It's a predictable cycle that goes something like this: Scientists' research unearths new findings about ecology or human health that prove inconvenient to corporate interests. Industry ignores it. The body of research grows. Corporations bankroll (directly or indirectly) 'experts' to attempt to discredit research in Congressional hearings and other public venues. Confusion is sewn, and a protracted battle ensues to vindicate science and win over the public. It happened with the finding that cigarettes caused cancer, the discovery that aerosols were putting a hole in the ozone, with numerous findings about numerous dangerous chemicals (DDT, BPA et al). Now, of course, it's happening with the finding that man's greenhouse gas emissions are warming the planet. Above, witness one such spirited clash between a respected scientist and a renowned oil company shill in a Congressional hearing.Pat Michaels is an 'environmental policy expert' at the Cato Institute, and he has admitted that he receives 40% of his funding from the oil industry. Here, he's been called as an expert witness to testify against climate scientists' findings at a Congressional hearing on global warming.
In this particular capacity, it is the job of the oil industry stooge to create the illusion of presenting an educated refutation to the vast body of evidence supporting global climate change. Watch as he cherry picks data, makes nice-looking charts, speaks in kindly but authoritarian tone, tries to overturn good science by fudging numbers, and claims that 'we just don't know' in different variations time and again.
And then watch climate scientist Dr. Ben Santer skillfully disprove every single one of Mr. Michaels' prepared talking points. One of the revelations from the hacked climate emails was that the scientific community despises Michaels, and in a couple cases, used colorful language to communicate that fact. In one instance, Dr. Santer said he'd like to 'beat the crap out of' Michaels -- which, in the context of a private email thread, is pretty tame language -- and I can't blame him. Despite decades of meticulous research, a slow-moving, fact-checking peer review process, and a vast consensus on the subject, stooges like Michaels show up with a Power Point presentation and tell scientists their work is wrong -- just to make some cash?
Who wouldn't be pissed off?
For good measure, here's another good video starring our friend Pat Michaels:
Hat tip to Peter Sinclair at Climate Crocks.
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