Good old Patrick Michaels.
Let's shine a little light on the corporate shill and see what we get. Rep. Waxman Presses for Inquiry on Global Warming Denier Pat Michaels Of dirty Koch money, climate denial and misleading Congress
Blogpost by Kert Davies
January 25, 2011
Patrick Michaels is a notorious global warming denier. He has made a career of it in fact. First he shilled for the coal industry saying carbon dioxide is good for us with the Greening Earth Society, then switched to flat out denial, and now pretends to be an energy expert or economist, somewhat accepting man-made global warming but decrying policy action with chicken little fears.
Well, it looks like Michaels tangled web of climate denial may now be unweaving. Congressman Henry Waxman, who famously took down the tobacco kingpins, is on a tear about Pat Michaels' funding sources. Michaels testified before Waxman's Energy and Commerce Committee in February 2009 that it was foolish act against climate change because the science is flawed. But it appears he didn't reveal a key fact to the committee: he gets major funding from the oil industry.
In fact he submitted documents showing very little corporate funding. Then last year, Michaels admitted live on CNN that 40 percent of his funding comes from the oil industry. And in 2007, a Greenpeace investigation forced Michaels to reveal that he (and other scientists) were dependent on corporate funding for their livelihood. hmmm. The Denial Machine plot thickens... What's going on:
This week, Rep. Henry Waxman sent a letter to Rep. Fred Upton seeking to pull career global warming denier Pat Michaels in for questioning about his funding sources. Upton is the ranking Republican leader of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Waxman is the Committee's minority leader.
Worth noting here on the subject of Koch money, Rep. Upton recently jumped right in bed with the Kochtopus, co-authoring a December 29, 2010 Wall Street Journal op-ed with Tim Phillips of the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity. The piece attacked EPA proposed clean air regulations and lo and behold...Upton is expected to introduce legislation later this week to kneecap EPA.
Back to today's Waxman letter, Pat Michaels testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee in February 2009. Waxman's letter says Pat Michaels testified
"that widely accepted scientific data had "overestimated" global warming and that regulation enacted in response to that data could have "a very counterproductive effect." Among the scientists who testified before this Committee on the issue of climate change in the last Congress, Pat Michaels was the only one to dismiss the need to act on climate change."
"No, the science is not settled. In fact, judging from these results, it's time for climate scientists to get back to work and generate models which will be able to estimate the recent past and present within their normal confidence ranges.
Until that is done, all we know is this: calculations of the costs of inaction, based upon models that are clearly overestimating warming to the point that they can no longer be relied upon, are likely to be similarly overestimated. In that eventuality, the costs of drastic action can easily outweigh the costs of a more measured response, consistent with what is being observed, rather than what is being erroneously modeled." The Waxman letter concludes:
"Dr. Michaels may have provided misleading information about the sources of his funding and his ties to industries opposed to regulation of emissions responsible for climate change."
We don't know if Pat Michaels misrepresented his funding sources under oath, but misleading Congress is not advisable in general... and misleading Henry Waxman is a really bad plan.
While lining up his testimony in 2009, Pat Michaels submitted an extensive CV (resume) with all of his (climate denying career) accomplishments and sources of funding to the Committee. He listed a small number of corporate grants. These sources of income amounted to a small percentage of his income. Meanwhile, Pat Michaels failed to list multiple large payments to New Hope Environmental Services, Pat Michaels' private climate denial enterprise, which has published the climate denial publication, World Climate Report dating back to 1995.
New Hope's website says it's...
"an advocacy science consulting firm that produces cutting-edge research and informed commentary on the nature of climate, including patterns of climate change, U.S. and international environmental policy, seasonal and long-range forecasting targeted to user needs, and the relation between the earth's atmosphere and biology. The company also consults on legal matters related to weather and climate."
In 2006, it was revealed that western coal fired utility interests were rounding up funding for Pat Michaels.
Pat Michaels put his funding sources in the spotlight again in August 2010, by stating on CNN under direct questioning that he gets 40% of his funding from the oil industry.
All of us denier watchers caught the CNN piece and muttered a collected "huh?"... Then POLITICO called out Michaels double speak a few weeks ago.
Previous to this immense slip (or sudden honesty) by Michaels on CNN, we knew of Pat Michaels funding from the Edison Electric Institute (national electric utility lobbyists), the Western Fuels Association (Wyoming coal front group) German coal industry, US coal addicted electric utilities and other grants.
Greenpeace also unearthed some clues while intervening in a climate lawsuit in Vermont in 2007 where Pat Michaels was an expert witness for auto interests suing the state to stop stricter vehicle greenhouse emissions standards. Greenpeace sought to reveal documents listing Pat Michaels sources of income. The judge eventually declined our request but in the course of events, Pat Michaels retained counsel and submitted a telling affidavit. He pleads that New Hope Environmental Services is a vital source of income for him and other scientists (presumably Robert C. Balling, Jr., Contributing Editor to World Climate Report but who else?) Pat Michaels' affidavit in the Green Mountain case states:
"Large companies are understandably adverse to negative publicity. Thus, the global warming controversy has created an environment in which companies who wish to support New Hope's research and advocacy about global warming science are increasingly willing to do so only if their support remains confidential. For this reason, some companies that support New Hope financially do so on the understanding that their support will not be made public."
and says that such disclosure of New Hope funding had already cost him income, itemizing several large grants from corporate interests and then pleads poverty:
"Besides modest speaking fees, New Hope is my sole source of income beyond a negotiated retirement package from the University of Virginia. Thus, the Greenpeace motion, if granted, would imperil my livelihood. New Hope also employs the services of other scientists who receive all or a substantial part of their incomes from New Hope. Their livelihoods are also threatened by the Greenpeace motion."
An interesting sidebar here is the lawyer retained by Pat Micheals, Peter Glaser of Troutman Sanders law firm in DC. Glaser has made a career of keeping coal burning utilities beyond the grasp of EPA enforcement on Clean Air Act violations and representing global warming deniers like Peabody Coal, the Farm Bureau and others. We wonder, were some of Glasers high rolling carbon club clients really interested in keeping Micheals funding sources under wraps?
Kate Sheppard of Mother Jones did a nice review of Pat Micheals' credibility and the Green Mountain case in February 2010.
Pat Michael's is man of many hats...hats of convenience. Over the course of his career depending on the venue and the audience. He has used the titles Virginia State Climatologist (stripped of that title some years ago by the Governor), Senior fellow at the Koch founded and funded Cato Institute, a visiting scientist at the George Marshall Institute, etc. Cato Institute was co-founded by Charles Koch and David Koch sits on the board.
Pat Micheals rarely if ever states any association with New Hope Environmental Services in public, except for publishing World Climate Report. While Michaels "is" a professional scientist and climatologist, he also acts like as an economist or free market specialist whenever prompted, opining on the negative economic impacts of climate policies. This prompts us to ask: if you accept economic advice from an expert in weather patterns, would ask a dentist to set your broken leg?http://www.greenpeace.org/usa/en/news-an...arm/blog/32679/
Shall we look a little deeper?This article is part of the Coal Issues portal on SourceWatch, a project of CoalSwarm and the Center for Media and Democracy. See here for help on adding material to CoalSwarm.
Source: Cato Institute
Patrick J. Michaels (±1942- ), also known as Pat Michaels, is a largely oil-funded global warming skeptic who argues that global warming models are fatally flawed and, in any event, we should take no action because new technologies will soon replace those that emit greenhouse gases. Patrick Michaels of the University of Virginia served as an Expert Reviewer to Working Group I of the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC.
New Hope Environmental Services "advocacy science" consulting firm
Michaels is Editor of the World Climate Report, a blog published by the "advocacy science consulting firm" New Hope Environmental Services, which he founded and runs.Mission
In an affidavit in a Vermont court case, Michaels described his firm's "mission" as being to "publicize findings on climate change and scientific and social perspectives that may not otherwise appear in the popular literature or media. This entails both response research and public commentary." In effect, New Hope Environmental Services is a PR firm.Clientele
Michaels' firm does not disclose who its clients are, but leaked documents have revealed that several were power utilities which operate coal power stations. On a 2007 academic CV, Michaels disclosed that prior to creating his firm he had received funding from the Edison Electric Institute and the Western Fuels Association. He has also been a frequent speaker with leading coal and energy companies as well as coal and other industry lobby groups.
(For more information, see Patrick J. Michaels - career history and Patrick J. Michaels - funding.)Other affiliations
Marshall, Cato, CFACT, ACSH
Michaels is also associated with a number of think tanks and advocacy groups which dispute global warming. He is a Visiting Scientist with the George C. Marshall Institute, a Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies with the Cato Institute and a member of the Advisory Board of the Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow.
Michaels is also a Scientific Advisor of the American Council on Science and Health.Past affiliations - TASSC, Greening Earth Society
Michaels was a "supporter" of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, an industry-funded PR front group created in 1993 and run by the APCO Worldwide public relations firm. It worked to hang the label of "junk science" on environmentalists. The group is now defunct.
Between December 1998 and September 2001 he was listed as a "Scientific Advisor" to the Greening Earth Society, a group that was funded and controlled by the Western Fuels Association (WFA), an association of coal-burning utility companies. WFA founded the group in 1997, according to an archived version of its website, "as a vehicle for advocacy on climate change, the environmental impact of CO2, and fossil fuel use."List by date
Much of this duplicates the text above.
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, "supporter", 1993;
Lecturer, European Academy of Ecology, Germany, 1993.
Lecturer, World Coal Conference, New Orleans, LA, 1993.
Advisory Board, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow
Center for Climatic Research, University of Wisconsin, 1976-1979; Research and Project Assistant;
University of Virginia Department of Environmental Sciences (Assistant Professor, l980-1986; Associate Professor, 1986-1995; Professor, 1996 -2007);
Virginia State Climatologist 1980- 2007;
Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies, Cato Institute, 1992 - Present
Visiting Scientist, Marshall Institute, 1996 - 2007 (at least).Education
Michaels completed a bachelors degree in biological sciences degree in 1971 and a Masters degree in Biology in 1975 at the University of Chicago. He completed a Ph.D. in Ecological Climatology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979 on the topic of "Atmospheric Anomalies and Crop Yields in North America".
History - from the Halls of Academe To the Speaker Circuithttp://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Patrick_J._Michaels_-_career_history
Funding - including varying (year&content) statements by Michaels re source of fundinghttp://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Patrick_J._Michaels_-_funding
See Patrick J. Michaels - funding - includes "expert witness" stint for 2007 Vermont auto industry lawsuitClimate change - playing down importance
In August 2004, Michaels told Business Week "We know how much the planet is going to warm. It is a small amount, and we can't do anything about it."
In a July 2010 Wall Street Journal article entitled "The Climategate Whitewash Continues" Pat Michaels said "It's impossible to find anything wrong if you really aren't looking."
In a 1992 opinion column, Michaels wrote of government agencies that they "exist to perpetuate themselves, and to expand their territory and their political influence. Government agencies behave just like people. The agency goals cannot be accomplished without the largesse of Congress. Thus begins a peculiar back-scratching in which political patrons define a particular problem as The Most Important in History. The agency responds by testifying that the end is near unless a few billion is spent pronto-and then it probably will be even worse than we thought. Such issues and constituencies include the ozone "hole" (NASA, NSF, EPA); global warming (NASA, NSF, DOE, EPA); sexually transmitted diseases (National Institutes of Health, NSF); or roughage shortages (NIH, U.S. Department of Agriculture). The list is as infinite as is the predilection for Homo sapiens to have nightmares."Controversies and criticisms
In 2011: Rep. Waxman calls for inquiry, re possibly misleading testimony on industry ties, funding sources
On January 25, 2011, Rep. Henry Waxman sent a letter to Rep. Fred Upton seeking to call in Michaels for questioning about his science and funding. In the letter, Waxman wrote that Pat Michaels testified before the Energy and Commerce Committee in February 2009 "that widely accepted scientific data had 'overestimated' global warming and that regulation enacted in response to that data could have 'a very counterproductive effect.' Among the scientists who testified before this Committee on the issue of climate change in the last Congress, Pat Michaels was the only one to dismiss the need to act on climate change ... Dr. Michaels may have provided misleading information about the sources of his funding and his ties to industries opposed to regulation of emissions responsible for climate change."
In 2010: Assertion in climate testimony that humans caused less than half 1950+ warming (termed "not credible")
Climate scientist Benjamin Santer noted that in Michaels' Congressional testimony of November 2010, Michaels had claimed human GHG emissions caused less then half the warming (since 1950), but that this assertion was not credible:
"...Professor Patrick Michaels (in Congressional testimony of November 2010) claimed that human-caused changes in greenhouse gases explain less than half of the post-1950 warming. This claim [by Michaels] is not credible. Michaels arrives at this incorrect result by completely ignoring the cooling effects of sulfate aerosol particles."
In2009: Cato Institute "just not true" ad, and WSJ Op-ed misdirection re von Storch resignation
Dec. 2009: Wall Street Journal "tip of iceberg" op-ed misrepresentation, and silence
An op-ed by Michaels in the December 17, 2009 Wall Street Journal argued that the climate science consensus was illusory. Among his arguments was a selective recounting of the Climate Research episode: Michaels noted that the "skeptic" paper appeared, whereupon "Messrs. Jones and Mann" threatened to boycott the journal; then half its editorial board resigned. This recounting is chronologically accurate but causally misleading; the resignations had been "because of insufficient quality control on a bad paper — a skeptic’s paper, at that.", 
Multiple emails sent to Michaels asking whether he'd been aware this was why the editors resigned, before he composed the Wall Street Journal op-ed, did not elicit a response.
March 2009: Cato Institute ad, and RealClimate rebuttal
In March 2009, Michaels, under the auspices of the Cato Institute, circulated a draft advertisement that stated: "Surface temperature changes over the past century have been episodic and modest and there has been no net global warming for over a decade now ... The computer models forecasting rapid temperature change abjectly fail to explain recent climate behavior." The ad statements were analyzed and criticized in detail at the RealClimate blog.
Followup to Cato ad: RealClimate rebuttal of Feb 2009 Michaels testimony
In support of the statements, Chip Knappenberger of World Climate Report referred readers to recent (Feb.) testimony by Michaels to the House of Representatives Energy and Environment sub-committee That too was responded to at length by Gavin Schmidt of RealClimate.org.
In 2006-7: Use of "State Climatologist for Virginia" Title
While Michaels referred to himself as the State Climatologist for Virginia, in August 2006 the Governor, Timothy M. Kaine, clarified that the appointment was one by the University for its accredited climatology office but not an appointment by the state administration. "The Code of Virginia does not provide for the governor to appoint a state climatologist. My office has been unable to find evidence that any governor since 1980 has made such an appointment," Hanley wrote. While Michaels had been appointed to the position in 1980 by the then Governor John Dalton, in 2000 the American Association of State Climatologists assumed responsibility for certifying climatologists. "Therefore, it is the prerogative of the university to make that appointment," Hanley wrote.
When Michaels left the university in September 2007, UVa professor James N. Galloway explained that Michaels' "utility industry funding, private research and controversial views on global warming made him a lightning rod on climate change issues," and "left the [climatologist's] office too politicized."
In 2004: Michaels-McKitrick Climate paper basic error
Michaels "co-operated with Ross McKitrick on another paper that managed to "prove" that global warming wasn't happening by mixing up degrees with radians."
In 2000-2003: Gleick and suit threat, Holdren, Social Epistemology, IPCC's Wigley
In 2003 Peter Gleick, a conservation analyst and president of the Oakland-based Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security, said "Pat Michaels is not one of the nation's leading researchers on climate change. On the contrary, he is one of a very small minority of nay-sayers who continue to dispute the facts and science about climate change in the face of compelling, overwhelming, and growing evidence." Michaels responded by threatening to sue. (Michaels had gotten another scientist to withdraw similar remarks.) But Gleick stood by his statement and others have joined him.
Dr. John Holdren of Harvard University told the U.S. Senate Republican Policy Committee, "Michaels is another of the handful of US climate-change contrarians... He has published little if anything of distinction in the professional literature, being noted rather for his shrill op-ed pieces and indiscriminate denunciations of virtually every finding of mainstream climate science."
An article in the journal Social Epistemology concluded "...the observations upon which PM [Patrick Michaels] draws his case are not good enough to bear the weight of the argument he wishes to make."
Dr. Tom Wigley, lead author of parts of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and one of the world's leading climate scientists, was quoted by Ross Gelbspan as stating that "Michaels' statements on [the subject of computer models] are a catalog of misrepresentation and misinterpretation… Many of the supposedly factual statements made in Michaels' testimony are either inaccurate or are seriously misleading."
In 1995: Industry scientists: Michaels' temperature record objections not cogent
An internal 1995 document (pdf) of the Global Climate Coalition (GCC) -- an industry front group that disbanded in 2002 -- reviewed some of the "contrarian" arguments used by Patrick Michaels and other climate change skeptics. The document concluded that:
...contrarian theories raise interesting questions about our total understanding of climate processes, but they do not offer convincing arguments against the conventional model of greenhouse gas emission-induced climate change. ... Michaels' questions about the temperature record are not convincing arguments against any conclusion that we are currently experiencing warming as the result of greenhouse gas emissions. ...[And] anomalies in the temperature record [do not] offer a mechanism for off-setting the much larger rise in temperature which might occur if the atmospheric concentration of greenhouse gases were to double or quadruple." References
↑ "New Hope Environmental Services", New Hope Environmental Services website, accessed May 2009.
↑ Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, "Affidavit of Dr. Patrick J. Michaels", United States District Court for the District of Vermont, Green Mountain Chrysler et al. v. Crombie et al., Docket No. 02:05-CV-302, July 6, 2007.(Pdf)
↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 4.6 "Patrick Michaels CV Plain Text File-Climate Change Guide/Skeptics and Contrarians", Society of Environmental Journalists, accessed May 2009.
↑ "Patrick J. Michaels: Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies", Cato Institute, accessed May 2009.
↑ 6.0 6.1 Advisory Board, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, accessed May 2009.
↑ No byline (Undated). Scientific Advisors > About ACSH. ACSH. Retrieved on 2010-12-08. “Patrick J. Michaels, Ph.D.; University of Virginia”
↑ 8.0 8.1 "Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) Supporters List", June 30, 1993. Bates Number 2024233615/3618.
↑ "Scientific Advisers", Greening Earth Society, website archived from December 1998.
↑ Greening Earth Society, "Scientific Advisers", Greening Earth Society, website archived from September 2001.
↑ "Join GES", Greening Earth Society website, archived from March 2005.
↑ 12.0 12.1 Tom Hockaday, "International Meeting in Europe on Sound Science", APCO Associates/GCI Group, May 9, 1994.
↑ John Carey and Sarah R. Shapiro, "Global Warming", Businessweek, August 16, 2004.
↑ Patrick J. Michaels, "Give Industry a Bigger Role (Title incomplete", Roanoke Times, December 29, 1992.
↑ "Rep. Waxman Presses for Inquiry on Global Warming Denier Pat Michaels" HuffPo, Jan. 25, 2011.
↑ Anna Haynes (2011-05-25). Ben Santer clarifies his "...legitimate debate..." statement from last fall's climate testimony. Warming101 blog. Retrieved on 2011-05-28. “(2011-05-25 correspondence)”
↑ Pat Michaels (2009-12-17). How to Manufacture a Climate Consensus. WSJ.com. Retrieved on 2011-10-13.
↑ 19.0 19.1 Clare Goodess (2003-11). Stormy Times for Climate Research. SGR. Retrieved on 2009-12-26. “...Hans von Storch and I were also aware of three earlier Climate Research papers about which people had raised concerns over the review process. In all these cases, de Freitas had had editorial responsibility.”
↑ Things Break (pseudonym) (2009-12-18). Pat Michaels lying in the Wall Street Journal. The Way Things Break. Retrieved on 2011-10-13.
↑ Emails from ahaynes, 2009 and 2010
↑ Cato Institute, "With all due respect Mr.President, that is not true.", Real Climate, March 2009.
↑ "With all due respect…", RealClimate, March 24, 2009.
↑ "Testimony of Patrick J. Michaels", House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Environment of the Committee on Energy and Commerce, February 12, 2009.
↑ Gavin Schmidt, "Michaels’ new graph", RealClimate, March 26, 2009.
↑ Aaron Kessler, State: Climatologist appointed by university: Michaels no longer Virginia official", Daily Progress, August 19, 2006. (Scroll down).
↑ "Michaels Out As Virginia State Climatologist: Controversial state climatologist steps down", Newport News (Va.) Daily Press, September 27, 2007. (This is an Associated Press story.)
↑ Tim Lambert, "McKitrick screws up yet again", Deltoid, August 26, 2004.
↑ Seth Slabaugh, "Global warming speaker under fire", Star Press (Muncie, IN), November 18, 2003.
↑ "Science, Climate Change, and Censorship: The Pacific Institute, Patrick Michaels, and the science of climate change", Pacific Institute, undated but approx late 2003.
↑ John Holdren, "The Shaky Science Behind the Climate Change Sense of the Congress Resolution", US Senate Republican Policy Committee, June 2, 2003.
↑ Simon Shackley, "Commentary on the debate between James Hansen and Patrick Michaels, November 1998", Social Epistemology, 2000, vol. 14, nos. 2/3, pages 181–186.
↑ Ross Gelbspan, "Global Warmers", The Nation, March 20, 2001.
↑ Andrew C. Revkin, "Industry Ignored Its Scientists on Climate", New York Times, April 23, 2009.
↑ Global Climate Coalition, "Primer on Climate Change Science· Final Draft", January 18, 1996, pages 16-17.http://www.sourcewatch.org/index.php?title=Patrick_J._Michaels