Got a fascinating piece of mail at work today, inviting me to sign a petition urging "the United States government to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan." The petition card further went on to say that "There is no convincing evidence that human release of carbon dioxide, methane, or other greenhouse gases is causing or will, int he foreseeable future , cause catastrophic heating of the Earth's atmosphere and disruption of the Earth's climate." There's more but I think that's enough for you to get the picture.
The most interesting thing about the petition card, that one is suppose to sign and return if one agrees with the sentiment [which of course I do not], is that it specifically requests the signer to indicated whether they have a B.S., M.S. or Ph.D. degree, and in what field. They are obviously not picky about what field, since the envelop was addressed erroneously to me in the "Communications/Humanities/Fine Arts Division" (I'm in the Social Sciences Division). So they presumably don't care whether their signers are scientists or not.
The thickly stuffed envelop has a cryptic return address of GWPP (which is not explained anywhere in the materials), at a Post Office box in La Jolla, California. In addition to the petition card, the envelop contains a brief note from Frederick Seitz a past president of the National Academy of Sciences. The note appeals to me as a "citizen" who has "the training necessary to evaluate the relevant data and offer sound advice." Remember the senders thought I was faculty in Communications/Humanities/Fine Arts! I am also invited to request more petition cards to share with my colleagues.
More interesting than the note, is the copy of The Wall Street Journal article from 2000 by Arthur B. Robinson and Noah E. Robinson, (Chemists at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine), and the 12 page, glossy, three-three color reprint of an article from the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons, 2007 by both Robinsons and a Willie Soon, replete with many, many charts and graphs.
Like many such pieces there is a certain amount of schizophrenia -- the first chart, of the surface temperature of the Sargasso sea going back to 1000 BCE, purports to demonstrate that there really isn't any global warming. The temperature for 2006 is show as being right at the 3000 year average, with many warmer periods (including the "Medieval Climate Optimum" about 1100 CE). This is right next to a chart that shows that there is global warming in the Arctic, but purports to show that the warming follows the pattern of solar activity and not the pattern of hydrocarbon use (primary source of atmospheric carbon dioxide). [The solar activity hypothesis has recently been undermined by research] The rest of the article progressing the same way jumping between "it's not really warming" claims, to "it is warming, but we're not doing it." I saw nothing in this piece that is not satisfactorily dealt with by global warming science -- see the wonderful summary of arguments and counter arguments at: The Gristmill.
For more about this mailing see: "Oregon Institute of Science and Malarkey" at RealClimate Blog.