A Few Things Ill Considered

A layman's take on the science of Global Warming featuring a guide on How to Talk to a Climate Sceptic.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

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Pat Michaels and the Holiday Inn Express

"State Climatologist? No, I'm no State Climatologist. But I did stay at a Holiday Inn Express once." (that chuckle from Eli Rabbet in the Global Change google group)

One interesting development while I was away last month concerns Patrick Michaels, one of the gaggle of standard climate sceptic voices. It seemed to have started with a leaked memo from an electric/coal company that discussed some of their global warming denial strategy and mentioned having earmarked $100,000 for Dr. Michaels. Tim Lambert discusses it briefly here, and Real Climate talked about its scientific point of view here.

Then in this post, Eli Rabett noted some digging into Michaels' background was calling into question just whether or not the position of State Climatologist of Virginia, the title on Pat Michaels' business card, even exists! Eli has further thoughts and developments here, very much worth reading, including an aparent game of "Hot Potatoe" between the State and the University of Virginia with Michaels as the potatoe, and official requests that he ensure no one thinks he actually represents anybody when he makes his speeches and writes his op-eds.

Does it matter? One poster in the Global Change thread thought it only distracts from the problems with Michaels' scientific arguments.

But 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 the arena in which the climate sceptics are effective is by far more one of appearances and PR. In this arena, Michaels' 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 source of credibility.

The only risk is that he gets this from martyrdom. To avoid this, anyone concerned about the scientific part of the debate should avoid dancing on the State Climatologist of Virginia's grave!

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  • At September 19, 2006 11:51 AM, Blogger Dano said…

    Good post, sir, I'd only change one thing: add quote marks. Viz.:

    Michaels' 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 source of "credibility".

    Keep up the good work, sir.



  • At September 19, 2006 12:38 PM, Blogger coby said…

    It's a good suggestion, but then again, his credibility is unfortunately very real, if undeserved. I'll let your comment, being first, add that nuance.

    Thanks for the feedback!

  • At September 19, 2006 12:44 PM, Blogger Dano said…

    It's just a tactic or signal that some can understand, coby.

    You see it used, for example, with "projections" and "consensus".




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