Frequently Asked Questions
1. Is the Petition Project fulfilling expectations?
The project has fulfilled the expectations of its organizers. 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.
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.
2. Has the petition project helped to diminish the threat of energy and technology rationing?
The accomplishments of science and engineering have transformed the world. They have markedly increased the quality, quantity, and length of human life and have enabled human beings to make many improvements in the natural environment of the Earth.
Today, scientists are seeing the accomplishments of science demonized and one of the three most important molecular substances that make life possible – atmospheric carbon dioxide (the other two being oxygen and water) – denigrated as an atmospheric “pollutant” in a widely circulated movie. Scientists who have carefully examined the facts know that this movie contains numerous falsehoods. This and many other similar misguided propaganda efforts in the media, naturally repel men and women who know the truth. The search for truth is the essence of science. When science is misrepresented, scientists are naturally incensed.
There is, therefore, a rapidly growing backlash of opposition among American scientists to this egregious misuse of the reputation and procedures of science. The Petition Project is helping to demonstrate this opposition and, therefore, to reduce the chances of misguided political reductions in science-based technology.
3. Who organized the Petition Project?
The Petition Project was organized by a group of physicists and physical chemists who conduct scientific research at several American scientific institutions. The petition statement and the signatures of its 31,487 signers, however, speak for themselves. The primary relevant role of the organizers is that they are among the 9,029 PhD signers of the petition.
4. Who pays for the Petition Project?
The Petition Project is financed by non-tax deductible donations to the Petition Project from private individuals, many of whom are signers of the petition. The project has no financing whatever from industrial sources. No funds or resources of the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine are used for the Petition Project. The Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine has never received funds or resources from energy industries, and none of the scientists at the Institute have any funding whatever from corporations or institutions involved in hydrocarbon technology or energy production. Donations to the project are primarily used for printing and postage. Most of the labor for the project has been provided by scientist volunteers.
5. Does the petition list contain names other than those of scientist signers?
Opponents of the petition project sometimes submit forged signatures in efforts to discredit the project. Usually, these efforts are eliminated by our verification procedures. On one occasion, a forged signature appeared briefly on the signatory list. It was removed as soon as discovered.
In a group of more than 30,000 people, there are many individuals with names similar or identical to other signatories, or to non-signatories – real or fictional. Opponents of the petition project sometimes use this statistical fact in efforts to discredit the project. For examples, Perry Mason and Michael Fox are scientists who have signed the petition – who happen also to have names identical to fictional or real non-scientists.
6. Does the petition project list contain duplicate names?
Thousands of scientists have signed the petition more than once. These duplicates have been carefully removed from the petition list. The list contains many instances of scientists with closely similar and sometimes identical names, as is statistically expected in a list of this size, but these signers are different people, who live at different addresses, and usually have different fields of specialization. Primarily as a result of name and address variants, occasional duplicate names are found in the list. These are immediately removed.
7. Are any of the listed signers dead?
In a group of more than 30,000 people, deaths are a frequent occurrence. The Petition Project has no comprehensive method by which it is notified about deaths of signatories. When we do learn of a death, an “*” is placed beside the name of the signatory. For examples, Edward Teller, Arnold Beckman, Philip Abelson, William Nierenberg, and Martin Kamen are American scientists who signed the Petition and are now deceased.
8. Why is this effort called “Petition Project?”
Signatories to the petition have signed just the petition – which speaks for itself. The organizers – themselves scientists located at several scientific institutions – have designed the project to emphasize this single fact. The use of a post office box mailing address, a generic name – Petition Project, and other institutionally-neutral aspects of the project are intended to avoid the impression that the signatories have endorsed the agenda or actions of any institution, group, or other activity. They are simply signers of this petition to the government of the United States, as written.
9. Why was the review article published in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons?
The authors chose to submit this article for peer-review and publication by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons because that journal was willing to waive its copyright and permit extensive reproduction and distribution of the article by the Petition Project.
10. Why is the Petition Project necessary?
In December 1997, then U. S. Vice-President Al Gore participated in a meeting in Kyoto, Japan during which he signed a treaty to ration world energy production based upon fear of human-caused global warming. This treaty was not, however, presented to the United States Senate for ratification.
Since before that Kyoto meeting and continuing to the present day, Mr. Gore and his supporters at the United Nations and elsewhere have claimed that the “science is settled” – that an overwhelming “consensus” of scientists agrees with the hypothesis of human-caused global warming, with only a handful of skeptical scientists in disagreement.
Moreover, for more than 10 years these proponents of world energy rationing have consistently argued that, in view of this claimed scientific “consensus,” no further discussion of the science involved in this issue is warranted before legislative action is taken to heavily tax, regulate, and ration hydrocarbon energy.
Since, however, these claims were not successful in convincing the United States government to initiate energy rationing, the United Nations has held a series of international meetings attended by a central group of about 600 scientists, some additional scientists outside of this group, and a large number of political and bureaucratic representatives – approximately 2,000 in all. The United Nations has also hosted larger meetings, including many non-scientist participants from environmental, business, and political organizations.
During and after each of these meetings, there have been further publicity campaigns claiming that the “science is settled” – that the “consensus” of scientists in favor of the hypothesis of human-caused global warming is so overwhelming that further examination of the science is unnecessary.
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. Thousands of signatures were gathered in a campaign during 1998-1999. Between 1999 and 2007, the list of petition signatories grew gradually, without a special campaign. Between October 2007 and March 2008, a new campaign for signatures was initiated. The majority of the current listed signatories signed or re-signed the petition after October 2007. The original review article that accompanied the petition effort in 1998-1999 was replaced in October 2007 with a new review incorporating the research literature up to that date.
The renewed petition campaign in 2007 was prompted by an escalation of the claims of “consensus,” release of the movie “An Inconvenient Truth” by Mr. Al Gore, and related events. Mr. Gore’s movie, asserting a “consensus” and “settled science” in agreement about human-caused global warming, conveyed the claims about human-caused global warming to ordinary movie goers and to public school children, to whom the film was widely distributed. Unfortunately, Mr. Gore’s movie contains many very serious incorrect claims, which no informed, honest scientist could endorse.
The campaign to severely ration hydrocarbon energy technology has now been markedly expanded. In the course of this campaign, many scientifically invalid claims about impending climate emergencies are being made. Simultaneously, proposed political actions to severely reduce hydrocarbon use now threaten the prosperity of Americans and the very existence of hundreds of millions of people in poorer countries.
As Professor Seitz states, in his Petition Project letter which speaks of this impending threat to all humanity, “It is especially important for America to hear from its citizens who have the training necessary to evaluate the relevant data and offer sound advice.”
The Petition Project is a means by which those citizens are offering that advice.