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The Oregon Petition is the name commonly given to a petition opposed to the Kyoto protocol, organized by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM) between 1999 and 2001. During this period the United States was negotiating with other countries on implementation of the protocol before the Bush administration withdrew from the process in 2001. Former U.S. National Academy of Sciences President Frederick Seitz wrote a cover letter endorsing the petition.
The Oregon Petition was the fourth, and by the far the largest, of five prominent efforts claimed to show that a scientific consensus does not exist on the subject of global warming, following the 1992 Statement by Atmospheric Scientists on Greenhouse Warming, the Heidelberg Declaration and the Leipzig Declaration. The petition site asserts that the number of signatures is approximately 19,000.
The petition was circulated again in October 2007.
Additional recommended knowledge
The text of the petition (which was on a reply card) reads, in its entirety:
The text of the petition is often misrepresented: for example, until recently the petition's website stated that the petition's signatories "declare that global warming is a lie with no scientific basis whatsoever." The two-paragraph petition used the terms catastrophic heating and disruption, not "global warming." The original article associated with the petition (see below) defined "global warming" as "severe increases in Earth's atmospheric and surface temperatures, with disastrous environmental consequences". This differs from both scientific usage and dictionary definitions, in which "global warming" is an increase in the global mean atmospheric temperature without implying that the increase is "severe" or will have "disastrous environmental consequences."
Covering letter and attached article
The petition had a covering letter from Frederick Seitz, who is a former president of the National Academy of Sciences, U.S.A. and an attached article supporting the petition. Seitz' six paragraph letter described the article as "an eight page review of information on the subject of 'global warming'." The senior author of the article was Arthur B. Robinson, a biochemist. The second and third authors were Sallie Baliunas and Willie Soon, astrophysicists and prominent global warming skeptics. The fourth and final author was Zachary W. Robinson, Arthur Robinson's 21-year-old son.
The article states that "over the past two decades, when CO2 levels have been at their highest, global average temperatures have actually cooled slightly" and says that this was based on comparison of satellite data (for 1979-1997) and balloon data from 1979-96. At the time the petition was written, this was unclear. Since then the satellite record has been revised, and shows warming. (See historical temperature record and satellite temperature measurements.)
The article that accompanied the petition was written in the style and format of a contribution to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, a scientific journal. Raymond Pierrehumbert, an atmospheric scientist at the University of Chicago, said that it was "designed to be deceptive by giving people the impression that the article…is a reprint and has passed peer review." Pierrehumbert also said the article was full of "half-truths". F. Sherwood Rowland, who was at the time foreign secretary of the National Academy of Sciences, said that the Academy received numerous inquiries from researchers who "are wondering if someone is trying to hoodwink them."
After the petition appeared, the National Academy of Sciences said in news release that "The NAS Council would like to make it clear that this petition has nothing to do with the National Academy of Sciences and that the manuscript was not published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences or in any other peer-reviewed journal." It also said "The petition does not reflect the conclusions of expert reports of the Academy." The NAS further noted that its own prior published study had shown that "even given the considerable uncertainties in our knowledge of the relevant phenomena, greenhouse warming poses a potential threat sufficient to merit prompt responses. Investment in mitigation measures acts as insurance protection against the great uncertainties and the possibility of dramatic surprises."
In a 2006 article the magazine Vanity Fair stated: "Today, Seitz admits that "it was stupid" for the Oregon activists to copy the academy's format. Still, he doesn't understand why the academy felt compelled to disavow the petition, which he continues to cite as proof that it is "not true" there is a scientific consensus on global warming"
As of October 2007, the petition project website includes an article by Arthur Robinson, Noah E. Robinson and Willie Soon, published in 2007 in the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons. 
Because of various criticisms made of the two Leipzig Declarations, the Oregon Petition Project claimed to adopt a number of measures, though none of these claims have been independently verified:
The term "scientists" is often used in describing signatories. The petition requests signatories list their degree (B.S., M.S., or Ph.D.) and to list their scientific field. The distribution of petitions was relatively uncontrolled: those receiving the petition could check a line that said "send more petition cards for me to distribute".
The Petition Project itself used to state:
In May 1998 the Seattle Times wrote:
In 2005, Scientific American reported:
In a 2005 op-ed in the Hawaii Reporter, Todd Shelly wrote:
In October 2007 a number of individuals reported receiving a petition closely similar to the Oregon Petition. As with the earlier version, it contained a six-paragraph covering note from Frederick Seitz along with a reply card and a supporting article. The text of the reply card is identical to the previous petition. Below the text is a signature line, a set of tick boxes for the signatory to state their academic degree (B.S., M.S., Ph.D.) and field, and another tick box stating "Please send more petition cards for me to distribute."
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Oregon_Petition". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|