Philosophical Multicore

Sometimes controversial, sometimes fallacious, sometimes thought-provoking, and always fun.

Global Warming Petition Project

Posted by Michael Dickens on July 18, 2009

Also known as the Oregon Petition, the Global Warming Petition Project is a misrepresentative attempt to make an appeal to authority. It was a petition sent out to various scientists in an attempt to get some support for the global warming skepticism point of view.

The exact statement was this:

Research Review of Global Warming Evidence

Below is an eight page review of information on the subject of “global warming,” and a petition in the form of a reply card. Please consider these materials carefully.

The United States is very close to adopting an international agreement that would ration the use of energy and of technologies that depend upon coal, oil, and natural gas and some other organic compounds.

This treaty is, in our opinion, based upon flawed ideas. Research data on climate change do not show that human use of hydrocarbons is harmful. To the contrary, there is good evidence that increased atmospheric carbon dioxide is environmentally helpful.

First, let’s look at the wording of this statement. It is widely agreed that increased carbon dioxide provides beneficial effects. But it is also widely agreed that the disasters outweigh the benefits. The statement is also a fairly weak statement, so that all scientists who are on the fence or even leaning a little towards “global warming is real” will still agree with the statement.

The statement was sent to scientists along with a with an attached pseudoscientific paper. The paper was “designed to be deceptive by giving people the impression that the article…is a reprint and has passed peer review.” [1]

“Scientific American took a random 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.” [2] Scientific American extrapolated and concluded that only about 200 climatologists still agreed with the petition; “a respectable number, though rather a small fraction of the climatological community.”

The petition also contains several duplicate names and numerous names of fictitious characters. The fictitious names may be a coincidence, but the duplicate names call into question the credibility of the study.

The Oregon Petition is therefore not a reliable source.

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oregon_Petition
[2] http://web.archive.org/web/20060823125025/http://www.sciam.com/page.cfm?section=sidebar&articleID=0004F43C-DC1A-1C6E-84A9809EC588EF21
[3] http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2004/05/oregonpetition.php
[4] http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/what-if-the-oregon-petition-names-were-real/ (A rebuttal much more detailed than my short little thing, with a multitude of links at the end.)

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One Response to “Global Warming Petition Project”

  1. greenfyre said

    Michael
    Thanks for the mention (Link 4), but a more up to date debunking is here
    http://greenfyre.wordpress.com/2009/07/12/what-if-the-oregon-petition-names-were-real/
    Thanks

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