A growing list of 31,487 U.S. scientists (and counting) has signed a petition strongly rejecting as unproven the hypothesis of man-made global warming or climate change. These signers include four NASA astronauts, at least two Nobel Prize winning physicists, 9,029 Ph.D.s and some of the nation’s top climatologists. Only U.S. scientists are included in this particular petition. Only relevant scientific fields are included.
Ball-and-stick model of carbon dioxide (By Jynto [CC0], via Wikimedia Commons)
The “Global Warming Petition Project” includes a dramatically strong statement to which 31,487 scientists have already signed their names:
There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the foreseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments of the Earth.
This is very strong statement. A vastly larger number of signers would sign a less-dramatic, less-controversial petition statement. Other scientists would only want to say that they remain undecided and are not part of the fabled “consensus.”
Similarly, most scientists would be discouraged from stating that increased carbon dioxide is actually beneficial to the climate. Therefore, most scientists who do not count themselves among the fabled “consensus” would not go so far as to sign this particular petition.
The petition includes the further statement, which relatively few scientists would sign on to, even if they reject a consensus on climate change. Most scientists would prefer to state that they do not know one way or the other:
We urge the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals. The proposed limits would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.
The project website explains the project as follows:
These scientists are instead convinced that the human-caused global warming hypothesis is without scientific validity and that government action on the basis of this hypothesis would unnecessarily and counterproductively damage both human prosperity and the natural environment of the Earth.
The project website states:
Realizing, from discussions with their scientific colleagues, that this claimed ‘consensus’ does not exist, a group of scientists initiated the Petition Project in early 1998.
The project explains:
The purpose of the Petition Project is to demonstrate that the claim of ‘settled science’ and an overwhelming ‘consensus’ in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming and consequent climatological damage is wrong. No such consensus or settled science exists. As indicated by the petition text and signatory list, a very large number of American scientists reject this hypothesis.
The project website further explains:
In PhD scientist signers alone, the project already includes 15-times more scientists than are seriously involved in the United Nations IPCC process. The very large number of petition signers demonstrates that, if there is a consensus among American scientists, it is in opposition to the human-caused global warming hypothesis rather than in favor of it.
The hypothesis of man-made global warming is particularly controversial because there have never been any empirical experiments testing the effect of carbon dioxide in the open atmosphere. The hypothesis rests exclusively on computer models. Models are created by humans and merely reflect the assumptions and biases of the humans who create them. The only test of such models is whether they predict accurately future events. However, climate change models consistently fail to predict real-world temperatures. A real scientist would reject models that fail that acid test.
Although it is observed in the laboratory that CO2 absorbs and holds heat, how CO2 behaves in the open atmosphere in a planet-wide climactic system cannot be tested. One challenge is that atmospheric gases circulate freely. The air containing minor traces of CO2 can easily soar many miles up to high altitudes, where the thin air can radiate heat into outer space.
Earth’s orbit with 0.5 eccentricity. Although Earth’s orbit is never this eccentric, the illustration indicates the potential long-term effects on earth’s temperatures (By NASA, Mysid [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)
Another challenge is that researchers must distinguish any effects resulting from CO2 as opposed to natural climate cycles caused by variations in the Earth’s orbit around the sun. The Earth’s orbit changes from egg-shaped to nearly circular and back again due to the gravitational pull of the other planets. These overlapping Malkinovitch cycles affect the Earth’s climate over tens of thousands and hundreds of thousands of years, causing periodic ice ages. The Earth’s temperature has changed over geologic history due to orbital variations affecting the distance to the sun throughout the year.
Science, of course, was effectively established by the “scientific method” popularized by Sir Francis Bacon in Bacon’s 1620 book Novum Organum. (Bacon rejected the thought experiment methods from Aristotle’s Organum, which today’s post-modern scientists have returned to.) The scientific method mandates that every hypothesis must be tested and proven by empirical experiments, and those experiments must be repeated and reproduced by many independent, unrelated teams of unbiased researchers under varying conditions in different locations.
Readers may recall “cold fusion.” Researchers at the University of Utah claimed to have discovered techniques for conducting nuclear fusion—the immensely-powerful nuclear engine that powers the sun—at room temperatures. This would have revolutionized human life everywhere. But the Fleischmann–Pons experiment could not be reproduced by other researchers. Even convincing scientific experimental results are not valid until replicated by independent teams.
The petition project was started by Frederick Seitz, Past President of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences and President Emeritus of Rockefeller University, and a former director of the atomic energy training program at Oak Ridge (Tenn.) National Laboratory, and former physics teacher at a number of top universities (now deceased).
Despite the death of its founder, the project drive is continuing to add names. However, a limited budget restricts how fast and thoroughly the petition list can grow.
Moreover, the current totals of 31,487 signers, including 9,029 PhDs, are limited only by Petition Project resources. With more funds for printing and postage, these numbers would be much higher.
A 12-page review article about the human-caused global warming hypothesis is circulated with the petition.
New signatures are being collected by successors here.