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Climate Skeptic Pat Michaels Admits He’s Funded by Oil Industry

2 min. read

This interview took place a few months ago, but it’s well worth providing it a bit more airplay, given that admissions like this occur so rarely. As many long suspected, leading climate “skeptic” Pat Michaels admitted to CNN what many long suspected:  he’s heavily funded by the oil industry that has a core interest in propagandizing away the increasingly strong and daming scientific consensus on global climate disruption.

So, what does Big Oil receive for its money, even if it “only” constitutes 40% of Michaels’ funding? Among other things, Big Oil gets papers like this one by Michaels, for the libertarian, climate-change-denying CATO Institute front group:

The effects of this warming have been benign or beneficial. The growing season has lengthened by about three days at U.S. latitudes and a week at more northern locations. Warming the coldest winter air masses has also reduced the annual temperature range. Stream flow records indicate decreased drought and no change in floods. And heat-related deaths declined with effective temperature.

No known mechanism can stop global warming in the near term. International agreements such as the Kyoto Protocol would have no detectable effect on average temperature within any reasonable policy time frame of 50 years or so — even with full compliance. Beyond 50 years, we have little, if any, idea what the energy infrastructure of our society will be. To highlight the folly of any such projection, compare the energy related concerns of 1900, when pundits cautioned that major U.S. cities would be knee deep in horse “emissions” by 1930 unless we saw fit to “act now,” with those of 2000.  We simply cannot predict our future. Rather, the more serious question provoked by the facts on global warming is this one: Is the way the planet warms something that we should even try to stop?

As it turns out, almost every word in that two-paragraph excerpt is either blatantly wrong or highly misleading.  For instance, Michaels is completely wrong that the “effects of this warming have been benign or beneficial.” In fact, according to NASA, “Effects that scientists had predicted in the past would result from global climate change are now occurring: loss of sea ice, accelerated sea level rise and longer, more intense heat waves.”

Obviously, none of those effects are “benign or beneficial.” Even worse, according to NASA and the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the following phenomena are “likely,” “very likely,” or “very certain” to occur in coming years: 1) “Contraction of snow cover areas, increased thaw in permafrost regions, decrease in sea ice extent;” 2) “Increased frequency of hot extremes, heat waves and heavy precipitation;” 3) “Increase in tropical cyclone intensity;” 4) “Precipitation increases in high latitudes;” 5) “Precipitation decreases in subtropical land regions;” and 6) “Decreased water resources in many semi-arid areas, including western U.S. and Mediterranean basin.”

The bottom line here is that Michaels is not just wrong, he’s lying.  And he’s being paid by the dirty energy lobby to do so, even if their money makes up “only” 40% of Michaels’ income. From the dirty energy lobby’s perspective, no doubt it’s money well spent.