the polar bear climate change photo

Started Mar 24, 2007 | Discussions thread
Chato Forum Pro • Posts: 46,791
Debunking the "Petititon Project" 1

The Oregon Petition is the name commonly given to a petition opposed to the Kyoto protocol, organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) between 1999 and 2001, shortly before the United States was expected to ratify the protocol. Professor Frederick Seitz, the past President of the National Academy of Sciences, wrote a cover letter endorsing the petition.

The Oregon Petition was the third, and by the far the largest, of five prominent efforts intended to show that a "scientific consensus" does not exist on the subject of global warming. The petition site asserts that total number of independently verified signatures received is 17,800.[1]


The text of the petition (which was on a reply card) reads, in its entirety:[2]

“ We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.

There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gasses is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.

The text of the petition is often misrepresented: for example, the petition's website states that "scientists declare that global warming is a lie with no scientific basis."[3] The two-paragraph petition used the terms catastrophic heating and disruption , not "global warming." The article attached to the petition (see below) did mention "global warming" twenty-one times and "climate change" four times.[4]

[edit] Covering letter and attached article

The petition had a covering letter from Frederick Seitz, who identified himself as "Past President, National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A.; President Emeritus, Rockefeller University", and an attached article. The six paragraph letter said that the attached article was "an eight page review of information on the subject of 'global warming'."[5]

The senior author of the article was Dr. Arthur B. Robinson, a biochemist. The second and third authors were Drs. Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. Both Baliunas and Soon have ties to the George C. Marshall Institute, which has taken a skeptical position on global warming since the 1980s. The fourth and final author was Zachary W. Robinson, Arthur Robinson's 22-year-old son.

The article that accompanied the petition was written in the style and format of a contribution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal.[6] Raymond Pierrehumbert, an atmospheric chemist at the University of Chicago, and (now) member of RealClimate, said that it was "designed to be deceptive by giving people the impression that the article…is a reprint and has passed peer review." Pierrehumbert also said the article was full of "half-truths". F. Sherwood Rowland, who was at the time foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, said that the Academy received numerous inquiries from researchers who "are wondering if someone is trying to hoodwink them."[7]

Among other things, the article states that "over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly" and says that this was based on comparison of satellite data (for 1979-1997) and balloon data from 1979-96. At the time the petition was written, this was unclear. Since then the satellite record has been revised, and shows warming. (See historical temperature record and satellite temperature measurements.)

After the petition appeared, the National Academy of Sciences said in news release that "The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal." It also said "The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy."

The NAS further noted that its own prior published study had shown that "even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises."[8]

Post (hide subjects) Posted by
(unknown member)
(unknown member)
Keyboard shortcuts:
FForum PPrevious NNext WNext unread UUpvote SSubscribe RReply QQuote BBookmark MMy threads
Color scheme? Blue / Yellow