Kaine Administration De-funds Global Warming Heretic Patrick Michaels

As Al Gore (the “Goracle”) has frequently told us, there is a scientific consensus that human-caused global warming is real. One way to achieve that consensus is to de-fund anyone who disagrees. And that is exactly what has happened to global warming contrarian Patrick Michaels.

Bob Gibson with the Daily Progress reports that Michaels has not only resigned as the official state climatologist, he has negotiated an early retirement package with the University of Virginia and will remain affiliated with the university only as a part-time research professor on leave. Here is Michaels’ explanation:

Michaels, whose utility industry funding and controversial views on global warming made him a lightning rod on climate change issues, called his resignation a sad result of the fact that his state climatologist funding had become politicized as “a line in the governor’s budget,” which he said compromised his academic freedom.

“It’s very simple,” Michaels said in an interview. “I don’t think anybody was able to come to a satisfactory agreement about academic freedom.”

Delacey Skinner, communications director for the Kaine administration, had no comment. Joseph C. Zieman, chairman of UVa’s Department of Environmental Sciences, had little to add either.

Global Warming advocates have attacked Michaels for his utility industry ties, suggesting that the source of his funding compromised the integrity of his research. Ironically, Michaels calls into question the objectivity of GW scientists by noting that government-funded climate research — which is heavily influenced by one-sided newspaper articles and grand-standing politicians holding congressional hearings — is highly politicized. But now skeptics like Michaels are being labeled “global warming deniers,” akin to Holocaust deniers, and there is an active movement to de-fund them. Thus the scientific “consensus” that Global Warming is caused by human activity becomes a self-fulfilling prophesy. Orthodoxy shall prevail; heretics shall be punished.

Academic freedom and a diversity of viewpoints are core values at Virginia universities. If anyone within the UVa administration or faculty rose to Michaels’ defense, however, Gibson makes no note of it. Does academic freedom exist only for liberals and leftists? If so, this is a scandal of first-order magnitude. The circumstances of Michaels’ departure should be laid bare.

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6 responses to “Kaine Administration De-funds Global Warming Heretic Patrick Michaels”

  1. Norman Leahy Avatar
    Norman Leahy

    While I agree that this case has all the hallmarks of free inquiry for me, but not for thee, and I tend to agree with Michael’s skepticism regarding global warming, there’s also a couple of things that ought to be kept in mind…

    1) Why does the state have a climatologist to begin with? Seems to me like a position we could do without.

    2) If you rely on state funds, you dance to the state’s tune. That includes having your funds yanked when your ideas no longer fit the agenda (or blinkered ideology) of your paymaster.

  2. The origin of this was Kevin Lynch’s two-part series exposing Michaels on cvillenews.com [1, 2]. As Lynch explains there, Michaels is all hot air. He talks a good game about global climate change not being what 99.99% percent of scientists in the field say it is, but he has absolutely no research to support that. In fact, none of the claims that he makes in his columns and talking-head appearances are made anywhere in his research. It’s as if there were two Pat Michaels at UVa.

    If Michaels had the research to back up his claims, I think this would raise very clear academic freedom concerns. But he doesn’t. He doesn’t have the nerve to make his claims in a peer-reviewed publication because he knows he has no evidence.

  3. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Waldo, thanks for your comments and your links to Lynch’s writing. Unfortunately, the links do not work. If it’s not too much trouble, could you double-check and re-post them? Thanks, Jim

  4. The links are valid, and work as of this writing. My server may have hiccoughed. Give it another whirl?

  5. It is a shame on the reputation of the University that Dr. Michaels has been not allowed to freely express his difference of opinion with the global warming orthodoxy. Dr. Michaels’ opinion that global warming is not the result of human activity and that no matter the regulations and taxes government imposes to restrict capitalistic ventures and degradation of the American lifestyle as we’ve known it for the past 50 years, the impact (or lack therof) on global warming will be insignificant, is certainly suppported by his analysis of data. The fact that Dr. Michaels’ has spent a good portion of his career analyzing hard data that refutes the global warming orthodoxy that frequently falls back on anecdotal information is apparently lost on Waldo.

    If anyone doubts the value of a state climatologist, I suggest talking to a farmer about the value of data from Dr. Michael’s office when applying for drought relief assistance from USDA.

  6. The fact that Dr. Michaels’ has spent a good portion of his career analyzing hard data that refutes the global warming orthodoxy that frequently falls back on anecdotal information is apparently lost on Waldo.

    Whether it’s lost on me is irrelevant — it was apparent lost, too, on his colleagues, his department, his university, and the governor. He had no defenders or supporters in this matter, because, again, he had never published any papers to support his position. That left his opinion (as you mention) just that: his opinion. And research scientists aren’t hired, or employed, for their opinion. It’s the facts that they can marshall that matter. And Michaels never managed to marshall a one in support of his opinions.

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