the polar bear climate change photo

Started Mar 24, 2007 | Discussions thread
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Re: Debunking the "Petititon Project" II


Because of various criticisms made of the two Leipzig Declarations, the Oregon Petition Project claimed to adopt a number of measures, though none of these claims have been independently verified:

  • The petitioners could submit responses only by physical mail, not electronic mail, to limit fraud. Older signatures submitted via the web were not removed. The verification of the scientists is listed at 95%,[9] but the means by which this verification was done is not specified.

  • Signatories to the petition were requested to list an academic degree; 86% did list a degree. The petition sponsors stated that approximately two thirds held higher degrees, but provided no details confirming this claim.

  • Petitioners were also requested to list their academic discipline. The petition sponsors state that 2,660 scientists were trained in physical or environmental sciences (physics, geophysics, climatology, meteorology, oceanography, or environmental science) while 25% were trained in chemistry, biochemistry, biology, or other life sciences.[10]

  • The Petition Project itself avoided any funding or association with the energy industries. A few of the scientists who signed the petition are affiliated with organizations funded by groups such as Exxon or the Competitive Enterprise Institute's Myron Ebell and the Cooler Heads Coalition's Patrick Michaels.

The term "scientists" is often used in describing signatories. The petition requests signatories list their degree (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.) and to list their scientific field.[11] The distribution of petitions was relatively uncontrolled: those receiving the petition could check a line that said "send more petition cards for me to distribute".

The Petition Project itself states:

“ Of the 19,700 signatures that the project has received in total so far, 17,800 have been independently verified and the other 1,900 have not yet been independently verified. Of those signers holding the degree of PhD, 95% have now been independently verified. One name that was sent in by enviro pranksters, Geri Halliwell, PhD, has been eliminated. Several names, such as Perry Mason and Robert Byrd are still on the list even though enviro press reports have ridiculed their identity with the names of famous personalities. They are actual signers. Perry Mason, for example, is a PhD Chemist.[12] ”

In 2005, Scientific American reported:

“ Scientific American took a sample of 30 of the 1,400* signatories claiming to hold a Ph.D. in a climate-related science. Of the 26 we were able to identify in various databases, 11 said they still agreed with the petition —- one was an active climate researcher, two others had relevant expertise, and eight signed based on an informal evaluation. Six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer repeated messages. Crudely extrapolating, the petition supporters include a core of about 200 climate researchers – a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community.[13] ”

One newspaper reporter said, in 2005:

“ In less than 10 minutes of casual scanning, I found duplicate names (Did two Joe R. Eaglemans and two David Tompkins sign the petition, or were some individuals counted twice?), single names without even an initial (Biolchini), corporate names (Graybeal & Sayre, Inc. How does a business sign a petition?), and an apparently phony single name (Redwine, Ph.D.). These examples underscore a major weakness of the list: there is no way to check the authenticity of the names. Names are given, but no identifying information (e.g., institutional affiliation) is provided. Why the lack of transparency?[14]


The petititon project is in fact an extremely dishonest group that seeks to claim that a real debate is still in progress. It is not - At least on the question of whether there is global warming and whther this global warming is caused bty human activity. The real debate that is going on is the EXTENT of the coming catastrophe.


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