The academics, including 9,000 with PhDs, claim that greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and methane are actually beneficial for the environment.

The petition was created in 1998 by an American physicist, the late Frederick Seitz, in response to the Kyoto Protocol a year earlier.

It urged the US government to reject the treaty and said: “The proposed limits on greenhouse gases would harm the environment, hinder the advance of science and technology, and damage the health and welfare of mankind.”

It added: “There is no convincing scientific evidence that human release of … greenhouse gases is causing or will, in the forseeable future, cause catastrophic heating of the Earth’s atmosphere and disruption of the Earth’s climate. Moreover, there is substantial scientific evidence that increases in atmospheric carbon dioxide produce many beneficial effects upon the natural plant and animal environments.”

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