FRIDAY, JANUARY 28, 2011
THE BLOG OF THE RAINFOREST ACTION NETWORK

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

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. [youtube fguJod_voPc 550 334] 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.

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