Saturday, December 10th, 2016

Who is Patrick Michaels?

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Climategate has impact on Wisconsin

UW grad challenges global warming orthodoxy

   (James Wigderson is a blogger publishing at http://www.wigderson.com and a Waukesha resident. His column runs Thursdays in The Freeman.) 

   Who is Patrick Michaels? Michaels is a scientist at the center of the global warming controversy and the target of many e-mails revealed in the Climategate scandal.
   Climategate is the scandal resulting from the public exposure of thousands of e-mails from researchers connected to University of East Anglia’s Climate Research Unit (CRU). The e-mails allegedly reveal that what underlies the global warming “consensus” is a pattern of data massaging, avoidance of sharing data to prevent proper peer review, and behind-the-scenes efforts to silence critics.
   Not exactly the scientific method we were taught in high school.
   Michaels, who received his Ph.D. in ecological climatology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1979, has challenged the research integrity of one of the leading advocates of the theory of human-caused global warming. As revealed by the Climategate emails, the reaction tended toward the violent. One scientific “peer” of Michaels even suggested he would “beat the crap out of him” the next time he saw Michaels.
   In the case of Michaels, it shows that polite discourse and scholarly debate have no place in an ideologically manipulated scientific field.
   As reported by Bill Osmulski of the MacIver Institute, some of the researchers defending the global warming theory were even considering trying to have Michaels’ Ph.D. from UW-Madison reconsidered. Fortunately, as Osmulski reports, nothing has yet happened on that front.
   It’s just one example of the ugliness behind the groupthink and enforcement of the orthodoxy of man-made global warming revealed by the Climategate e-mails.
   When science is politicized, it becomes subject to the rules of politics. And the first rule of politics is that timing is everything.
   The Climategate scandal is forcing its way into public view as the world’s leaders prepare to gather in Copenhagen to discuss what to do about global warming, if anything. Planning to be in attendance is President Barack Obama, who will use that European trip to pick up his Nobel Peace Prize. Perhaps while Obama is picking up his prize he can drop off former Vice President Al Gore’s Peace Prize for his global warming alarmism with a note explaining it was all just a mistake. Sorry.
   Closer to home, the Wisconsin state Legislature, under the control of the Democrats, is about to consider the recommendations of Gov. Jim Doyle’s Global Warming Task Force. The task force started with the unsettling premise that global warming is settled science.
   One of the recommendations of the task force is an “enhanced renewable portfolio standard,” which is bureaucratese for more alternative fuels providing for Wisconsin’s energy needs.
   More windmills will not just mean more dead birds and ruined rural scenery; Wisconsin’s electricity rates could shoot through the roof.
   The reason why we turn to coal instead of solar and windmills is because coal is cheaper. Seventy percent of Wisconsin’s electricity needs comes from coal, which means in order to reduce greenhouse gasses we are either going to have to invest in “clean coal” technology (unproven and costly) or go with more expensive alternative fuels.
   Not only will this be a cost to the ratepayer in the home, but this will be a hidden but expensive tax on business as well, making the business climate in Wisconsin even more difficult.
   It’s a choice between economic growth and environmental extremism, and the extremists are in control. They will win, and Wisconsin jobs will be lost, all because the science of manmade global warming is supposedly settled.
   Fortunately, the Climategate scandal’s demolition of that myth may make some in the Legislature to think twice until the science is completely reevaluated.
   Less than 400 years ago, Galileo challenged the prevailing orthodoxies and became “the father of modern science.” Today, men like Patrick Michaels are again challenging the prevailing orthodoxies and they may just save science from politics.
   Until this challenge has been answered and a real consensus on global warming has been formed, for or against, Wisconsin politicians should reject the task force recommendations and spare their constituents the terrible costs.


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