Hot and Bothered Over Chicken Littles and Al Gore

When it comes to jumping to the defense of anti-global warming “expert” Pat Michaels, Colorado Springs Gazette editorial page editor Sean Paige is the go-to man.

Just last week we detailed Paige’s bizarre and anonymous attack on Colorado Springs City Manager Lorne Kramer accusing him of throwing a “tantrum,” when Kramer wrote a letter responding to recent editorials that had appeared in the Gazette that he believed misportrayed the realities of current events at City Hall.

But Paige has really got his shorts in a bunch after the Associated Press recently reported that Michaels, one of a handful of scientists who reject global warming, gets funding from Colorado’s Intermountain Rural Electric Association and other utility companies – which like their fossil fuels.In a signed op/ed, Paige went after, well, just about anyone who has ever had a green streak through their head, with a vengeance and then some. He got on the AP, for “snidely” tagging their story “Science for Sale”; Al Gore, for being inept and a Democrat (in Paige’s mind, an oxymoron); and all of the Chicken Little lobbyists and other “high priests of high anxiety” who continue to insist that global warming is a real, live threat to the planet. 

You see, Paige doesn’t believe in global warming. Or, to modify a bit, he does believe in global warming, to this degree: Every year come June, the globe warms up. In his op/ed, Paige defends Michaels at great length, describing him as “the next heretic to be ‘Bjorned’ at the stake.” That reference is to Bjorn Lomborg, whose controversial 2001 book The Skeptical Environmentalist: Measuring the Real State of the World resulted in accusations of scientific dishonesty – or in Sean Paige-worldview, was “picked apart and attacked by the same people and groups that now attack Michaels.”

As for Michaels getting money for his scientific “expertise” from the fossil fuel crowd, Paige wonders, “To whom should a global warming skeptic turn for backing: Al Gore?”

“The Chicken Little Lobby prefers that one side in the debate simply surrender its position and wave the white flag,” Paige writes. “Fighting back is considered bad form. The uproar suggests either a willful naivete on the part of the enraged – greens that often seem to be outraged for a living – or an effort to discredit and smear those who dare challenge scientists aligned with the warm-mongers. The idea that scientists who support the theory are disinterested parties, while those who question it are all pawns of evil industry is ridiculous. There’s plenty of financial incentive for scientists to support the most sensational spin on things, since stoking up public anxieties is the surest way to attract media attention and keep the federal and foundation funds flowing. But I’ve rarely, if ever, seen the media question the motives and funding sources, credibility or qualifications of the sensationalists.”

Paige, of course, is paid to write this stuff by his anti-government, free-market bosses at the Freedom Communications-owned Gazette. And he comes from the Washington Times, so singing praise for Michaels is old-hat predictable – this guy could practically write it in his sleep. So it’s hardly worth noting – except for the fact that 95,000 or so of subscribers are subjected to this sort of global-warming-is-a-myth sledgehammer on a regular basis.

Many of them will never have a chance to learn about scientists like Peter H. Gleick, the co-founder and President of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Oakland, California. In a 2003 newspaper story, Gleick described Pat Michaels as “one of a very small minority of nay-sayers who continue to dispute the facts and science about climate change in the face of compelling, overwhelming, and growing evidence. I consider that Michaels is to the science of climate change like the Flat Earth Society is to the science of planetary shape.”

Michaels threatened to sue, but Gleick refused to back down.

“There is nothing to correct: my opinion is based on my understanding of the science of climate change, which has been developing for years,” he said. “Scientists have a responsibility to the public. It’s time for those of us who work on climate change to help the public and policymakers understand the evidence: Climate change is real, well underway, and poses severe risks to the United States and the world.

Lawsuits, junk science, and energy industry propaganda won’t change the evidence about climate change…”

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Cara Degette

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