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Updated A heavyweight American boffin has dubbed the global warming movement "the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist", and resigned in protest from the American Physical Society, saying that the society has deliberately stifled debate on the subject.

The prof's resignation letter is quoted in full at the website of the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), the warming-sceptic think tank set up by former UK Chancellor of the Exchequer and energy minister Nigel Lawson. The GWPF, apart from various British politicians, counts among its academic backers the renowned physicist Freeman Dyson.

In the letter, physicist Harold Lewis (emeritus prof at the University of California) writes as follows:

It is of course, the global warming scam, with the (literally) trillions of dollars driving it, that has corrupted so many scientists, and has carried APS [the American Physical Society] before it like a rogue wave. It is the greatest and most successful pseudoscientific fraud I have seen in my long life as a physicist. Anyone who has the faintest doubt that this is so should force himself to read the ClimateGate documents, which lay it bare ... I don't believe that any real physicist, nay scientist, can read that stuff without revulsion. I would almost make that revulsion a definition of the word scientist.

Lewis goes on to describe his and other climate-sceptic physicists' running feud with APS headquarters, in which the sceptics sought to prevent the APS from describing the case for human-driven global warming as "incontrovertible". The professor states that he and other sceptics were repeatedly stifled despite the fact that there were more than enough of them to call for a debate on the matter under the Society's rules: the sceptics weren't even allowed to email other society members.

In Professor Lewis' opinion, physics in particular and science in general has been corrupted on the issue of climate change by the very large amounts of research funding and large numbers of academic jobs which are now completely dependent on global warming being a massive global menace. (As an example, British universities nowadays have on staff lecturers in "Carbon Management", advising us not to wash so much: famous US institutions also have such people.)

Addressing APS President Curtis Callan of Princeton uni, Lewis writes:

Your own Physics Department (of which you are chairman) would lose millions a year if the global warming bubble burst. When Penn State absolved Mike Mann of wrongdoing, and the University of East Anglia did the same for Phil Jones, they cannot have been unaware of the financial penalty for doing otherwise ... I'm not going to explore at just which point enlightened self-interest crosses the line into corruption, but a careful reading of the ClimateGate releases makes it clear that this is not an academic question.

The letter can be read in full courtesy of the GWPF here. We've asked Professor Lewis for any further comment but haven't heard back from him as yet: we'll let you know if there's anything more. ®

Updated to Add

We've now heard back from Professor Lewis, who confirms that the letter is indeed his work and he stands by it.

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