The Intersection

Annals of Extreme Statements

Lots of folks have been posting stuff from their prior blogs. I’m not going to do too much of that, but I would like to breathe some more life into one discovery from my old blog–a rather scandalous quote from Energy and Commerce committee chair Joe Barton on climate science.

Nowadays everybody knows Barton for his outrageous attack on Michael Mann and his colleagues over the “hockey stick.” But do they know what he said in 2001 in denouncing the Kyoto Protocol? To wit:

Second thing that the citizens of the United States need to understand about Kyoto is that the science is not settled. In fact, 2 years ago, 15,000 of the most eminent environmental scientists in the United States signed their names to a letter that I believe was sent to the President. It may have been sent to the Members of Congress. Fifteen thousand scientists said do not implement Kyoto because the science is not settled.

Just within the last 6 months, research based on actual data in the Atlantic Ocean has come out that says the whole concept of global warming may be exactly wrong, could be totally 180 degrees wrong.

The source is the Congressional Record; search for “H2659″ in the year 2001. At least as of that year, Barton was countenancing outright global warming denial, which is pretty outrageous.

I don’t know what Atantic Ocean research Barton is referring to. The bit about the thousands of scientists is presumably a reference to the so-called Oregon Petition, which Tim Lambert has debunked at length. Although it’s from 1998, this petition is still cited today. Which is pretty amusing when you think about it: Even assuming that the petition were trustworthy, it would be absurd to think that the science hasn’t changed over the past 7-8 years.


  1. #1 caerbannog
    January 19, 2006

    Folks can find a current snapshot of the petition at

    Note that amongst the “eminent environmental scientists” are MD’s, DDS’s and even DVM’s(hoss and dawg doctors)!!

    Also note that no affiliation info is available for any of the signatories. All you have is a list of names like Carlis Jones, Christopher H Jones, Derek Jones, Edgar J Jones,
    Myrtle Jones, Paul Jones..
    . Just who are these guys, anyway???

  2. #2 Scott Church
    January 19, 2006

    The reference to 15,000 “eminent environmental scientists” is definately speaking of the global warming petition project run by the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine (OISM). Not only has the science changed, the petition had hardly any of the science right in the first place. The paper it was circulated with was riddled with basic errors that even a modest attempt at scholarship would have corrected. As for the “eminent environmental scientists”, most of the signatures were collected on the internet where virtually anyone could sign and claim whatever they wanted about their “credentials”. The petition’s authors claim to have “investigated” many of them, but their verifications had little to do with verifying a climate science background. Out of the 15,000 (as Chris said, it was 17,000 when Barton made his remarks–naturally, he hadn’t bothered to check any of this) only a few hundred even had backgrounds in any climate science related field. Most were engineers, physicists, and a few other fields mostly irrelevant to climate science.

    As for “eminent”, the petition had numerous bogus signatures–Dr. Red Wine, John Grisham, characters from the t.v. show MASH, and even Geri Halliwell (Ginger Spice), who claimed to have a PhD in microbiology! In 2001 Scientific American contacted 26 of the original signatories–ones who they actually verified as having degrees in something. Of these, only 11 said they still agreed with it. only 3 of the 11 had climate science backgrounds and only one was an active climate researcher. 8 of the 11 said they’d signed the petition after nothing more than an informal skimming of ther accompanying paper. Of the 26, 6 said they wouldn’t sign the petition today, and 3 didn’t even remember it.

    Some “consensus” of “eminent environmental scientists!”

    The whole thing was a joke, and the only reason it’s still cited by folks like Barton is that few people on that side of the fence ever bother to investigate any of the claims they make.

    For more on the petition, see my web page about it.

  3. #3 Ick of the East
    January 19, 2006

    Are there even 15,000 environmental scienists in the world, let alone the US?

    And where do you usually draw the line for “Most Eminent”? You would think it would be around the 5% mark wouldn’t you?

  4. #4 jackd
    January 20, 2006

    Has anyone scanned the list for an excessive number of people named John or affiliated with Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems? Especially John Ya Ya, John Small Berries, or John Bigboote.

  5. #5 Dano
    January 20, 2006

    My favorite signatories are the Doctors of Dendrochronological Science and the Meteorological Doctors.

    Any time someone uses this petition, you can be assured they don’t know what they are talking about.