The 30,000 Global Warming Petition is Easily-Debunked Propaganda

Wed, 2009-07-22 13:34Kevin Grandia
Kevin Grandia's picture

The 30,000 Global Warming Petition is Easily-Debunked Propaganda

30,000 global warming petition project

To say that the oft-touted “30,000 Global Warming Petition” project stinks would be an understatement.

I thought it would be timely to once-again breakdown this flawed piece of global warming denier propaganda after it was mentioned last night in Daily Show host Jon Stewart’s interview with US Energy Secretary of Energy, Dr. Stephen Chu.

.1% of Signers Have a Background in Climatology

The Petition Project website offers a breakdown of the areas of expertise for those who have signed the petition.

In the realm of climate science it breaks it breaks down as such:

Atmospheric Science (113)

Climatology (39)

Meteorology (341)

Astronomy (59)

Astrophysics (26)

So only .1% of the individuals on the list of 30,000 signatures have a scientific background in Climatology. To be fair we can add in those who claim to have a background in Atmospheric Science, which brings the total percentage of signatories with a background in climate change science to a whopping .5%.

The page does not break out the names of those who do claim to be experts in Climatology and Atmospheric Science, which makes even that .5% questionable [see my section on ‘unverifiable mess” below].

This makes an already questionable list seem completely insignificant given the nature of scientific endeavor.

When I think I’m having chest pains I don’t go to Dermatologist, I go to a Cardiologist because it would be absurd to go to skin doctor for a heart problem. It would be equally absurd to look to a scientist with a background in Medicine (of which there are 3,046 on the petition) for an expert opinion on the science of climate change. With science broken down into very narrow specialties a scientific expert in one specialty does not make that person an automatic authority in all things science.

In this way the logic of the 30,000 petition is completely flawed, which isn’t surprising given its questionable beginnings.

The Petition’s Sordid Beginnings

The petition first emerged in April 1998 and was organized by Art Robinson of the self-proclaimed “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine” (OISM) [their headquarters are the Photo Inset].

Along with the Exxon-backed George C. Marshall Institute, Robinson’s group co-published the infamous “Oregon Petition” claiming to have collected 17,000 signatories to a document arguing against the realities of global warming.

The petition and the documents included were all made to look like official papers from the prestigious National Academy of Science. They weren’t, and this attempt to mislead has been well-documented.

Along with the petition there was a cover letter from Dr. Fred Seitz (who has since deceased) a notorious climate change denier (and big tobacco scientist), who over 30 years ago was the president of the National Academy of Science.

Also attached to the petition was an apparent “research paper” titled: Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide. The paper was made to mimic what a research paper would look like in the National Academy’s prestigious Proceedings of the National Academy journal. The authors of the paper were Robinson, Sallie Baliunas, Willie Soon (both oil-backed scientists) and Robinson’s son Zachary. With the signature of a former NAS president and a research paper that appeared to be published in one of the most prestigious science journals in the world, many scientists were duped into signing a petition based on a false impression.

The petition was so misleading that the National Academy issued a news release stating: “The petition project was a deliberate attempt to mislead scientists and to rally them in an attempt to undermine support for the Kyoto Protocol. The petition was not based on a review of the science of global climate change, nor were its signers experts in the field of climate science.”

An Unverifiable Mess

Time and time again, I have had emails from researchers who have taken random samples of names from the list and Google searched them for more information. I urge others to do the same. What you’ll quickly find is either no information, very little information or information substantiating the fact that the vast majority of signers are completely unqualified in the area of climate change science.

For example,

“Munawwar M. Akhtar” - no info other than the fact that he is a signatory on the petition.

“Fred A. Allehoff”  - no info other than the fact that he is a signatory on the petition.

“Ernest J. Andberg” - no info other than the fact that he is a signatory on the petition.

“Joseph J. Arx” - no info other than the fact that he is a signatory on the petition.

“Adolph L. Amundson” - a paper by Amundson on the “London Tunnel Water Treatment System Acid Mine Drainage.” [PDF]

“Henry W. Apfelbach” - an Orthopedic Surgeon

“Joe R. Arechavaleta” - runs an Architect and Engineering company.

And this is only names I picked in the “A’s.” I could go on, but you get my point. The list is very difficult to verify as a third-party, but this hasn’t stopped the Petition from bouncing around the internet and showing up in mainstream media.

Given all this it seems to me that anyone touting this as proof that “global warming is a hoax” completley misunderstands the process of scientific endeavor or has completely exhausted any real argument that rightfully brings into to doubt the reality of climate change.

Or, then again, they could just be in it for the money.

Comments

So we aren't talking about 30,000 climate experts but it seems we are talking about a large number of well educated individuals.

So then - it's not just the high school dropout slack-jaws who smell something fishy about the predictions of AGW waterworld catastrophe.

As if education adds credibility. Like the well educated guys who brought us credit default swaps. And eugenics. And aparthied. And mustard gas. And Intelligent Design. No, education has never prevented anyone from being willfully blind, or selfish or corrupt.

John Lefebvre says:

"No, education has never prevented anyone from being willfully blind, or selfish or corrupt."

That is a double edged sword John. It cuts both ways.

when it pertains. I take it you imply climate scientists who see human activity warming the climate are corrupt or selfish? At least they are doing science not bullshit PR.
If an “educated guess” is your threshold for scientific fact, then I have a UFO to sell you.

deleted

Yet another Problem with the Petition Project is the Science – A complete lack of objective science! Plenty of faux-science, presented as genuine science.

For newcomers to DeSmogBlog who believe that the supporting document “Environmental Effects of Carbon Dioxide” is the killer blow to AGW and climate science, I have news for you – it isn't!

For details, see:
Google RC Wiki OISM

-----------

Don't forget:
a) That the document was funded by ExxonMobil and the George C Marshall Institute [also funded by ExxonMobil]

b) None of the authors has any climatology qualifications. And it shows, because of basic errors made. See RC Wiki OISM

c) That the document was carefully formatted to imitate the National Academy of Sciences' format. This resulted in an unprecedented press release from the NAS.

d) That the document was published in JPANDS. The executive director of Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons [JPANDS], Jane Orient, is a Clinical Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Professor of Medicine for the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. [From Rabett Run] http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/10/before-there-was-e-there-was-jpands.html

-----------

“STATEMENT BY THE COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
REGARDING GLOBAL CHANGE PETITION

April 20, 1998

The Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is concerned about the confusion caused by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy. This petition criticizes the science underlying the Kyoto treaty on carbon dioxide emissions (the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and it asks scientists to recommend rejection of this treaty by the U.S. Senate. The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 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.

The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.

In particular, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a major consensus study on this issue, entitled Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1991,1992). This analysis concluded 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 addition, theCommittee on Global Change Research of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the NAS and the NAE, will issue a major report later this spring on the research issues that can help to reduce the scientific uncertainties associated with global change phenomena, including climate change. ”

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=s04201998

Apostrophe not working! [created in another application]

"considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena"

"greenhouse warming poses a potential threat"

"Investment in mitigation measures ... against the great uncertainties"

I don't know how much weight to give this, but why didn't they just say science is settled and disaster awaits?

My random picks from this list googled empty. No data. Most of the people I know google with some accomplishment, professional employment, hobby.
I did check one guy with an unusual name of 411 -- he had an address listing as a warehouse owner. Educated? Who knows?
I wonder where these names came from. Who would sign an obscure petition about subject they have little familiarity with?
It would be an interesting experiment to call some names and random and ask if or why they signed the petition.

My random picks from this list googled empty. No data. Most of the people I know google with some accomplishment, professional employment, hobby.
I did check one guy with an unusual name of 411 -- he had an address listing as a warehouse owner. Educated? Who knows?
I wonder where these names came from. Who would sign an obscure petition about subject they have little familiarity with?
It would be an interesting experiment to call some names and random and ask if or why they signed the petition.

Kevin...

Im not sure where I saw it — it might have been More Grumbine Science — but it was a brilliant analysis of the Petition Project.

In a nutshell — lets say that we allow their 30,000 signatures to stand unchallenged. Even if more than 3,000 doctors and engineers signed the petition that would mean that 99.7 percent of all physicians practicing in the US didn't sign the petition, and 99.2 percent of US engineers didn't sign.

By every measure, the petition is a fraud and a deception! That it still has life blows me away.

It does sound like my note Petitioning on climate 1.

Many people have divided up the question in different ways, including my part 2 note where I looked specifically at Fellows of the American Geophysical Union. (0 of N, where N is however far I got -- A, B, and the most recent years' fellows.)

It turned out that I was overly generous on the doctors and engineering. In doing my look, I was comparing the 16,000 people with engineering degrees who signed against the 2 million people who are currently working in engineering. But many people get degrees in one field and work somewhere else. If one takes the NSF figures for number who ever got degrees in the areas the OISM accepts, the 0.8% of engineers drops even farther. Also, unlike the OISM, I didn't count dead people as being eligible.

We did a story on these folks late last year, and had a little fun with it. I posted the video here:
http://wildwildweather.com/forecastblog/2009/07/oregon-institute-of-science-and-doctor-strangelove/

There are probably not 30000 climatologists in the world. It is a very new academic discipline and very general in scope. Gavin Schmidt, James Hansen, Stefan Rahmstorf, Michael Mann etc. etc. etc. are not climatologists. They are scientists in their own disciplines (computer modelling and dendrochronolgy) that study climate. Less than 1% of the IPCC 2500 brave and strong are qualified climatologists. The head of the IPCC is an economist (take note Mitchell the next time you slam Alan Carlin).

This may be of interest for you:

http://www.usq.edu.au/resources/09feb.pdf

The world's first Bachelor in Climatology (The year? 2000)

Get over this climatologist thing. It is about as red herring as you can get.

This comment is unbelievably lame.

Mann, Hansen, et.al are climatologists by virtue of the fact that they work in climate science, conduct sustained research in various areas related to climate science, and then publish their findings in peer-reviewed science journals dedicated to climate science.

Thats the measure of the profession. Nothing else counts. And by this measure, you have maybe one or two climate scientists the world over who support YOUR unscientific position.

Examining the Scientific Consensus on Climate Change - Doran and Zimmerman

“With 3146 individuals completing the survey, the participant response rate for the survey was 30.7%..,
Approximately 5% of the respondents were climate scientists, and 8.5% of the respondents indicated that more than 50% of their peer-reviewed publications in the past 5 years have been on the subject of climate change.
While respondents’ names are kept private, the authors noted that the survey included participants with well documented dissenting opinions on global warming theory.”

http://tigger.uic.edu/~pdoran/012009_Doran_final.pdf

Yet more problems with the Petition Project include the Science – A complete lack of objective science! Plenty of faux-science, presented as genuine science.

For newcomers to DeSmogBlog who believe that the supporting document “Environmental Effects of Carbon Dioxide” is the killer blow to AGW and climate science, I have news for you – it isn't!

For details, see:
RC Wiki OISM
http://www.realclimate.org/wiki/index.php?title=OISM
-----------

Don't forget:
a) That the document was funded by ExxonMobil and the George C Marshall Institute [also funded by ExxonMobil]

b) None of the authors has any climatology qualifications. And it shows, because of basic errors made. See RC Wiki OISM

c) That the document was carefully formatted to imitate the National Academy of Sciences' format. This resulted in an unprecedented press release from the NAS. [see below]

d) That the document was published in JPANDS. The executive director of Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons [JPANDS], Jane Orient, is a Clinical Lecturer in Medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson, and Professor of Medicine for the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. [From Rabett Run] http://rabett.blogspot.com/2007/10/before-there-was-e-there-was-jpands.html

-----------

“STATEMENT BY THE COUNCIL
OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES
REGARDING GLOBAL CHANGE PETITION

April 20, 1998

The Council of the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) is concerned about the confusion caused by a petition being circulated via a letter from a former president of this Academy. This petition criticizes the science underlying the Kyoto treaty on carbon dioxide emissions (the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change), and it asks scientists to recommend rejection of this treaty by the U.S. Senate. The petition was mailed with an op-ed article from The Wall Street Journal and a manuscript in a format that is nearly identical to that of scientific articles published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 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.

The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy.

In particular, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted a major consensus study on this issue, entitled Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1991,1992). This analysis concluded 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 addition, theCommittee on Global Change Research of the National Research Council, the operating arm of the NAS and the NAE, will issue a major report later this spring on the research issues that can help to reduce the scientific uncertainties associated with global change phenomena, including climate change. ”

http://www8.nationalacademies.org/onpinews/newsitem.aspx?RecordID=s04201998

Apostrophe not working! [created in another application]

In particular, the Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering (NAE), and the Institute of Medicine (IOM) conducted .....

funny you should bring up dermatologists..perhaps they are part of the Inst. of Medicine. I could be wrong and the Inst. of Med are really physicians who just deal with temperatures..after all "the earth does have a fever". now the nae is another story..surely engineers know nothing about the science behind climatology. (except of course your UN guru- what kind of engineer is he again?). in fact how is there even a Comm on Science, engineering and public policy when they are not even linked to one another (that was sarcasm cc..i know you struggle sometimes). kevin, you go to a cardiologist when having chest pains. he puts you on a pacemaker b/c an engineer has figured out how to stimulate your heart properly. if you went to a cardiologist and there were no engineers, the cardiologist would tell you of an irregular heartbeat and say sorry there is nothing we can do.really an absurd arguement... keep talking about the money and remember: "The US Government has spent more than $79 billion of taxpayers’ money since 1989 on policies related to climate change, including science and technology research, blah blah blah and you know where this came from so i leave out the note peace, rich

Funded by ExxonMobil... there is quite a contradiction between their actions and the petition.
George J Foreman

39 divided by 30,000 is .0013, rounded to .001, which is 0.1%

Please correct.

152 divided by 30,000 is .005, which is 0.5%

Good eye. Still insignificantly small numbers.

I suffer from Old Engineers' Disease. I can't help myself and my doctor says that it's incurable. It's kind of like Legionaires' Disease, noone knows the cause.

This petition is SO last century! Why even bother with it, Kevin? Anyone who is still holding this up as valid was left at the station a very long time ago. What nonsense!

I do not trust the Gov't to do it -- and I have good reason.

#1 Politicians create the Business Cycle (Profit Occilators) -- in essence by over-throwing consumer-will.
---Corporate Revenue Stream (where profits come from): 1) Consumers-who-Purchase, 2) Consumers-who-Invest, and 3) Gov't Subsidization (includes: Tax Breaks, Fiat Credit, Regulatory Advantages, and Bailouts)

#2 Al Gore (his father too) - "W" (his father too) - Clinton(s) - Obama - Barney Frank - Most all Democrats and Republicans (et al) have voted for Patriot Act, Big Factory Famer Subsidies, Big Oil Subdization, Big Chemical (Monsanto) Subsidization, Big GMO Seed Production (Monsanto), Big Coal Production, Foreign Military Construction (Expansionism), Big Mining, HUGE Gov't Contracts (Blackwater - et al).
---All of them voted in favor of the above over their entire career

Consumers are 2/3 of the equation (as it relates to profit) but we are not organized as such -- "They" have us organized in various groups (perpetual war).

We vote (perpetual war) and We lobby (perpetual war) -- Yet what we want (both sides "right civilians" and "left civilians") are ABSOLUTE victories on Single-Stance Issues: Abortion, Climate, Security, Universal Healthcare etc etc.

Perpetual War (by way of Voting and Lobbying) IS THE PROFIT DRIVER for Politicians -- it's what guarantees their job-budget-tenure; the latter leading to lobbying career (big money).

If the politician drives the b-cycle (by over-riding consumer-will) and WE drive political-profit-driver, then how can we expect a positive outcome?

Go read Einstein's definition of Insanity.

You cannot Vote or Lobby (to abdicate or steal self-rule) against other groups and EVER expect lasting victory -- Only greater Inflation by-way of Artificial Business Cycle (profit occilators).

In a "Free-Society" (ZERO Abdication Society) it is the role of the Consumer to dictate political direction -- We vote with our dollars.

Imagine if We:

1) Bought only Local Organic and Free-Range Foods -- what effect would that have on Factory Farming and Monsanto?

2) Bought only Local Products and Services (where possible) -- What does that do to Big Corporation (who is always lobbying to over-ride your daily-dollar-vote)

3) Worked ONLY under-the-table and Hired ONLY under-the-table

Would these things break the backs of the Corporatist who Lobby the Votes of Politicians -- the same people you want to put in charge of Global Warming -- the same folks who voted all Big Polluter Bills into creation in the first place?

Hahahahahahahahahaha

Octobox

Anyone who believes Al Gore over someone who knows about climate/biology ect is an idiot, I know all you sheeple out there love to believe everything you see on TV but come on, do you really trust the Government and that douche bag Al Gore to tell you what is true and what isn't? The Government lies about everything, why would we still use fossil fuels if it were really such a big problem? Why would we use nuclear power even though it's the most deadly thing on the planet? You people need to wake up, study history, study science, even the man who founded the weather channel said it's bullshit for God sake.

If there is a way to make money then the Government will try it, we are billions of dollars in debt but we started a never ending war and just recently probably another, does anyone else see this as illogical? While the bankers and CEOs and politicians laugh all the way to the bank we sit and bicker over something we can't prove or disprove ourselves.

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