On Friday, meteorologist and Cato adjunct scholar Ryan Maue tweeted about the demise of the Cato Institute’s Center for the Study of Science, home to the Koch group’s climate and environment “experts.” All the directors and adjuncts, like Maue, are no longer part of the organization.
Cato’s project page removed the Center sometime this month.Center director and longtime denier Patrick Michaels’ bio page now reads “Former Director” of the Center, a change made some time at the end of March. The “Energy and Environment” content on the Cato website suggests that while Michaels provided the bulk of the content before January 2018, after that it’s come from various other Cato “experts.”
Neither Cato nor Michaels appear to have made any public statement about why the Center folded. The Center has come under increased scrutiny as larger awareness of fossil fuel funding for denial organizations has grown, borne of the ExxonKnew litigation. Back in 2010, Michaels admitted on CNN that something like 40% of his funding came from fossil fuels. The Cato Institute subsequently told ThinkProgress that Michaels worked for Cato “on a contract basis, not as a full-time employee.”
It looks like one of the last events for which Michaels used his Cato affiliation was at McLean, Virginia’s Lewinsville Presbyterian Church on March 20th. The church billed the event as a chance to “see a leading ‘merchant of doubt’ in action.”
According to Adam Siegel, who runs the climate and energy blog GetEnergySmartNOW and attended the event, Michaels’ presentation was 90 minutes of exactly what one would expect from a professional deceiver. But there was one notable moment, one that we’d like to hope will be the last we hear from lifelong protector of polluters Pat Michaels.
Per Siegel, an audience member confronted Michaels about his refusal to disclose the sources of his (now perhaps nonexistent) funding, and accused him of working for Heartland. “No, I work at Cato,” Michaels shot back. “We’re quite different. You shouldn’t trust anything about science from Heartland.”
On that, Mr. Michaels, we can certainly agree.
Given that Michaels has a decades-long record of funding from polluters, odds are he’ll keep finding ways to serve the industry. But we hope you’re finally retiring, Pat, and that in doing so you find exactly as much peace of mind and solace of heart as a man of your distinguished career deserves.
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