I don't see this as meaning Pat Michaels is in trouble. Assuming it is
true, it is quite likely that he didn't know about the details of the
set-up of the State Climatologist position - and even if he did, good
luck proving it :-)
I suppose it's possible that he might lose the position, if that is all
On the other hand there are real gottchas lurking in the grass. (In
what follows I assume that there was no valid long term appointment).
If nothing else, Michaels has testified under oath as the State
Climatologiest of Virginia, he has accepted his salary (even got
raises) over many years. It would not be unusual in a case like this
that he would have to pay back the money. There are laws against
impersonating state officials. (Of course you have to get past the
issue of whether State Climatologist is a state position in VA).
The base problem against a Sgt. Schultz defence (I don't know nothing)
is that Michaels benefited monetarily and in other ways from what is
potentially an impersonation of a state official.
OTOH, we could then go back and read all the stirring defenses of
Michaels, the eminent State Climatologist (but he did stay once at
Holiday Inn Express).
> The base problem against a Sgt. Schultz defence (I don't know nothing)
> is that Michaels benefited monetarily and in other ways from what is
> potentially an impersonation of a state official.
> OTOH, we could then go back and read all the stirring defenses of
> Michaels, the eminent State Climatologist (but he did stay once at
> Holiday Inn Express).
Eh, well, I don't see this as much more than a bureaucratic screwup.
And it distracts attention from the more substantive problems with
Michaels' public statements and science.
You are thinking like a scientist, which is what got everyone in
trouble in the first place:)
How much of his authority does Michaels derive from his position? How
does that position get him exposure in the media. Why is it hard to
argue about the substantive problems with Michaels' public statements
to someone who knows very little about climate science but sees that
Michaels is "State Climatologist"
Now think about how the argument would change if it were shown that he
is an imposter, pretending to be State Climatologist for 25 years and
Would he be very useful to the Cato Institute as the Holiday Inn
Express State Climatologist (US ad campaign see
http://youtube.com/watch?v=lgX7i0C-IK4 for an example)
Why are you so willing to immediately attribute this to a bureaucratic
screw up. Imagine what Michaels and Singer would be saying if it were
shown that Hansen's appointment documents as head of GISS could not be
As long as you think of Michaels and Singer in terms of science they
will play you like a drum. This is not about truth and justice, but it
is the American way.
> Raymond Arritt wrote:
>>Eli Rabett wrote:
>>>The base problem against a Sgt. Schultz defence (I don't know nothing)
>>>is that Michaels benefited monetarily and in other ways from what is
>>>potentially an impersonation of a state official.
>>>OTOH, we could then go back and read all the stirring defenses of
>>>Michaels, the eminent State Climatologist (but he did stay once at
>>>Holiday Inn Express).
>>Eh, well, I don't see this as much more than a bureaucratic screwup.
>>And it distracts attention from the more substantive problems with
>>Michaels' public statements and science.
> You are thinking like a scientist, which is what got everyone in
> trouble in the first place:)
> How much of his authority does Michaels derive from his position? How
> does that position get him exposure in the media. Why is it hard to
> argue about the substantive problems with Michaels' public statements
> to someone who knows very little about climate science but sees that
> Michaels is "State Climatologist"
> Now think about how the argument would change if it were shown that he
> is an imposter, pretending to be State Climatologist for 25 years and
> fooling everyone?
But you on the other hand are thinking too much like a conspiracy
theorist, and what's more, even if this really was a deliberate fraud
and Michaels was in on it from the start (which I don't believe for a
minute), I very much doubt there is any chance of demonstrating that
with any degree of verifiability this many years after the event.
It seems overwhelmingly probable that all that happened is that some
bureaucrats didn't cross their Ts and dot their Is properly due to
mix-ups and confusion between departments.
It is possible that the two buck-passing institutions responsible might
now decide that they don't want a State Climatologist, or even if they
do, they don't want it to be Pat Michaels. Some might think that either
of those outcomes would be rather agreeable. Looking beyond that is
stretching things altogether too far IMO. He still has his professorship
anyway, so won't be disappearing any time soon...except as at present
when questions are being asked :-)
> But you on the other hand are thinking too much like a conspiracy theorist,
One of the problems with this argument is that there is pretty strong
evidence of a conspiracy, and one of the reasons that the denialists
are eating the realists for lunch in the public sphere is the refusal
of the latter to confront the conspiracy.
So, let us start with the base question,
Do you think there is an organized effort, funded through a number of
obvious (and not so obvious) think tanks (Cato, CEI, Fraser Institute,
etc.) to deny the existence of human induced climate change and the
possible future consequences
All should feel free to join in.
BTW, what Michaels has is a "Research Professorship" which is a soft
money position almost certainly tied to his position as State
Climatologist. If you follow US academia, such positions have no
expectation of tenure and depend on your bringing in the $. Lose your
support and you are a rabbet.
This is from the UVa Provost Site:
Faculty members whose principal assignment is to conduct research on
sponsored programs may be given the titles research instructor,
research assistant professor, research associate professor, or research
professor. Any teaching or guidance of graduate students is generally
directly related to the professor's research program. Renewal of these
term elections is subject to availability of research funds.
It very likely is a bureaucratic screw up. It is also very likely that if
it were a screw up, Michaels was aware of it. That is not terribly
important unless conclusively provable. But you are 100% incorrect that it
is a distraction from problems with Micheals' public statements and science
and therefore unimportant.
Does Patrick Michaels' present any credible scientific arguments? I don't
think so. If the main arena for this issue were scientific, Patrick
Michaels' name would have had no meaning for a long time now. But this
debate is by far more one of appearances and PR. His sole source of
credibility is his job title and if it turns out it was never really his,
whatever the reason, he will need another.
I think one of Eli's points is that these people can only win in the PR
sphere, as the scientific debate on the major points (warming -> humans ->
danger) is long over, and by continuing at this point to focus only on the
science we basically cede the real battle field completely to the CATO and
I would like to say with regards to the current State Climatologist of
Virigia developments that, if true the Pat is not it, he remains with a very
real hope of retaining credibility through martyrdom, so all should keep
that in mind before joyously dancing on his still freash grave.
A few excerpts about state climatologists, other than Pat Michaels,
which may be of interest:
Oregon's state climatologist George Taylor:
"I definitely don't recommend making huge societal changes" based on
what may or may not happen, he said.
January 19, 2005
Colorado State Climatologist Roger Pielke Sr.
"My feeling is that the climate system is so complex that we can't
predict with skill what will happen in the future," Pielke said.
April 19, 2005
..."The subject matter is of professional interest to us, but we make
no claim of expertise in this highly complicated and politicized field
of study. Our thoughts on the issue are well represented by a policy
statement prepared by the American Association of State Climatologists
AASC Policy Statement on Climate Variability and Change (2/4/2002)
History of the State Climatologist in New Mexico
Pielke is now Professor and Colorado State Climatologist Emeritus
Senior Research Scientist CIRES University of Colorado at Boulder
Thanks for the correction to my post
My comments on the MN State Climatology program are
in an Aug 17, 2006 post to the Twincities Independent Media
Center (IMC-below). I would appreciate your comments on what
I've seen as the reluctance of many State Climatologists to
discuss climate change in their state areas of responsibility.
The fact that everyone in the state and federal offices within
Minnesota have been silent on climate change in Minnesota
and global warming has been a big frustration for me for a
number of years. For example, in January of 2000 I gave a
coordinated spring snowmelt flood outlook for the Upper
Midwest to an inter-agency winter/spring runoff outlook
planning group at the St. Paul Corps of Engineers, which
was part of my job with the National Weather Service (NWS)
North Central River Forecast Center (located Chanhassen, MN).
There were representatives from several state and federal
agencies in attendance, including the Corps, USGS, many
other state and federal emergency government people from
Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Dakota, Michigan, Iowa and
Illinois, and individuals from the State Climatology office
of Minnesota. I discussed observing earlier spring snowmelt
runoff in recent decades in the Upper Midwest and ended
my presentation with a statement made by the director of NOAA
in 2000 that global warming was already happening and would
have serious atmospheric and hydrologic consequences ahead.
My comments led to the first of four suspensions issued to me
as result of my trying to research and speak about climate and
hydrologic change in Minnesota and global warming. NWS
officially removed me from government service in a July 15, 2005
memorandum from the acting deputy director of NOAA's NWS
Central Region office, after I had served the public with NWS
in hydrologic modeling and river prediction for 29 years, 5 months.
I guess I went on here more than I figured to. My post to the
Twincities IMC follows.
What does your Minnesota State Climatology Office have to say?
17 Aug 2006
>From the Climate Change and Minnesota State Climatology Office
... "While the State Climatology Office is not actively involved in
scholarly work investigating the issue of climate change, our Office
is often called upon to offer scientific opinions on the topic. The
subject matter is of professional interest to us, but we make no claim
of expertise in this highly complicated and politicized field of
Wait a minute.
Climate change is not highly complicated. Even back in the 1980s, many
scientists figured that global warming and regional climate change
were happening. By the mid-1990s there was a strong consensus of
scientists that anthropogenic global warming was happening as a result
of greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning.
There is no excuse for saying climate change is as highly complicated.
For more than a decade the scientific journals have had a great deal
of evidence that global warming has been occurring.
Many professionals in other sciences and people in other professions
chose not to take time or make an effort to review the documentation
on global warming and climate change, leaving the task for others to
do instead. Government staff who's job it is to help protect the
public have refused to educate themselves and help educate others on
the very serious threat to life.
Climate change is has not been a politicized field of study. The
studies and research work by thousands of scientists on climate change
have not been in disagreement.
Politicization has been from non scientists.
Temperature plots: 1888-2006 avgs: monthly, annual, public view at: