Happy Earth Day, Al Gore! Your much-touted "scientific consensus" on global warming has just been exposed as phony. An unprecedented number of American scientists - more than 15,000, including over 10,000 with advanced academic degrees - have now signed a petition against the climate accord adopted in Kyoto, Japan, in December 1997.
The petition urges the U.S. government to reject the accord, which tries to force drastic cuts in energy use on the United States. This is in line with a Senate resolution, passed by a 95-to-0 vote in July, which turns down any Kyoto agreement that damages the economy of the United States while exempting most of the world's nations, including such major emerging economic powers as China, India and Brazil.
The petition is also in line with resolutions passed by state legislatures, labor unions, industry associations and consumer groups, who base their objections to Kyoto restrictions mainly on economic grounds - an expected slowdown of economic growth and huge job losses because of drastically higher energy costs, with gasoline prices rising by as much as a dollar. Many citizens and organizations also object to the prospective loss of national sovereignty - with international inspectors monitoring energy use by businesses, municipalities and even the military, and with U.N. courts imposing sanctions and fines on Americans who do not abide by U.N.-established quotas and regulations.
In signing the petition within a period of less than six weeks, the 15,000 basic and applied scientists expressed their profound skepticism about the science underlying the Kyoto accord. The available atmospheric data simply do not support the elaborate computer-driven climate models that are being cited by the United Nations and other promoters of the accord as "proof" of a major future warming.
A covering letter enclosed with the petition, signed by Frederick Seitz, president emeritus of Rockefeller University and a past president of the National Academy of Sciences, makes this quite clear: "The 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."
The freely expressed vote of so many scientists against the warming scare propaganda should be contrasted with the claimed "consensus of 2,500 climate scientists" about global warming.
This facile and oft-quoted assertion by the White House is a complete fabrication. The contributors and reviewers of the 1996 report by the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) actually numbered less than 2,000, and only a small fraction - who were never even polled - can claim to be climate scientists. The IPCC lists them by nationality, ranging from Albania all the way to Zimbabwe - countries not exactly in the forefront of atmospheric research. Further, many of the so-called consenting IPCC scientists are known to be critical of the IPCC report and have signed the petition opposing the Kyoto accord.
"The 'silent majority' of the scientific community has at last spoken out against the hype emanating from politicians and much of the media about a 'warming catastrophe,"' said Mr. Seitz. "The petition reflects the frustration and disgust felt by working scientists, few of whom have been previously involved in the ongoing climate debate, about the misuse of science to promote a political agenda."
It was Mr. Seitz's essay in the Wall Street Journal ("A major deception on 'global warming"') on June 12, 1996 that first drew public attention to the textual "cleansing" of the U.N. scientific report that forms the basis for the Kyoto accord. (For details on the unannounced text changes and how they distorted the sense of the IPCC report, consult www.sepp.org/ ipcccont/ipcccont.html.)
In 1992, more than 4,000 scientists worldwide signed the Heidelberg appeal to heads of states who were meeting in Rio de Janeiro to approve a Framework Convention on Climate Change; the appeal warned of the inadequate scientific base for such a global treaty.
The Oregon-initiated petition drive is the latest and largest effort by rank-and-file scientists to express their opposition to schemes that subvert science for the sake of a political agenda.
S. Fred Singer, professor emeritus of environmental sciences at the University of Virginia, is the founding president of the Fairfax-based Science and Environmental Policy Project.
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