Letters to the Editor

BILL CURTIS: Be wary of global warming 'facts'

Paul Stultz's letter (Oct. 1) pulled out one of the oldest hoaxes in the global warming denial tool kit: the Global Warming Petition Project (GWPP) or the "31,000 scientists deny global warming" petition.

The petition is a famous fraud, and it has been known as such since it first appeared in 1998.

The GWPP organizer, Dr. Frederick Seitz, began doing research in 1935 and died in 2008 at the age of 96. He received huge research grants from R.J. Reynolds, a tobacco company. The project organizers made little attempt to verify the credentials of its signers; they initially included Han Solo and members of the Spice Girls.

The petition defined the term "scientist" very loosely, so even if all 31,000 signers were real people, they would still represent less than 0.3 percent of American scientists. Many of the signatories had close ties to the fossil fuel industries. I recommend reading: "Merchants of Doubt: How a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming."

The petition included a scientific paper denying global warming. It appeared to come from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) -- a topflight science journal. Actually, the petition had nothing to do with the NAS, which condemned the petition as a deliberate deception and affirmed the consensus on man-made global warming, as has every other scientific academy and institute on the planet.

Global warming science is as solid as it gets. Even the major oil companies no longer dispute it. The law of physics that causes the greenhouse effect is as well established as the law of gravity. It is not a theory!

Letters to the editor are put on the opinion page; the Sun Herald does not check the veracity of those opinions. So, as you read these letters, especially those of Paul Stultz, remember: Caveat lector!


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