Perpetuating Climate Change Disinformation
Patrick Michaels, currently the Director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Koch-founded and funded Cato Institute, has built a career curating doubt about climate change science and its impact on our environment. His contributions as an ‘expert’ to the multi-pronged strategy to stall action on climate change have been subsidized for decades by the industries that have the most to lose from any such action.
Patrick Michaels has been a part of shaping public policy and public opinion for nearly 30 years. He has appeared frequently before the judiciary and legislature and has infiltrated public discourse through his regular appearances on various news programs, ranging from Fox News to CNN.
Despite revelations of covert fossil fuel funding and questions of credibility throughout his career, Michaels is somehow taken seriously, even when he veers into economics and environmental policy, subjects well outside his area of scientific expertise.
While consensus over the causes of climate change has grown, Michaels has changed his line repeatedly – ranging from flat denial of the science, to expressing optimism on the benefits of additional CO2 or warming, to denial of the severity of its impacts, ignoring the already-deadly and devastating effects being felt in many parts of the world.
Over the decades, Michaels has worked and testified with a static rotation of other corporate-funded climate skeptics. This group of climate deniers works in concert, guarding information surrounding their funding and ardently supporting one another’s science, despite it being refuted. In the early ‘90’s Michaels began working with the likes of Richard Lindzen, Robert Balling, Jr., and Fred Singer, all of whom have financial ties to the fossil fuel industry. Lindzen and Balling, along with Roy Spencer, Robert Davis, John Christy, and Sherwood, Keith, and Craig Idso, continue to regularly appear next to Michaels in panels, reports, and legal proceedings.
Though Michaels and his peers were questioned as early as 1994, and criticized by allies in the fossil industry a year later, they continue to appear together in various forms. As climate change remains a controverted subject, Michaels’ work will be referenced again and again – giving him and his industry backers a platform to continue forwarding their agenda.
Climate Files: The Patrick Michaels Collection
As our work uncovering and analyzing primary documents on CIC’s Climate Files portal progresses, we will continue to added documents to our existing Patrick Michaels collection. These documents demonstrate Michaels’ lack of credibility as a neutral academic resource in determining the causes and impacts of climate change. The following timeline reflects the complete collection:
Patrick Michaels Research Updates
PBS Frontline “The Power of Big Oil” Viewer’s Guide: Documents and Reference Material
This post includes some of the documents, advertisements and news clips that were featured in the three part documentary, “The Power of Big Oil,” aired April 2022. I have also included additional resources from our ClimateFiles archive where appropriate PART ONE: DENIAL You can watch and find a handy transcript of Part One here. Global …
Climate Files Update: Decades of Denial
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Patrick Michaels’ 30 Years of Climate Denial
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The Covert Attack on Sen. McCain’s Climate Leadership by ExxonMobil and the Koch brothers
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Climate Files Update: Shell, Exxon, and Early Denial
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DCI Group Subpoenaed on Exxon Climate Denial Fraud Case
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CIC Briefing: Craig Idso Heartland Institute NIPCC Climate Denial
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