More Details on the Michaels Ouster

Politically inconvenient state climatologist Patrick Michaels enjoyed lukewarm support, at best, from his colleagues in the University of Virginia’s Environmental Science Department. That’s what I glean, reading between the lines, from Bob Gibson’s follow-up story in the Daily Progress about his resignation as state climatologist and semi-retirement from UVa. His colleagues were hardly rushing to his defense.

James N. Galloway, a UVa colleague and acid rain researcher, said Michaels, an outspoken Global Warming skeptic, politicized the office: “It’s too bad it was so politicized, but I think we can get beyond that.”

It doesn’t appear that Michaels got much support from his departmental chair, Joseph C. Zieman, either. As the Cavalier Daily reports:

The governor’s office stated earlier this year in an open letter interview that Michaels did not speak for climate policy for the Commonwealth of Virginia. … As long as the pieces he has written have nothing legally wrong with them, however controversial, they are protected by academic freedom. University faculty are free to write about whatever they wish and can express diverse opinions.”

Zieman added that Michaels — who he described as “a member … of a small group of people that are called skeptics” — has not resigned as a research professor at the University.

The state climatological office, now re-named the university climatological office, has been turned over to research coordinator Philip J. “Jerry” Stenger.

Update: It appears that Michaels is still updating his “World Climate Report” blog.

Update: Our understanding of climate change grows daily — and not always to the benefit of the conventional wisdom. Check this out: “Carbon dioxide did not end the last Ice Age.
Deep-sea temperatures rose 1,300 years before atmospheric CO2, ruling out the greenhouse gas as driver of meltdown, says study in Science.”

I guess we can add Lowell Stott, professor of earth sciences at the University of Southern California, to the list of Global Warming deniers. “The climate dynamic is much more complex than simply saying that CO2 rises and the temperature warms,” Stott said. The complexities “have to be understood in order to appreciate how the climate system has changed in the past and how it will change in the future.”

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5 responses to “More Details on the Michaels Ouster”

  1. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    any comments on this allegation:

    “Patrick J. Michaels, one of the global warming skeptics most often interviewed by news media, withdrew as an expert witness in a high-profile Vermont court case rather than disclose his funding sources, court documents show. Moreover, Michaels told the court in July 2007, some funders gave him money on the condition that their identities remain secret.”

    for myself – I can live with any Scientific person having personal views as a private person but if they are affiliated with a public entity .. AND at the same time they are receiving funding from groups either in favor of or opposed to some findings of scientific inquiry .. then ..there needs to be full disclosure

    I’m not at all comfortable with the idea that industry groups can finance studies performed by people who are conducting scientific inquiry unless their work is fully documented with respect to sources, and peer-reviewed.

    When someone doing scientific inquiry.. chooses … to tread near the ethical boundaries AND at the same time.. choose to become a high-profile participant in public discussions that are controversial… I start to have major qualms… about their legitimacy and credibility.

    they can still do it – as long as they do it squeaky-clean with respect to their existing connections and relationships.

    As far as I am concerned.. he had the opportunity to be completely up-front and honest about the issues that might affect his assumed cloak of objectivity – and he chose.. to .. not be open.

    I don’t think you can have it both ways.

    he needed to be scrupuously honest and his sympathizers also need to be honest about whether he is truly a “victim” or not.

  2. Anonymous Avatar

    Gee, thanks for pointing out his blog. Now that will get hounded out of existence like the Nazi’s page was.

    One advantage (there are few) of a degree in religion is you do come to understand that skeptics and free thinkers have been persecuted since some caveman proclaimed himself the first priest and started to pass the first collection plate. Dr. Michaels is in excellent company, and can take some comfort that at least his entrails are not being pulled out and he is only going to be metaphorically drawn and quartered for going against the New Orthodoxy.

    And in 50 years or so our kids will all lie on the same beaches we have today and remember him as being a prophet. Well, probably not. Al Gore will be the hero for having saved us from a threat just as serious as the one that got Chicken Little so worked up. It’s that Prius his kid was driving (who knew they could to 100!)

  3. Anonymous Avatar

    Gross — Please, the politicians who hounded him out, who are so concerned about his corporate funding, fill their campaign coffers from the same sources. If industry funding is suspect, so is special interest funding from the left. Put it all out there, show your data, and the scientific process will sort it out. And when you see data being vilified and the sources demonized, it is time to wonder what they don’t want you to know.

  4. Jim Bacon Avatar

    Michaels should be judged on the basis of his scientific arguments, some of which you can read on “The World Climate Report” blog.

    That said, I do agree with Larry that in an ideal world, Michaels should be open about where his funding comes from. The fact that his funding sources wish to remain unidentified only raises suspicion. *Why* do they wish to remain unidentified? What are they hiding?

    On the other hand, that logic should not be applied selectively against Michaels. It holds true to all scientists and environmental advocacy groups that make pronouncements on the subject of Global Warming. Everyone’s funding sources should be transparent.

  5. Larry Gross Avatar
    Larry Gross

    If someone is claiming to be objective..dispassionate and a card-carrying member of the scientic community interested in where the truth takes us no matter how painful….

    …… then.. taking money from an organization/business that stands to gain or lose depending on the result of your study… AND wants you to keep them identity secret ..

    and a scientific person accept those conditions… and still expect the public at large to trust your opinion….

    well.. all I can say.. is anyone who thinks this is not a problem and/or is sympathetic to the “victim” status of this guy…

    .. I’ve got some land for sale in a swamp.

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