Patrick J. Michaels, Ph.D., (born
February 15, 1950) is a part-time research professor of Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia. He is a former university Climatologist for Virginia, a position he held from 1980 [cite news |first= Aaron |last= Kessler |title= State: Climatologist appointed by university |url= http://www.dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CDP%2FMGArticle%2FCDP_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149190060797&path= |work= The Daily Progress (Charlottesville, VA) |date= August 19, 2006|accessdate= 2007-02-25 |quote= “The Code of Virginia does not provide for the governor to appoint a state climatologist,” [Secretary of the Commonwealth] Hanley wrote. “My office has been unable to find evidence that any governor since 1980 has made such an appointment."] [cite news |first= Carlos |last= Santos |title= Climatologist request made |url= http://www.timesdispatch.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=RTD/MGArticle/RTD_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149190056132 |work= Richmond (VA) Times-Dispatch |date= August 19, 2006|accessdate= 2007-02-25 |quote= "Michaels, who has been the [University's] state climatologist since 1980, has come under fire after news reports last month said a Colorado utility raised at least $150,000 in donations and pledges to help him analyze other scientists' global-warming research."] until his resignation in 2007 [cite news |url=http://www.cavalierdaily.com/news/2007/sep/27/michaels-resigns-as-state-climatologist/ |title=Michaels resigns as state climatologist |accessdate=2008-05-01 |last=Patterson |first=Elyse |coauthors= |date=2007-09-27 |work= Cavalier Daily] .His professional specialty was the influence of climateon agriculture. In interviews Michaels has said that he does not contest the basic scientific principles behind greenhouse warming and acknowledges that global mean temperature has increased in recent decades, though he is widely regarded in the media as a global warming skeptic[cite web | publisher=Vanity Fair | date=May 2007 | first=Michael | last=Shnayerson | title=A Convenient Untruth | accessdate=2007-05-04 | url=http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2007/05/skeptic200705] [cite web | publisher= Union of Concerned Scientists| date= 2005-10-20| title=Global Warming – Responding to Global Warming Skeptics – Prominent Skeptics Organizations | accessdate=2007-05-04 | url=http://www.ucsusa.org/global_warming/science/skeptic-organizations.html] [cite web | publisher= Capitalism Magazine| first=Tom | last=DeWeese | date= 2006-12-19| accessdate=2007-05-04 | title=The Real Inconvenient Truth About Global Warming: Skeptics Have Valid Arguments | url=http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4870] [cite web | title=The truth about global warming | date= 2005-10-11| publisher= The Seattle Times| first=Sandi | last=Doughton | accessdate=2007-05-04 | url=http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/nationworld/2002549346_globewarm11.html ] [cite web | title=ABC News Reporting Cited As Evidence In Congressional Hearing On Global Warming | publisher= ABC News| date= 2006-08-03| first=Clayton | last=Sandell | coauthors=Bill Blakemore | accessdate=2007-05-04 | url=http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=2242565&page=1 ] who contends that the changes will be minor, not catastrophic, and even beneficial in many cases. He has written extensive editorials on this topic for the mass media, and for think tanks and their publications such as "Regulation" [cite web | publisher=Regulation | volume=23 | issue=3 | date=Fall 2000 | accessdate=2007-03-14 | title=The Way of Warming | first=Patrick | last=Michaels | authorlink=Patrick Michaels | coauthors=Paul C. Knappenberger, and Robert E. Davis | url=http://www.cato.org/pubs/regulation/regv23n3/michaels5.pdf] .
He is the author of several books including: "Sound and Fury: The Science and Politics of Global Warming", 1992, "Satanic Gases", as coauthor 2002, "Meltdown: The Predictable Distortion of Global Warming by Scientists, Politicians and the Media," published by the
Cato Institute, 2004, and "Shattered Consensus: The True State of Global Warming" as editor and coauthor, 2005.
He has received financial support in research funding and consulting fees from the fossil-fuel energy industry. [cite web | title=The Heat is On: The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial | url=http://dieoff.org/page82.htm | accessdate=2007-03-14 | first=Ross | last=Gelbspan | authorlink=Ross Gelbspan | date=December 1995 | publisher=Harpers Magazine] He is a fellow of the
Cato Institute, a libertarianthink tank, and edits the World Climate Report, published and funded by the not-for-profit organization Greening Earth Societycreated by the [http://www.westernfuels.org Western Fuels Association] .
View on climate change
Michaels maintains that current and future warming will occur at the low end of the range
: " [S] cientists know quite precisely how much the planet will warm in the foreseeable future, a modest three-quarters of a degree (C) [in 50 years] "
: "All this has to do with basic physics, which isn't real hard to understand. It has been known since 1872 that as we emit more and more carbon dioxide into our atmosphere, each increment results in less and less warming. In other words, the first changes produce the most warming, and subsequent ones produce a bit less, and so on. But we also assume carbon dioxide continues to go into the atmosphere at an ever-increasing rate. In other words, the increase from year-to-year isn't constant, but itself is increasing. The effect of increasing the rate of carbon dioxide emissions, coupled with the fact that more and more carbon dioxide produces less and less warming compels our climate projections for the future warming to be pretty much a straight line. Translation: Once human beings start to warm the climate, they do so at a constant rate. " [cite news | last = Michaels | first = Patrick | title = Posturing and reality on warming | publisher =
Washington Times| date = 2003-10-16| url = http://www.cato.org/research/articles/michaels-031016.html | accessdate = 2008-04-19 ]
Attempted betting on global warming
Like global warming skeptics
Richard Lindzenand William M. Gray, Michaels' World Climate Report offered in late 1998 "to wager that the 10-year period beginning in January 1998 and extending through December 2007 will show a statistically significant downward trend in the monthly satellite record of global temperatures." [cite web | title=Logic Goes Extinct As Press Overplays Overpeck | publisher= World Climate Report| volume=4 | number=8 | date= December 28, 1998| accessdate=2007-03-14 | url=http://www.worldclimatereport.com/archive/previous_issues/vol4/v4n8/feature.htm ] After learning of the bet offer in 2005, climatologist James Annanattempted to accept World Climate Report's offer, but it was withdrawn.
CFCs and ozone
Michaels has also engaged in the controversy concerning whether
CFCsare a cause of ozone depletionin the stratosphere. In particular, he has criticised predictions of thinning of the ozone layer over the Arctic, and of increasing ultraviolet radiation reaching the surface of the earth, in the absence of a phaseout CFC emissions. The Montreal Protocolof 1989 required such a phaseout.
Although scientists generally considered the basis for the relationship between CFCs and the ozone layer to be settled by 1995, when the
Nobel Prize for Chemistrywas awarded to Paul Crutzen, Mario Molina, and Sherwood Rowlandfor their work that demonstrated physical mechanisms for the effects of CFCs on ozone depletion, Michaels persisted in advocating against the CFC phaseout as late as 2001. [cite web | title=The Environmentalists of Summer | first=Patrick J. | last=Michaels | date= 2000-06-01| url=http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=9749 | publisher= Heartland Institute| accessdate=2007-05-04 ] [cite web | title=An October Environmental Surprise? | first=Patrick J. | last=Michaels | date= 2000-09-29| url=http://www.cato.org/pub_display.php?pub_id=4490 | publisher= Cato Institute| accessdate=2007-05-04 ] [cite web | title=Global warming: Watson indulges in scare tactics . . . again | first=Patrick J. | last=Michaels | publisher= Heartland Institute| date= 2001-03-01| accessdate=2007-05-04 | url=http://www.heartland.org/Article.cfm?artId=1165 ]
Intermountain Rural Electric Association controversy
July 27, 2006ABC News report, it was revealed that a Colorado energy cooperative, the Intermountain Rural Electric Association, had given Michaels $100,000. The report noted that the cooperative has a vested interest in opposing mandatory carbon dioxide caps. The wider context of the report concerned entities within the fossil fuel industry giving money to scientists in an effort to create a perception that there is a lack of consensus in the scientific community regarding global warming. [cite news | title=ABC News Reporting Cited As Evidence In Congressional Hearing On Global Warming | url=http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/print?id=2242565 | accessdate=2007-03-14 | first=Clayton | last=Sandell | coauthors=Bill Blakemore | date= July 27, 2006| work= ABC News] But Michaels has long been a skeptic of what he sees as environmental alarmism. He does not, however, deny the existence of anthropogenic global warming.
Michaels was a member of the Advisory board of
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, an organization later shown to have been founded by PR firm APCO Worldwideand funded by the Phillip Morriscorporation to criticise scientific research inimical to the interests of tobacco companies and other corporations [http://tobaccodocuments.org/pm/2505646347-6368.html?zoom=750&ocr_position=above_foramatted&start_page=21] .
In 2006, the Governor of Virginia,
Timothy M. Kaineclarified that Virginia does not have an official state climatologist. Former Gov. John Dalton had appointed Michaels to the position in 1980, but in 2000 the University of Virginia (rather than the state government) assumed responsibility for certification through the American Association of State Climatologists. A letter sent to the University of Virginia by Secretary of the Commonwealth Katherine Hanley clarified that the Code of Virginia "does not provide for the governor to appoint a state climatologist." [cite news | title=State: Climatologist appointed by university "Michaels no longer Virginia official" | first=Aaron | last=Kessler | date= August 19, 2006| accessdate=2007-03-14 | publisher= The Daily Progress| url=http://www.dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=CDP%2FMGArticle%2FCDP_BasicArticle&c=MGArticle&cid=1149190060797&path= ] . Hanley made it clear that Michaels works for the university, not the state government. Michaels was asked to "avoid any conflict of interest or appearance thereof by scrupulously avoiding the use of the title of 'state climatologist' in connection with any outside activities or private consulting endeavors." [cite news | title=Virginia asks state climatologist to limit use of title | first=Steve | last=Szkotak | publisher= WVEC| work= Associated Press| date= August 19, 2006| accessdate=2007-03-14 | url=http://www.wvec.com/sharedcontent/APStories/stories/D8JJL8100.html ] . The American Association of State Climatologists (AASC) lists Michaels as State Climatologist at the University of Virginia and its State Climatology Office. [cite web |title=American Association of State Climatologists: Virginia |url=http://www.stateclimate.org/state.php?state_id=VA See also Michaels's UVA Dept. of Environmental Sciences [http://www.evsc.virginia.edu/faculty/people/michaels.shtml faculty bio] and the [http://www.evsc.virginia.edu/research/vsco.shtml Virginia State Climatology Office] .] In late September 2007, Michaels and the head of the Environmental Sciences Department, Jay Zieman, confirmed that Michaels officially resigned as State Climatologist, but remains on the faculty of the University of Virginia as a part time research professor on leave. [cite web | title= Former climatologist will pursue research work |accessdate=not found 4/18/08| first=Bob | last=Gibson | publisher= The Daily Progress| date= September 26, 2007| url=http://www.dailyprogress.com/servlet/Satellite?pagename=Common%2FMGArticle%2FPrintVersion&c=MGArticle&cid=1173352893933&
A number of prominent scientists have criticized Michaels' research conclusions.
John Holdrenof Harvard Universitytold the U.S. SenateRepublican Policy Committee, "Michaels is another of the handful of U.S. 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." [cite web | url=http://stephenschneider.stanford.edu/Publications/PDF_Papers/HoldrenRPCClimateComments.pdf | accessdate=2007-03-14 | date= June 9, 2003| author=John P. Holdren | title=Comments by John P. Holdren on “The Shaky Science Behind the Climate Change Sense of the Congress Resolution” - US Senate Republican Policy Committee]
Tom Wigley, [cite pressrelease| http://www.agu.org/sci_soc/prrl/prrl0319.html | title=Leading Climate Scientists Reaffirm View that Late 20th Century Warming Was Unusual and Resulted From Human Activity | publisher= American Geophysical Union| date=2003-07-07 | accessdate=2007-05-27 ] a lead author of parts of the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is quoted in Ross Gelbspan's book "The Heat is On" [cite book | title=The Heat is On | publisher=Perseus Books | first=Ross | last=Gelbspan | date=August 1997 | isbn=0201132958 | authorlink=Ross Gelbspan] : "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." [cite pressrelease | title=Science, Climate Change, and Censorship: The Pacific Institute, Patrick Michaels, and the science of climate change | url=http://www.pacinst.org/press_center/censorship/ | publisher= Pacific Institute| accessdate=2007-05-16]
Peter Gleick, a conservation analyst and president of the Oakland-based
Pacific Institute, 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." [cite web | url=http://www.pacinst.org/climate_change/star_press.html | accessdate=2007-03-14 | date= November 18, 2003| author=Seth Slabaugh | publisher= The Star Press| title=Global warming speaker under fire]
title=Changing Heat-Related Mortality in the United States
first1=R.E. | last1=Davies
first2=P.C. | last2=Knappenberger
first3=P.J. | last3=Michaels | author3-link=Patrick Michaels
first4=W.M. | last4=Novicoff
journal=Environmental Health Perspectives
volume=111 | year=2003
first1=P.J. | last1=Michaels | author1-link=Patrick Michaels
first2=S.F. | last2=Singer | author2-link=Fred Singer
first3=P.C. | last3=Knappenberger
first4=J.B. | last4=Kerr
first5=C.T. | last5=McElroy
title=Analyzing ultraviolet-B radiation--is there a trend?
volume=264 | issue=5163 | pages=1341-1343 | year=1994
first1=Patrick J. | last1=Michaels | author1-link=Patrick Michaels
first2=Paul C. | last2=Knappenberger
title=Human effect on global climate?
volume=384 | issue=6609 | pages=522-523 | year=1996
first1=Robert E. | last1=Davis
first2=Paul C. | last2=Knappenberger
first3=Wendy M. | last3=Novicoff
first4=Patrick J. | last4=Michaels | author4-link=Patrick Michaels
title=Decadal changes in heat-related human mortality in the eastern United States
volume=22 | pages=175-184 | year=2002
first1=Patrick J. | last1=Michaels | author1-link=Patrick Michaels
first2=Robert C. | last2=Balling Jr. | author2-link=Robert Balling
first3=Paul C. | last3=Knappenberger
title=Analysis of trends in the variability of daily and monthly historical temperature measurements
volume=10 | pages=27-33 | year=1998
* [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/ World Climate Report] , Patrick Michaels, [http://www.worldclimatereport.com/index.php/personnel/ Chief Editor]
* [http://www.evsc.virginia.edu/faculty/people/michaels.shtml U. of Virginia bio]
* [http://www.cato.org/people/michaels.html Cato Institute bio]
* [http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120847988943824973.html?mod=opinion_main_commentaries "Our Climate Numbers Are a Big Old Mess"] , commentary by Michaels from
Wall Street Journal
* [http://www.pacinst.org/press_center/censorship/index.htm Science, Climate Change, and Censorship] , commentary by Michaels published by the
* [http://washingtontimes.com/commentary/20031015-085235-5134r.htm Posturing and reality on warming] , "Washington Times" commentary by Michaels
* [http://abcnews.go.com/Technology/GlobalWarming/story?id=2242565&page=1 Making Money and Feeding Confusion About Global Warming] ABC News
* [http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/07/27/AR2006072701058.html Associated Press: "Utilities Give Warming Skeptic Big Bucks"]
27 July 2006
* On [http://home.att.net/~espi/ The Environmental Science and Policy Institute] website, Justin Lancaster [http://home.att.net/~espi/Cosmos_myth.html claims] that Michaels participated with
Fred Singerin crafting and executing a strategy to discredit Al Gore through the use of Roger Revelle's name and reputation. No evidence appears to be provided that Michaels participated knowingly, however. Fred Singer has [http://media.hoover.org/documents/0817939326_283.pdf denied] the allegations.
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