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The Global Warming Petition Project, originally called the Oregon Petition, is a petition opposing the Kyoto protocols and similar efforts to mitigate climate change. It was organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicinemarker (OISM), a non-profit organisation run by Arthur B. Robinson, between 1999 and 2001 and was circulated again beginning in late 2007. During the former period the United Statesmarker was negotiating with other countries on implementation of the protocol before the Bush administration withdrew from the process in 2001. Former U.S. National Academy of Sciencesmarker President Frederick Seitz wrote a cover letter endorsing the petition.

The Global Warming Petition Project, or Oregon Petition, is the third, and by far the largest, of three prominent efforts to show that a scientific consensus does not exist on the subject of global warming, following the 1992 Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming, and the Leipzig Declaration. The petition site currently lists more than 31,000 signatories.

The petition was circulated again in October 2007.

Text

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

The text of the petition often is misrepresented. For example, until recently the petition's website stated that the petition's signatories "declare that global warming is a lie with no scientific basis whatsoever" and the British newspaper Daily Telegraph reported that the petition "denies that man is responsible for global warming." As seen above, the petition uses the terms catastrophic heating and disruption rather than "global warming."

The original article associated with the petition (see below) defined "global warming" as "severe increases in Earth's atmospheric and surface temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences". This differs from both scientific usage and dictionary definitions, in which "global warming" is an increase in the global mean atmospheric temperature without implying that the increase is "severe" or will have "disastrous environmental consequences."

Covering letter and attached article

The petition had a covering letter from Frederick Seitz, and made reference to his former position as president of the US National Academy of Sciences, accompanied by an attached article supporting the petition. The current version of Seitz's letter describes the article as "a twelve page review of information on the subject of 'global warming'." The article is titled "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide" by Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon.. (One of these earlier petitions and presentation was discussed by Lahsen (2005).

The 1997 version of 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.)

The article followed the identical style and format of a contribution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal, even including a date of publication ("October 26") and volume number ("Vol. 13: 149-164 1999"), but was not actually a publication of the National Academy. Raymond Pierrehumbert, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Chicago, said that the article 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."

After the petition appeared, the National Academy of Sciences said in a 1998 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."

In a 2006 article the magazine Vanity Fair stated: "Today, Seitz admits that 'it was stupid' for the Oregon activists to copy the academy's format. Still, he doesn't understand why the academy felt compelled to disavow the petition, which he continues to cite as proof that it is "not true" there is a scientific consensus on global warming"

As of October 2007, the petition project website includes an article by Arthur Robinson, Noah E. Robinson and Willie Soon, published in 2007 in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons.Noah E. Robinson presented this material at Telecosm 2007 titled "The Global Warming Myth".

Signatories

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 was listed at 95%, but the means by which this verification was done was not specified.
  • Signatories to the petition were requested to list an academic degree. The petition sponsors stated that approximately two thirds held higher degrees. As of 2008, the petition's website states that "The current list of 31,072 petition signers includes 9,021 PhD; 6,961 MS; 2,240 MD and DVM; and 12,850 BS or equivalent academic degrees. Most of the MD and DVM signers also have underlying degrees in basic science."
  • Petitioners were also requested to list their academic discipline. The petition sponsors state the following numbers of individuals from each discipline: 1. Atmospheric, environmental, and Earth sciences: 3,697; 2. Computer and mathematical sciences: 903; 3. Physics and aerospace sciences: 5,691; 4. Chemistry: 4,796; 5. Biology and agriculture: 2,924; 6. Medicine: 3,069; 7. Engineering and general science: 9,992. As of 2007, about 2,400 people in addition to the original 17,100 signatories were "trained in fields other than science or whose field of specialization was not specified on their returned petition."
  • The Petition Project itself avoided any funding or association with the energy industries.


The term "scientists" is often used in describing signatories; however, many of the signatories have degrees in engineering or medicine, including veterinary medicine. 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 used to state:

In May 1998 the Seattle Times wrote:

In 2001, Scientific American reported:

In a 2005 op-ed in the Hawaii Reporter, Todd Shelly wrote:

Updated campaign

In October 2007 a number of individuals reported receiving a package of materials closely similar to the original Oregon Petition mailing. As with the earlier version, it contained a six-paragraph covering note from Frederick Seitz along with a reply card and a supporting article. The text of the position, which as before is on the reply card, is identical to the previous petition. Below the text is a signature line, a set of tick boxes for the signatory to state their academic degree (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.) and field, and another tick box stating "Please send more petition cards for me to distribute." This renewed distribution has continued until at least February 2008.

See also



References

  1. [1] Kyoto Protocol and the United States
  2. Global Warming Petition ProjectPrevious version of page, from archive.org.
  3. Scientists sign petition denying man-made global warming
  4. Climate Change: Discovery of Global Warming
  5. va=global warming - Definition from the Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary
  6. Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide by Arthur B. Robinson, Noah E. Robinson, and Willie Soon. Published in The Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 2007; 12(3), 79.
  7. RealClimate


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