Of course the petition turned out to be even more ridiculous than it initially seemed (links at bottom). Still, the Petition found an audience gullible and desperate enough to accept it as credible.
A history of the Petition in terms of the key players, and an excellent breakdown of the signatories can be found at “The Global Warming Debate” starting about 1/3rd down the page.
Predictably, like all of the Denier frauds, despite the Petition being repeatedly exposed as a hoax it continues to be used as “evidence” that climate change science is not valid.
The most recent outbreak is in association with the NIPPC Report fraud. Some of the Denialophere are even claiming that the Petition’s signatories were affirming the validity of the NIPCC report, a report released a year after the Petition was.
In fairness it should be noted that the NIPCC report is nothing more than a rehash of the same nonsense of the earlier version that appeared last year, also after the Petition’s release. So even though it is still an absurdly idiotic claim, it is not necessarily as extreme as it seems.
What if the names were real?
There is one thing has always fascinated me about the Petition though … specifically, that even if it were not a fraud, it would still be meaningless, completely and utterly meaningless. The Deniers create so much Sturm and Drang about the validity of the names, and it doesn’t matter.
So, just for fun, let’s take a closer look at the Petition.
Gary Whittenberger assessed the methodology of the Petitions creation in Misleading by Petition: Just What is the Consensus on Global Warming? and concluded that:
“Arthur Robinson has solicited the opinions of the wrong group of people in the wrong way and drawn the wrong conclusions about any possible consensus among relevant and qualified scientists regarding the hypothesis of human-caused global warming.”
But let’s leave that aside too.
Robinson claims the Petition includes 31,000 scientists, 9,000 with PhDs (and the other 22,000 have what credential that makes them “scientists”?). Let’s pretend they’re all real scientists.
If the premise is that this is a HUGE number (as many in the Denialosphere have tried to claim, and still do), then what is our basis for comparison?
In the US alone there are an estimated 2,685,000 scientists. The OISM sent out their call to a subset of the mailing list of American Men and Women of Science and it got broadly passed around the Denialosphere … and they managed to get a mere 1.2% of the American scientific community.
Except, notwithstanding the extreme parochialism of the American Deniers, climate change is actually a global issue. It involves the global scientific community (who knew?), and the Petition has international signatories, so the real baseline for comparison is the global community.
There are an estimated 63 million scientists in the world, so even if the names were real, the Petition would have managed a stunning 0.005% of the scientific community.
It’s a fair bet that a far larger proportion of the scientific community smoke Gitanes, or collects antique watches, or are certifiably insane … all of which are just as meaningless as the Petition.