PRESS RELEASE
For Immediate Release
Contact: Paul Fidalgo
Phone: (207) 358-9785
E-mail: press@centerforinquiry.net

Ranking Member’s Senate Minority Report on Global Warming Not Credible, says CFI

July 17, 2009

Center for Inquiry Reveals that 80 Percent of ‘dissenting scientists’ in report haven’t published peer-reviewed climate research

Washington, D.C. (July 17, 2009) – The Office of Public Policy, the Washington, D.C. lobbying arm of the Center for Inquiry (CFI), an organization committed to defending scientific integrity, has today dealt a body blow to global warming skeptics by releasing findings exposing the lack of credibility of dissenting scientists challenging man-made global warming. The dissenting scientists are cited in the U.S. Senate Minority Report, a document being hailed by lawmakers opposed to legislation needed to slow global climate change. Sen. James Inhofe, R-Okla initially released the report through the office of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, where he is the  ranking minority member.

In this Senate Minority Report, almost 700 individuals with implied scientific credentials are offered as evidence that measures to address climate change are premature, and that further research is needed. Sen. Inhofe has used this report to support the claim that there is an ever-increasing international groundswell of scientific opposition to the position of approximately 2,000 scientists whose work is the basis of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Science Report (IPCC) released in 2007. The Center for Inquiry maintains that the Senate Minority report fails to make a credible case that a large number of actual climate scientists take exception to the near-universal consensus of the  research community.

“It is beyond question that the work of the U.N. scientists has survived the scrutiny of their colleagues, and that they constitute a significant majority of active researches addressing this problem today. This led us to take a careful look at the broad conclusions of the Senate Minority Report,” said Dr. Stuart Jordan, science policy advisor to the CFI Office of Public Policy and retired emeritus senior staff scientist at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center.

“As a result of our assessment, Inhofe and other lawmakers using this report to block proposed legislation to address the harmful effects of climate change must face an inconvenient truth: while there are indeed some well respected scientists on the list, the vast majority are neither climate scientists, nor have they published in fields that bear directly on climate science.”  

After assessing 687 individuals named as “dissenting scientists” in the January 2009 version of the United States Senate Minority Report, the Center for Inquiry’s Credibility Project found that:

• Slightly fewer than 10 percent could be identified as climate scientists.
• Approximately 15 percent published in the recognizable refereed literature on subjects related to climate science.
• Approximately 80 percent clearly had no refereed publication record on climate science at all. 
• Approximately 4 percent appeared to favor the current IPCC-2007 consensus and should not have been on the list.

Further examination of the backgrounds of these individuals revealed that a significant number were identified as meteorologists, and some of these people were employed to report the weather.

Dr. Ronald A. Lindsay, the Center for Inquiry’s chief executive officer, is concerned about the falsehoods and half-truths being uttered by lawmakers now arming themselves for a major fight over legislation addressing climate change. Said Lindsay, “Sen. Inhofe and others have had some success in conveying to the media the impression that the number of scientists skeptical about man-made global warming is swelling, yet this is demonstrably not true.” Lindsay points out that Inhofe’s office had misleadingly claimed in a press release that the number of dissenting scientists outnumbered by more than 13 times the number of U.N. scientists (52) who authored the 2007 IPCC. “But those 52 U.N. scientists were in fact summarizing for policymakers the work of over 2,000 active research scientists, all with substantially similar views on global warming and its causes. This is the kind of broadside against sound science and scientific integrity that we at CFI deplore,” asserted Lindsay. 

Dr. Paul Kurtz, the founder of the Center for Inquiry, stressed that “It is essential that the government base its policies on the best scientific information we have and it is a preponderance of scientific judgment that global warming poses a dire threat to the future of humanity on the planet.”

After painstakingly taking the time to vet many of the scientists now serving as “consensus busters” Jordan says that it is difficult for him and his colleagues not to conclude that “this is one more effort of a contrarian community to block corrective action to address a major—in this case global—problem fraught with harmful consequences for human welfare and the environment.”  

The complete Center for Inquiry Credibility Project was released to the public at a press conference held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on July 17, 2009.

The Center for Inquiry (CFI) is a nonprofit, educational, advocacy, and scientific-research think tank based in Amherst, New York. The Center for Inquiry’s research and educational projects focus on three broad areas: religion, ethics, and society; paranormal and fringe-science claims; and sound public policy. The Center’s Web site is www.centerforinquiry.net . CFI’s Office of Public Policy (OPP) is the Washington D.C. political arm of the Center for Inquiry. The OPP’s mandate is to lobby Congress and the Administration on issues related to science and secularism. Their Web site can be found at www.centerforinquiry.net/opp
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