Re: [asa] 31,000 scientists against global warming.

From: Rich Blinne <>
Date: Fri Dec 04 2009 - 15:39:57 EST

On Fri, Dec 4, 2009 at 11:38 AM, gordon brown <>wrote:

> On Fri, 4 Dec 2009, John Walley wrote:
> I saw a news clip of some reporter at a White House news briefing asking a
>> question about Climategate and the response was that they were sticking with
>> the scientists and that there were 6000 scientists who believed that AGW was
>> real. The reporter immediately responded that there were 31,000 scientists
>> against AGW and 9000 of them with PhD's.
> This reminds me of YEC propaganda. Don't say what kind of scientists these
> are, and don't say what fields the Ph.D.s are in, and expect the audience
> will be too impressed to ask such questions. I think it is significant that
> only 9000 of the 31,000 have Ph.D.s. It is inconceivable to me that more
> than a tiny fraction of any set of 31,000 scientists are qualified to decide
> the AGW issue.
> Gordon Brown (ASA member)

The credentials are self reported so who really knows. The 6000 most likely
refers to a 2009 American Geophysical Union poll of their members. Amongst
their members who published peer reviewed articles in climatology 97% stated
that anthropogenic global warming was real. The self-selected,
self-reporting is only part of the methodological problems with the 31,000
poll. The biggest problem -- and this gets back to the issue of scientific
misconduct -- is that it was a push poll.

The petition in question was circulated in April 1998 in a bulk mailing to
tens of thousands of U.S. scientists. In addition to the petition, the
mailing included what appeared to be a reprint of a scientific paper.
Authored by Arthur B. Robinson, Sallie L. Baliunas, Willie Soon, (Do these
names sound familiar? Hmm? BTW, the Marshall Institute member who stated
that CFCs didn't cause the ozone hole in her 1995 Congressional testimony
was, you guessed it, Sallie Baliunus.) and Zachary W. Robinson. The paper
was titled "Environmental Effects of Increased Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide"
and was printed in the same typeface and format of the official Proceedings
of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS). The current e-mails where the
climate scientists threatened a boycott of a journal was about Baliunus and
Soon and any discussion of the e-mails should be in the context here of them
abusing the credibility of the NAS' peer-reviewed journal. Also included was
a reprint of a December 1997, Wall Street Journal editorial, "Science Has
Spoken: Global Warming Is a Myth", by Arthur and Zachary Robinson. A cover
note signed "Frederick Seitz/Past President, National Academy of Sciences,
U.S.A./President Emeritus, Rockefeller University", may have also given some
persons the impression that Robinson's paper was an official publication of
the NAS' peer-reviewed journal.

Robinson et al claimed to show that pumping carbon dioxide into the
atmosphere is actually a good thing. "As atmospheric CO2 increases," it
stated, "plant growth rates increase. Also, leaves lose less water as CO2
increases, so that plants are able to grow under drier conditions. Animal
life, which depends upon plant life for food, increases proportionally."
As a result, Robinson concluded:

"As coal, oil, and natural gas are used to feed and lift from poverty vast
numbers of people across the globe, more CO2 will be released into the
atmosphere. This will help to maintain and improve the health, longevity,
prosperity, and productivity of all people.Human activities are believed to
be responsible for the rise in CO2 level of the atmosphere. Mankind is
moving the carbon in coal, oil, and natural gas from below ground to the
atmosphere and surface, where it is available for conversion into living
things. We are living in an increasingly lush environment of plants and
animals as a result of the CO2 increase. Our children will enjoy an Earth
with far more plant and animal life as that with which we now are blessed.
This is a wonderful and unexpected gift from the Industrial Revolution."

The NAS responded as follows:


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

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,
the Committee 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.


*Bruce Alberts* *(president)*
National Academy of Sciences
Washington, D.C.

*Jack Halpern* *(vice president)*
Louis Block Distinguished Professor Emeritus
Department of Chemistry
University of Chicago

*Peter H. Raven* *(home secretary)*
Missouri Botanical Garden
St. Louis

*F. Sherwood Rowland* *(foreign secretary)*
Donald Bren Research Professor of Chemistry and Earth System Science
Department of Chemistry
University of California

*Ronald L. Graham* *(treasurer)*
Chief Scientist
AT&T Laboratories
Florham Park, N.J.

*Mary Ellen Avery*
Professor of Pediatrics
Harvard Medical School

*Ralph J. Cicerone*
Dean, School of Physical Sciences, and
Daniel G. Aldrich Professor of Earth System Science
Department of Earth System Science
University of California

*Edward E. David Jr.*(1)
EED Inc.
Bedminster, N.J.

*Marye Anne Fox*
North Carolina State University, and
Vice President for Research and M. June
and J. Virgil Waggoner Regents Chair in Chemistry
Department of Chemistry
University of Texas

*Ralph E. Gomory*(2)
Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
New York City

*David M. Kipnis*
Distinguished University Professor
Department of Internal Medicine
Washington University School of Medicine
St. Louis

*Daniel E. Koshland Jr.*
Professor in the Graduate School
Department of Molecular and Cell Biology
University of California

*Mary-Lou Pardue*
Boris Magasanik Professor
Department of Biology
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*Luis Sequeira*
J.C. Walker Professor Emeritus
Department of Plant Pathology
University of Wisconsin

*I.M. Singer*
Institute Professor
Department of Mathematics
Massachusetts Institute of Technology

*Robert H. Wurtz*
Laboratory of Sensorimotor Research
National Eye Institute
National Institutes of Health
Bethesda, Md.

*Richard N. Zare*
Marguerite Blake Wilbur Professor
Department of Chemistry
Stanford University
Stanford, Calif.

(1) abstained
(2) unable to participate

There's also a bunch of clearly bogus names such as all of the characters of
TV show M*A*S*H. Geraldine Halliwell, formerly known as pop singer Ginger
Spice of the Spice Girls was also in the petition. Halliwell's field of
scientific specialization was listed as "biology."

Scientific American said the following about this in 2006:

Many conservatives regard the "scientific consensus" about global warming as
a media concoction. After all, didn't 17,100 skeptical scientists sign a
petition circulated in 1998 by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine?
(See and on the World
Wide Web.)

*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. 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.

Rich Blinne

Member ASA

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Received on Fri Dec 4 15:40:11 2009

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