising Scott Pruitt for keeping an open mind on the question of man-made global warming/climate change. The letter (here) referred to the AMS institutional statement on the matter, and summarized their position in this paragraph:
In reality, the world’s seven billion people are causing climate to change and our emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are the primary cause. This is a conclusion based on the comprehensive assessment of scientific evidence. It is based on multiple independent lines of evidence that have been affirmed by thousands of independent scientists and numerous scientific institutions around the world. We are not familiar with any scientific institution with relevant subject matter expertise that has reached a different conclusion.
Background on AMS and Climate Science
Firstly, not all the weathermen are contrary to EPA Chief Scott Pruitt. The statement announced in 2012 can only be seen as a Council Statement resulting from a process initiated and controlled by AMS council.
The Council puts out a call for volunteers for the writing teams, and approves the make-up of those teams. A Council member serves as a liaison to the team. The writing team’s initial draft is put out to the entire membership for a comment period. The writing team responds to those comments and executes a redraft. The Council, meeting in person or in teleconference, may make final edits before voting to approve or disapprove the statements. With some over-simplification the process is driven by the AMS Council; the resulting products are Council statements.
Secondly, a subsequent survey showed that the views expressed by the AMS Council have mixed support among AMS members. Respondents numbered 1827 and 52% said “Yes, Most of the warming since 1850 is due to humans.” The other responses included: Insufficient Evidence, Equally Human and Natural, Not Sure It is Happening, and Mostly Natural (in order of frequency). Clearly almost half of the membership sample do not agree with the IPCC position endorsed by AMS Council.
A more recent 2016 survey got a higher number of agreeable members (67%), but it is still the case that 47% of 4092 members contacted did not respond to the questionnaire.
Further, these surveys are now being conducted in the context of the Council already committing the society prior to seeking the views of members. Finally, the whole exercise demonstrates that global warming/climate change is clearly a matter of opinion, not knowledge.
Of course, the questionnaires are superficial and geared to produce a “consensus” support for policy action and for project funding. In depth surveys show much more the complexity of the issues and range of opinions.
Climate Etc. Has several posts going into the details of the AMS maneuvers.
For another assessment including a comment and references by Roger Pielke Sr. See:
AMS Letter to Pruitt,How Ideologues Abuse Power in Professional Associations