Pat Michaels update

Robert McClure reports:

Now the Society of Environmental Journalists’ Watchdog Tipsheet has just revealed that Michaels withdrew as an expert witness in a recently decided landmark court case in which automakers sought to turn back state efforts to rein in cars’ production of greenhouse gasses.

Michaels said he would testify only if his funders’ identities could be kept secret, court documents show. Later, when Greenpeace intervened in the case specifically to pry loose that list, Michaels complained that his consulting firm, New Hope Environmental Services Inc. would suffer.

Because fossil fuel companies only want to give him money if they can keep it secret … (Hat tip Kevin Grandia.)

And Michaels has at last resigned from his position as state climatologist:

Virginia’s state climatologist, whose doubts about global warming and utility-industry funding made him a lightning rod on climate change issues, quietly left his position over the summer. …

That view caused Gov. Timothy M. Kaine’s office to ask Michaels last year to refrain from using his title when conducting non-state business because of fears his views would be perceived as an official state position.

The governor’s office said Michaels, who was appointed by former Gov. John N. Dalton, was not a gubernatorial appointee, contending his office had become U.Va.’ s domain in 2000.

Michaels, 57, called his resignation a sad result of the fact that his state climatologist funding had become politicized, compromising his academic freedom.

More from Eli Rabett and Benjamin Cohen.


  1. #1 stewart
    September 30, 2007

    It’s a sad day when denialists are forced to abandon honourary titles tht appear to conflict with their other activities, or reveal the sources of their funding. Almost as sad as when they have to abandon groundless lawsuits, or when people don’t take their legal threats seriously.

    So, now that he isn’t muzzled, what will he bring up? The mind wobbles. Of course, he would start all comments with disclaimers like “No, I am no longer the VA state climatologist’, and ‘No, my funders don’t want their names revealed’, and “Yes, I have been funded directly by the coal industry’.
    Whatever happened to to Tim Ball, D.Sc., Prof. (emeritus)?

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