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Letter to the Editor: Letter claims patently false

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Thursday, February 21, 2019

The recent letter from Julia Manning saying that 30,000 scientists claim global warming is a hoax is patently false and gets a “pants on fire” rating from Politifact.org, a website that investigates claims made by political operatives on the internet.

If I wanted to read lies passed around on the Internet, I would spend my time reading the Internet. I expect better of The Rocky Mount Telegram. The Telegram does a great disservice to its readers by publishing the lies written by Julia Manning and her kind, without a balancing statement that her claims have largely been proven false.

Politifact.org did a thorough investigation of this lie promoted on the internet and here is what they found:

There was a petition circulated in 1998 by Arthur Robinson, a biochemist and conservative activist from Oregon in which over 30,000 people opposed the government from taking actions on climate change because they did not believe that increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would have catastrophic effects on the earth. The petition did not include the word hoax and did not say anything about elites making a profit from climate change theory.

Furthermore, many of the people who signed the petition were not climate scientists, or scientists at all. About 12,000 of the signers have Bachelor of Science degrees “or equivalent” in different subjects and included veterinarians and physicians. The petition’s website said the signers included 3,805 scientists trained in specialties directly related to the physical environment of the Earth, which could mean geography, agriculture, and mineralogy, not necessarily climate

In addition, the petition is more than 20 years old, and more evidence supporting climate change has come to light. In 2006, the magazine Scientific American reached out to a random sample of 30 of the original signers and found "six said they would not sign the petition today, three did not remember any such petition, one had died, and five did not answer."

Another problem with Julia Manning’s latest letter is she jumps around to several different topics, like Al Gore’s wealth, Hillary Clinton, U.S.-Russia lobbying, APCO, the Black Hebrew Israelites, students from Covington Catholic High School, Facebook and Twitter posts, and armed guards in Florida schools! I suggest a more appropriate headline for her letters would be “Rumors from the Internet,” or “Internet Hoaxes from the Right Wing”.

Anyone writing letters to the Telegram should take the time to investigate their claims so as they give a more intelligent essay than the latest one from Julia Manning.

Judith Mesko

Rocky Mount

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