State of denial

Robert Pate never tires of ­citing the discredited Oregon Petition with its 32,000 climate change-denying “scientists” (Letters, 18 July).

Robert Pate never tires of ­citing the discredited Oregon Petition with its 32,000 climate change-denying “scientists” (Letters, 18 July).

One wonders why he feels that pop and film celebrities, dentists, electrical engineers and surgeons are relevant to climate science.

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

Sign up to our Opinion newsletter

But such are in his Oregon 
Petition – a list of mostly nobodies who happen to have a degree in a vaguely “sciency” subject. Only a few hundred have relevant credentials, and many of them have since retracted.

The equally disreputable Leipzig Declaration had to shed ­dozens of its initial signatories due to non-relevance (weather presenters are not climate 

And many of the few score that remain are funded by the oil industry.

As there are more than 60 million science graduates in the world Pate’s 32,000 is just 0.05 per cent of the whole. Pathetic.

(Dr) Stephen Moreton

Marina Avenue

Warrington, Cheshire

I am sceptical about Robert Pate’s claim to be in “good company” in his scepticism about climate change, since the authority of the Leipzig Declaration and the subsequent Oregon Petition has been widely questioned.

For authoritative scientific consensus I suggest that the Royal Society would provide rather better company than the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, originators of the 
Oregon Petition.

The Royal Society’s current position is stated in its 2010 paper Climate change: a summary of the science, which 
concludes: “There is strong evidence that changes in greenhouse gas concentrations due to human activity are the dominant cause of the global warming that has taken place over the last half century.

“This warming trend is expected to continue as are changes in precipitation over the long term in many regions. Further and more rapid increases in sea level are likely which will have profound implications…

“Like many important decisions, policy choices about 
climate change have to be made in the absence of perfect knowledge…

“However, the potential impacts of climate change are sufficiently serious that important decisions will need to be made.”

This also rather undermines Robert Dow’s contention to apply the “precautionary principle” in reverse.

Mr Dow could be right, of course, but with the weight of evidence provided by a scientific organisation of the standing of the Royal Society I wouldn’t want to bet on it. And the problem is that we’d be betting with our children’s and grandchildren’s futures.

Colin Weatherley


East Lothian