Oregon Petition doesn't hold water
January 9, 2020
Darned if you do and darned if you don't?
When I first started in this business in the 1970's, I remember an editor proclaiming that one shouldn't add editor's notes to letters to the editor. So, I sometimes let things go that I know are incorrect. In these cases, I hope the readers themselves will police the offense.
This happened last week, and I had a call from a reader; I suggested the caller submit a letter, but, alas, it didn't come.
So, with the help of a family member, here's this about a letter printed last week:
The statement, "largest scientific consensus resides with the 31,000 scientists who have signed on to the petition project launched by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine proclaiming the global warming/climate change/carbon emission movement to be a hoax..." is less factual than polemical and political.
Checking the online encyclopedia, Wikipedia, one finds this: "Oregon Petition-- The Global Warming Petition Project, also known as the Oregon Petition, is a petition urging the United States government to reject the global warming Kyoto Protocol of 1997 and similar policies. Some consider it to be a political petition designed for disinforming and confusing the public about the scientific results and the consensus of climate change research.
"The petition was organized and circulated by Arthur B. Robinson, president of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (described as "a small independent research group") in 1998, and again in 2007. Frederick Seitz, then chairman of the George C. Marshall Institute, wrote a supporting cover letter, signed as "Past President National Academy of Sciences USA, President Emeritus Rockefeller University." In a highly unusual move, the National Academy held a press conference to disclaim the mailing and distance itself from its former president.
"Robinson asserted in 2008 that the petition has over 31,000 signatories, with 9,000 of these holding a PhD degree. Most signatories with a PhD hold their degree in engineering. The 2009 report of the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC)—a group that "disputes the reality of man-made climate change"—lists 31,478 degreed signatories, including 9,029 with PhDs. The list has been criticized for its lack of verification, with pranksters successfully submitting the names of Charles Darwin, a member of the Spice Girls and characters from Star Wars, and getting them briefly included on the list."
If one doesn't trust Wikipedia, one can check with NASA: Scientific Consensus: Earth's Climate is Warming (https://climate.nasa.gov/scientific-consensus/).
Climate change is real.
And as for Greta Thunberg and her sailing across the Atlantic to demonstrate in favor of reduction of carbon dioxide emissions which exacerbate climate change, good for her.