A REAL Climate Scandal Emerges – Will the Media Pay Attention to Skepticgate?

Written by Mike G

Topics: Climate, Oil

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Pat Michaels confessesRemember Climategate? Right before the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen in December 2009, somebody hacked the University of East Anglia’s servers and stole a bunch of emails between climate researchers. As the world’s leaders debated a global treaty to deal with the climate crisis facing our planet, the mainstream media paid an inordinate amount of attention to these emails and the allegations — largely made by climate deniers — that the contents constituted definitive proof that global warming was some kind of hoax.

Ultimately, several official inquiries into the matter cleared the climate researchers of any wrongdoing. Several newspapers even printed retractions, but the damage was done. Many folks came away feeling the credibility of the field of climate science had just been dealt a serious blow, and the world’s leaders had the cover they needed to commit to nothing more than a non-binding political agreement in Copenhagen — an agreement that most agree will do nothing to deal with the enormity of the problem it purports to address.

This week, a for-real climate scandal emerged: Pat Michaels, a prominent climate denier and senior environmental studies fellow at the Cato Institute, testified before Congressman Henry Waxman’s Energy and Commerce Committee in February 2009 that only about 3% of his funding came from the dirty energy industry — but then last August Michaels publicly admitted that he actually gets more like 40% of his funds from Big Oil.

Our friends over at Greenpeace USA just broke the story that Rep. Henry Waxman is now calling for an investigation into whether or not Michaels deliberately misled Congress when he lied about the sources of his funding.

Of course, none of this should really surprise anyone. During that particular congressional hearing, Michaels was the only “expert” who stated that climate change was not a serious issue requiring congressional action, and that regulation responding to what he called “overestimated” global warming scientific data could have a “very counterproductive effect.” As Waxman wrote in his letter to the new Republican Committee Chairman Fred Upton calling for an investigation, “Among the scientists who testified before this Committee on the issue of climate change in the last Congress, Dr. Michaels was the only one to dismiss the need to act on climate change.” Unless Michaels has access to totally different data from the rest of us, it was pretty obvious he was being paid to downplay the severity of global warming.

Now, I’m not saying that all climate deniers are funded by dirty energy industries… just that I can’t fathom why anyone would advocate doing nothing in the face of a crisis as dire as global warming if they weren’t being paid handsomely to do so. I’m not surprised at all to find out Pat Michaels is no exception to that rule. Hell, being a senior fellow at the Cato Institute, it’s pretty much a foregone conclusion that Michaels is on the dirty industry payroll.

Help blow this story up — this is an actual climate scandal, unlike “Climategate.” It’s being called Skepticgate. Tweet it (#Skepticgate), post about it on Facebook, blog it, whatever you can do. Force the media to pay as much attention to this real climate scandal as they did to the bogus climate scandal pushed by dirty industry-funded hacks.

3 Comments For This Post I'd Love to Hear Yours!

  1. christhi says:

    Are you for real?

    Ever heard of solar cycles and the ongoing geomagnetic movement? Climatologists refuse to even talk about the role of these in the current climatic mayhem (going as far as omitting the existence of the magnetosphere!).

    Tell me which of these were seriously discussed, with resolutions being taken, in Copenhagen or Cancun summits:

    - BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, especially the toxic chemical known as “CorExit”, massively spread in the Gulf in order to hide the spill by making it go down to the sea floor.

    - Logging industry still cutting out forests -and rainforests- which even more contributes to global accumulation of carbon dioxide in the air. At least in the ’80s mainstream environmentalists widely understood the role of forests -and their clean-cut- on Earth’s entire atmosphere. What happened since then? Did their politics of compromise eventually turned them into corporate whores, who now compromise their own rhetoric in the favor of higher (capitalistic) interests?

    - Destructive commercial and housing developments everywhere in touristy areas of the world, that so contributes killing the environment by eradicating ecosystems and stealing most of natural water sources (thus contributing to drought, death of the flora in entire regions and even more WARMING). Such arrogance that the Cancun summit took place in one of these areas highly-devastated devastated by the tourism industry, the Yucatan coast, without openly denouncing this problem.

    - The gigantic tar sands oil exploitation in northern Canada, that destroys entire ecosystems by the hundreds of kilometers and heavily pollutes rivers with toxic waste coming from the hydraulic extraction of oil from the sands. Go ask local Native people in northern Alberta on the quality of river water they use for a living… too bad the animals and plants in the area can’t tell you as well!

    You may point back the finger at the “climate skeptics” as much as you like, but the facts are that YOU don’t have any power over the things being discussed and decided in Copenhagen and Cancun. This is a tightly-secured elitist circle of discussion were agents from big oil corporations like BP and Shell have more say than real environmentalists.

    As far as the big oil industry is controlling governments, just as the big pharma and the military-industrial complex are, it’s worthless to put your faith in any conventional politics for protecting the environment.

    Put that in your pipe, if you’re any more real than the smoke coming out from it.

  2. d.o. says:

    Did the guy testify under oath?

  3. Mike G says:

    @christhi,

    I’m not really sure what exactly you’re trying to argue here, but I’d like to respond as best I can.

    First off, you cited a couple common denier canards, namely: that solar activity and the Earth’s shifting magnetic field are the real drivers of climate change. Many climate scientists probably don’t talk about these things because they are red herrings, meant to distract from the true cause of climate change — that being the enormous amount of greenhouse gas emissions we see year after year. Still, some climate scientists occasionally take the time to explain why these denier canards are bogus.

    Here are several responses to claims about solar activity being the cause of global warming: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2004/12/index/#Solar

    Here’s one about the geomagnetic movement claim: http://www.realclimate.org/index.php/archives/2007/12/les-chevaliers-de-l%E2%80%99ordre-de-la-terre-plate-part-ii-courtillots-geomagnetic-excursion/

    As for the rest of your claims…

    The BP oil spill hadn’t happened by Copenhagen, so I don’t see any fault in it not being discussed. I wasn’t at Cancun, so can’t tell you about that. But I’m certain climate activists made it an issue, and equally certain that no resolutions were taken to prevent a future oil spill. I agree that that’s a shame, because it’s not a question of IF there’s another oil spill, but WHEN. Would be great if the UN climate treaty process would pass resolutions to stop the next spill before it happens, we agree on that.

    Logging/deforestation is usually a pretty hot topic at the UN climate conferences. They usually discuss it in terms of a mechanism called REDD — reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation.

    Housing developments are an issue that deserve to be discussed, I agree. Tar sands are also a major problem. I know in Copenhagen the tar sands were a topic at the top of most climate activists’ minds. Not sure how much discussion there was about limiting the exploitation of tar sands oil, but I’m sure it wasn’t enough. I’m also sure there were no resolutions on development and tar sands, which is bad news for us all.

    I’m not really clear what argument you’re trying to make with your closing there, but I think it’s awfully misguided of you to try and call us out for pointing the finger at climate skeptics who are on the corporate payroll. You seem to be decrying corporate influence in the process, why shouldn’t we call out phony experts who take money from corporate polluters and then pretend to be impartial researchers who have come to the conclusion that climate change isn’t a serious problem? To me, that seems to be one of the most vital things we can do to counter the influence of corporate money on the climate policy process.

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