Accuracy in Media

Over 31,000 United States scientists have signed a petition urging the U.S. government “to reject the global warming agreement that was written in Kyoto, Japan in December, 1997, and any other similar proposals.”

At the National Press Club here, Arthur B. Robinson, who led a team of scientists at the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine in researching the hypothesis of the Kyoto Protocol, presented the petition and his research on the subject at a time when the United Nations and various political interest groups urge the U.S. government to take actions to curb their greenhouse gas emissions. Robinson claims his research puts to rest the claim that increased emission of carbon dioxide and other gases are causing the simultaneous global rise in temperature.

“That is a general principle of logic: correlation does not prove causality,” said Robinson. “In this case, hydrocarbons don’t correlate with the temperature; the sun does.”

Robinson’s research does present solar activity as a possible cause of the rise in temperature. However, he is clear that his research in no way presents a culprit for the cause of rising temperatures; it only rebuts the Kyoto argument.

“There is nothing in the correlation that leads us to say it’s all the sun,” said Robinson, “but there is everything in the correlations to say that it isn’t hydrocarbons; they have no measurable factor.”

The petition was, in fact, started 10 years earlier, when the Kyoto agreement was first signed by the U.S. government. Since then, the U.S. has refused to sign a ratification of the agreement that would allow the United Nations to monitor America’s output of greenhouse gas. The U.S. is currently the nation that emits the most greenhouse gases, the U.N. alleges.

Now Robinson has started the petition once more, at a time when support of the belief of human-caused global warming has increased in the mainstream media. Robinson mentioned Al Gore’s recent Oscar winning documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, as an example of the popular belief that greenhouse gas emissions are at fault for any climate change that has occurred. In presenting the petition, Robinson hopes to prove that a majority of scientists do not agree with the assumption.

Robinson contends that unlike the United Nations’ discussions in Kyoto, his research has been done in the proper manner dictated by the scientific community. Replies to inquiries of his petition have varied; Robinson would not detail how great the response was, but he noted that negative replies were simply “vulgar.”

“Not a single person, in email and so forth—including people who wrote me email saying I was crazy—has ever contested one of the facts in this paper,” said Robinson. “And I don’t think they can, because we’re very good at out jobs, we’re excellent scientists, and we have been reviewed carefully by brilliant people, and we reference every fact in the literature.”

Robinson added that no scientific paper he’s written has been retracted in the last 20 years.

The petition also argues that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide have been beneficial to the environment. Robinson’s report outlines sharp increases in growth of forests in the United States and the Amazonian rain forests, arguably due to the increase in carbon dioxide emissions; trees respond well to carbon dioxide fertilization.

Despite providing alternative evidence to confront the mainstream beliefs about global warming, the petition is grounded in the fact that the hypothesis made in Kyoto, signed over 10 years ago, has failed, and to continue to take government action on the assumptions made at the conference would be irrational.

“I can’t imagine anyone with a background in science proceeding this way,” said Robinson, “where we have a political movement which wants to turn off the energy source that 85 percent of America is fueled by on the basis of a committee that got together to give an answer on a problem that is so far unsolved.”

Robinson reiterated the importance of continuing to advance U.S. capabilities in the use of hydrocarbons as an abundant and low-cost energy source.

“Are we really going to take away the human right to use energy, which is the currency of technology and progress; not only for the American people, but for the poor people around the world, on the basis of this nonsense? It’s just not right, and it’s certainly not science.”

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