27 Sep 2007

Virginia State Climatologist Forced Out for Heresy

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Dr. Patrick J. Michaels

Patrick J. Michaels
, a Research Professor in Environmental Sciences at the University of Virginia, was appointed Virginia State Climatologist in 1980 by Governor John N. Dalton. Michaels subsequently served as president of the American Association of State Climatologists.

Because Professor Michaels is a skeptic concerning Global Warming catastrophe, in 2006 the left commenced serious efforts to discredit him. He was attacked by ABC News for receiving a research grant from a utility.

The same summer, as the Charlottesville Daily Progress reports, Secretary of the Commonwealth Katherine Hanley, an appointee member of the administration of democrat Governor Timothy M. Kaine, proceeded to dissociate the state government from the office of State Climatologist. Responsibility for choosing a State Climatologist was relinquished by the Governor’s Office to the University of Virginia.

This week, Michaels, age 57, announced that he had negotiated a retirement package with the University of Virginia, would become a part-time faculty member on leave of absence, and was resigning as State Climatologist.

The Charlottesville Daily Progress reports that Michaels identified “his resignation (as) a sad result of the fact that his state climatologist funding had become politicized… which… compromised his academic freedom.”

“It’s very simple,” Michaels said in an interview. “I don’t think anybody was able to come to a satisfactory agreement about academic freedom.”

Former Gov. George Allen, a friend of Michaels, had twice intervened on behalf of his office funding in state budget wrangles. In 1994 as governor, Allen restored a cut to the State Climatology Office of more than $100,000 proposed by former Gov. L. Douglas Wilder.

Allen, considered Michaels’ political godfather, acted eight years later as a U.S. senator to rescue Michaels’ office from other proposed cuts when the climatologist said his office faced the loss of half its $113,000 budget in 2003 and 100 percent of it in 2004. …

The politicized funding of his office budget from the state and his private research funding led to a situation that Michaels called “untenable.” He said he now loves his freedom of speech and work at the libertarian-conservative Cato Institute in Washington, where he works while on leave from UVa.

“I feel I can speak more freely,” he said.


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