Global Warming Debate with AAPS Response

Donna G. Hurlock, MD
Article Type: 
September/October 1998
Volume Number: 
Issue Number: 

Dear Editor,

I was very disappointed to see the News and Analysis section of the March/April 1998 issue of the Medical Sentinel discount the significance of global warming. I think the data confirming the beginning of global warming is something that is indisputable and the large majority of real scientists concur that man’s activities on the face of this earth are causing a significant disruption in our environment climate. I would suggest you refer to the Environmental Research Foundation in Annapolis, Maryland, whose phone number is (401) 263-1584, if you would like ample amounts of evidence that, indeed, global warming is unfortunately occurring.

I would like very much to know where the funding comes from to support Dr. [Arthur] Robinson’s Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine. I suspect if one digs not particularly deeply, you will find chemical companies and other corporations that have a significant interest in maintaining the status quo are probably the funders of this organization. There are a number of scientists out there who are employed and supported by petroleum companies, chemical companies, etc., for the sole purpose of discrediting good science. Since you do plan to run a “scholarly article” by Dr. Robinson in the next issue, please do us the favor of researching the funding behind his organization and include it with his article.

In this piece in the March/April 1998 issue, it is said that the effects of the climate change treaty would cost us $200 billion annually and more than a million jobs and there is a fear of massive disruption of the American economy. These fears become insignificant when one starts considering the alternative of allowing global warming to continue at the rate that it is, which would significantly challenge our ability to exist on this planet. $200 billion does not seem that large when you compare it to total annihilation of life on earth.

Donna G. Hurlock, MD
Alexandria, VA

Dr. Orient Responds:

Dear Dr. Hurlock,

...Although climate science is immensely complicated, the analysis of the actual data pertaining to climate change is quite straight forward and a person trained in science such as yourself should be able to come to an independent conclusion.

Whenever a scientist comes up with a contrarian conclusion, the first question always seems to be directed toward the source of his funding. I wonder if you have investigated the funding of the Environmental Research Foundation? I wonder if you have also taken into account the impact of the $2 billion worth of funding now given to the global climate change industry. Research these days simply does not get funded unless it seems to support the crisis of the moment. After all, why should one pour money into something that isn’t essential, when there are people who believe that some issues are of overriding urgency?

There is a certain belief that powerful industrial groups are heavily funding organizations that promote their own interest. Unfortunately for the country, in my opinion, industries are extremely reluctant to provide funding to groups such as the American Council on Science and Health, which attempts to give a balanced scientific view. Every time ACSH comes out with a statement to the effect that the sky is really not falling, the first question raised is how much industry funding do they receive. They are really having to cut back seriously on their operation because that funding is very small and uncertain. On the other hand, industry is all too ready to fund people that you would think would be their opponents. I don’t know if it’s a matter of buying influence, or trying to bribe the people who are bent on the destruction of industry, but whatever the reason, the fact is big industry funds very few scientific organizations that debunk the core show of the day.

As to the Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine, it is very small and receives no funding at all from industry....If indeed the prospect of global climate change was the annihilation of all life on earth, then $200 billion would seem to be insignificant. However, the scientific evidence has totally refuted that alarming possibility. If you read the very carefully hedged statements of the climate scientists supporting the IPCC, you will also find that their work really cannot be used to justify the alarmists conclusion, even if you think that their work is beyond question, which it certainly is not.

I would be delighted to discuss this issue with you further if you so desire. But, I would strongly encourage you to read the article.

Jane M. Orient, MD
Tucson, AZ

Dr. Hurlock Repllies:

Dear Dr. Orient,

Thank you so much for your response to my letter about global warming. All I can say is I sincerely hope you are right — for my daughter’s sake.

...I am so grateful for all the work you and the AAPS have done for the practice of medicine in this wonderful democratic, free country of ours...

Please keep up the good work you are doing and I look forward to reading the climate science article.

Donna G. Hurlock, MD
Alexandria, VA

[The peer-reviewed article discussed appears on pages 171-178 of this issue. —Editor.]

Originally published in the Medical Sentinel 1998;3(5):156-157. Copyright © 1998 Association of American Physicians and Surgeons (AAPS).





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