What would you do with thirty thousand dollars? What would you want your state to do? Maybe fix something like 1,300 potholes? Well, if you're in Montana and noticed "pothole season" seems a little worse this year, maybe it's because your state wasted more than $30,000 on climate denial.
How so? Well, as you may have heard, a group called Our Children's Trust filed a lawsuit against the state over the fact that its (lack of) climate change policy is infringing on their constitutional rights. After a week of testimony from plaintiffs and their experts, Montana had scheduled a similar full five days to present its defense. Instead, it closed in just one day. Instead of calling three witnesses, it called just one: a tobacco-defending economist who billed the state $500 an hour for testimony that he was forced to revise because it was full of errors, which were pointed out by the actual scientists on the other side of the court. Whoops!
The defendants had lined up a psychologist who admitted no climate expertise, and they didn't call on her to question the stress that the students were clearly suffering, as their testimony portrayed. Dr. Judith Curry, a former scientist and still-active consultant for energy companies, was tapped to present the case against the climate consensus. But between this and the new law requiring the state to deny the reality of climate change, there's still one thing Montana's not denying: as the plaintiffs told the court, the state's never denied a fossil fuel project a permit.
But apparently the climate science lesson from Montana University emeritus prof Steve Running and direct rebuttal to her testimony by Dr. Kevin Trenberth were so compelling that the defense simply chose not to call Curry to testify. After years of advocating for a "red team" to challenge the science, Curry was finally granted the opportunity, and apparently the case was so weak they decided that presenting it would be even worse than letting the plaintiffs go unchallenged, so they let her "off the hook," according to a face-saving blog post Curry made, with a link to her "expert report."
Yes, after seeing the climate case, lawyers decided it was better not to argue the science!
Montana paid Curry $30,000 and then decided that putting her on the stand to testify under oath wasn't worth it. They called the smoking shill whose testimony required correction from the plaintiffs, but not Curry!
And to think the court was deprived of hearing the views of someone whose new book garners such praise as a random Twitter user’s remark that Curry "deserves the literary equivalent of the Nobel Prize!"
Alas, we suspect you wouldn't win any sort of prize with the sort of arguments that a state in denial pays $30,000 for and then decides you shouldn’t discuss while sworn under oath in a court of law.