The Letter the Wash Post Refused to Run

A few weeks ago, we published a post challenging the claims of a draft print newspaper ad the Cato Institute was then shopping around looking for scientist signers.

On March 30, The Washington Post ran that full page ad, which appeared with the names of 115 signers whom Cato claimed were scientists.

Perhaps the better name for them would be “sign”-tists.

That’s because, based on our research, few, if any, of the signers have published peer-reviewed papers on climate science.

Indeed, only a handful of them have a background of any kind in climate-related sciences. And 15 don’t appear to have any advanced degrees in any academic field at all.

We wrote The Washington Post the following letter to the editor, which they refused to run. We share it here for the benefit of our readers:

April 3, 2009

To the Editor:

On Monday, March 30, the Post published a full-page advertisement by the Cato Institute that challenges President Obama’s assertion that, with regard to global climate change, “The science is beyond dispute and the facts are clear.” The advertisement was signed by 115 scientists. In the upside-down world of global warming denial, this represents yet another effort to mislead the Post’s readers. Your readers should know that not every “scientist” on Cato’s list has a Ph.D., very few have a Ph.D. in climate science, and fewer still are publishing research on climate science in peer-reviewed journals. A typical signer is the retired Swedish geology professor whose expertise is paleoseismicity, the study of historical earthquake activity. He also claims an expertise in dowsing. Some signers don’t believe the HIV virus causes AIDS. A Google search for one reveals that he is “New Orleans’ #1 rated weather personality.” Another signer is a devotee of the notorious scientific quack Wilhelm Reich, who invented the “orgone energy accumulator,” a device that purported to gather energy from the atmosphere to cure common colds, cancer, and impotence. The signer’s web site claims that research at his “Orgone Biophysical Research Lab” has confirmed “many of Reich’s original findings on the orgone accumulator.”

Since many of the advertisement’s signers are from foreign countries, Cato presumably scoured the globe to find scientists who challenge the scientific consensus on global warming.

David Yarnold
Executive Director
Environmental Defense Fund

This entry was posted in News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.