Key Climate Denial Center Closing

May 29, 2019

E&E News:

The Cato Institute quietly shut down a program that for years sought to raise uncertainty about climate science, leaving the libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch without an office dedicated to global warming.
The move came after Pat Michaels, a climate scientist who rejects mainstream researchers’ concerns about rising temperatures, left Cato earlier this year amid disagreements with officials in the organization.
“They informed me that they didn’t think their vision of a think tank was in the science business, and so I said, ‘OK, bye,'” Michaels said in an interview yesterday. “There had been some controversy going around the building for some time, so things got to a situation where they didn’t work out.”
A spokeswoman said Cato’s shuttering of the Center for the Study of Science does not represent a shift in the institute’s position on human-caused climate change. But the think tank moved decisively to close down the science wing that was overseen by Michaels. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist and former adjunct scholar, also left the center.
“While it is true that, with the departure of Pat Michaels, we have deactivated our Center for the Study of Science, we continue to work on science policy issues,” Khristine Brookes, the spokeswomen, wrote in an email. She didn’t mention climate change.
Michaels is among a small number of academics with legitimate climate science credentials who downplay the human contribution to rising temperatures. He is a frequent guest on Fox News and other conservative outlets, and he has spent years attacking efforts to address climate change. He was influential in the administration of President George H.W. Bush, and he helped turn the GOP away from climate policy at a time when conservatives were embracing it (Climatewire, Dec. 5, 2018). That shift has endured.

Cato also is no longer affiliated with Richard Lindzen, an emeritus professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has long been critical of established climate science. Lindzen was a distinguished fellow at the think tank. It’s unclear when he left Cato, and Brookes declined to comment on personnel issues.
Maue, who worked with Michaels, said other think tanks cultivated closer relationships with the Trump White House.
“In terms of climate change and regulation, Cato was not a big player at all in the Trump administration,” he said.
Michaels was not asked to take part in the White House plan for an “adversarial” review of climate science related to the National Climate Assessment. Michaels has been critical of government climate reports for decades and has published research in major scientific journals. Both of those are seen as attributes by recruiters in charge of finding experts for the White House panel.
Michaels has spent years attacking climate modeling, which he claims ran hot, despite evidence from NASA that contradicted his claims and demonstrated that models were largely accurate. He has also portrayed academic researchers in climate-related fields as beholden to funding that incentivizes them to produce alarming research. The Cato Institute has received millions of dollars from the Koch network, the Mercer Family Foundation, Exxon Mobil Corp. and other foundations that oppose regulations.
Maue said the Niskanen Center, which was founded by Cato alumnus Jerry Taylor, has attracted conservative followers with its middle-of-the-road climate policy. That’s appealing to businesses that help fund think tanks and to those that might support policy positions on climate in the post-Trump era, he said.
“That’s attractive to business and politicians who don’t really want to see the climate flame wars continuing on,” Maue said in an interview. “I think many businesses have taken an approach to what’s going to happen and, assuming Trump isn’t around in 2021, what’s coming down the pike.”
Still, Maue said that one of Michaels’ lasting contributions in the climate policy debate was to create a position where one can accept that humans are affecting the climate but not as much as the vast majority of scientists claim. It’s now a de facto position for many Republican lawmakers who acknowledge that humans are contributing to climate change but don’t want to restrict fossil fuel use.
“Where Pat’s influence is is in the term ‘lukewarming,'” Maue said. “Lukewarming is not climate denial; it’s just that he’s taking, and most of us on this side of the issue believe in lower climate sensitivity. We don’t believe there’s going to be 5 degrees of warming; we figure it’s at the lower end of 1.5 degrees.”
The vast majority of climate scientists believe that the world could warm 1.5 degrees Celsius above preindustrial levels within the next two decades and accelerate through the end of the century, with some estimates placing warming above 5 C.

Below, Jerry Taylor was formerly an anti-science shill for Cato, and although he never mentions Pat Michaels by name, he does say now that the expert at Cato he relied on for climate info, turned out to be dishonest.


19 Responses to “Key Climate Denial Center Closing”

  1. dumboldguy Says:

    It’s nice to see the old whores aging and losing their attractiveness, and since the whorehouse (Cato) is losing clients, it’s closing down the wing where Michaels toiled. Business is business, and apparently climate change “tricks” are doing it anymore.

    Are there any young whores coming up through the science ranks to replace the old, wrinkled, and smelly ones? Not aware of any.

  2. Terry Donte Says:

    The mob is not science no matter how many are PHd’s or politians on the take or ordinary citizens. In science one can look at the data, make a hypothesis and test it while others look at your data and see if the test and hypothesis are supported. In contrast the mob of other scientists or not see money on the wall, power on the wall and go for it.

    This site, for example, does not refute the lag time between the melting of the last ice age and CO2, It does not refute the Star satellite data which shows a cooling trend. It does not refute the Modtran model which does not support the current PC models. Ocean rise trends are stable and have been for decades at about 3 inches in the next 100 years. The data does not support the hypothesis of man caused climate change. The models have a huge number of self fulfilling assumptions built into the code. The temperature data has been altered a whole lot as well from the actual records and huge holes in the temperature data have simply been plugged with assumptions. Data from proxies indicates it is warmer than it was in 1600, the depths of the little ice age, it is colder than in 1000 AD with a lot more CO2 today. If one looks at the various studies on CO2 concentrations, it never has been as high as today when the last ice age started, when it ended over per some research in a few hundred years, the three warm periods since and the little ice age with a fourth warm period today which started before the rise in CO2. That leaves the sun which cannot be taxed and cannot be rationed and cannot be controlled so the mob settled on CO2.

    • ubrew12 Says:

      “the mob settled on CO2” In 1856? That’s when CO2 was first shown to be a powerful greenhouse gas. The first such paper noted in its Conclusions that if CO2 were higher than at present, temperature would necessarily be higher as well. And I’m not even talking about Arrhenius’ hand calculations in 1896 that indicated that if CO2 doubled, temperature would rise between 2 and 6 C (the current estimate is 2 and 4.5 C). With a couple semesters of Atmospheric Physics, and a spreadsheet, you can make Arrhenius’ calculation yourself (its a steady-state calculation in which time is not a factor, so very easy to do). Why don’t you, instead of claiming that some kind of ‘mob’ settled on CO2 for convenience? When the ‘mob’ is the Physics and the Math that YOU YOURSELF have put together, it gets a little harder to dismiss. Don’t buy into every conspiracy theory you run across. Sometimes the inconvenient conclusions of Science are just where the Science leads. In this case, 120 years ago.

    • Keith McClary Says:

      Re your first point:
      Is there any significant argument against this in the scientific literature?

    • greenman3610 Says:

      this is a perfect example of a Gish Gallop, so named after a young earth creationist who perfected the technique of shotgunning pseudo scientific sounding memes with such rapidity that he could run out the clock before an honest, informed science advocate could refute them all.
      There is so much dishonesty here that it strains the boundaries of civil discourse on this forum.

      As an example, I’ll just post my very well worn video refutation of the “co2 lag” nonsense that you reference.

      Up your game or you’re out.

      • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

        Am I missing something here? The temp vs CO2 graph has two unrelated Y axes. Change any origin or scale and the lag can become a lead or any gap one wants.

        • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

          The temp vs CO2 graph has two unrelated Y axes. Change any origin or scale and the lag can become a lead or any gap one wants.

          It’s an overlay of two graphs with a shared timeline. Of course the temp or CO2 Y axes can be squashed or stretched, but the issue is to show how the shape of the curves change over time, with the lag measured as the difference between peak values.


          • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

            Yep, the penny dropped on the lag between peaks a milli microsecond after I pressed post. Also should watch the entire video before heading off on a rant.
            Still, the point of different axes on one graph is misused, especially by the wankerspere, to provide visual proof of BS. The Caillon graph is unfortunately and constantly being misused, not his fault.
            What does HTH stand for? Should I be insulted?

          • dumboldguy Says:

            It means “Hope That Helps” or “How The Hell”, according to the sources I consult to try to understand the younger and “hipper’ folk. Google “internet slang” or “urban dictionary”.

          • Brent Jensen-Schmidt Says:

            Thanks woofer. Have no interpreter and haven’t sorted the actual words of some of yours. Never ambiguity as to their meaning mind you.

      • dumboldguy Says:

        Terry is so ignorant and inept that his Gish Gallop is more of a Gish Stumble, and it’s frequently punctuated with regular falls and face plants. He will never “up his game”, just as pigs will never fly—-send him on his way—-the folks at WUWT are waiting for him to make a grand appearance.

    • >The temperature data has been altered a whole lot as well from the actual records and huge holes in the temperature data have simply been plugged with assumptions.

      Why temperature data adjustments?

      Read my short twitter tutorial:

      Note that the green temperature curves in the plots shown were computed from **raw** data.

    • rsmurf Says:

      Give it up… still citing old bullshit.

  3. Canman Says:

    100% of Pat Michaels funding came from the largest, most influential, fossil fuel interest group of all — people who use fossil fuels.

    • dumboldguy Says:


    • rhymeswithgoalie Says:

      It isn’t as if people who mindlessly used fossil fuels knew of an accessible alternative.

      That’s like talking about users of inefficient incandescent light bulbs. For almost a century home lamps and fixtures used because that’s what society, commerce and manufacturing provided to the masses. Now that regulatory pressures have pushed industry away from incandescents to CFLs and LEDs, consumers have other, much more energy-efficient options. In the US, incandescents are well on the way out (but save some for your Easy-Bake Oven).

      For many decades after Exxon knew about the problem of FF-driven climate change it worked to hide this information and keep it off the public’s radar. Car makers deferred making investments in mass-market-worthy EVs until the market disruptors pioneered their production (starting at the high end consumers, as with all new tech). Government officials have been misinformed, lobbied and bribed by FF interests to the detriment of the citizens they are supposed to represent.

      I do have a lot of negative things to say about my EV, though: No tailpipe, no muffler, no catalytic converter, no air filter, no fuel filter, no oil filter, no oil changes, no timing belts, no transmission/gearbox, no radiator, no gas tank, no grill.

      • Abel Adamski Says:

        And the lack of noise gives that dreaded silence that allows one to think (depending on capability)

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