Patrick J. Michaels - funding

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Calved from main Patrick J. Michaels page.

Funding

Sources of funding

In 2011, Waxman call for inquiry

See the "2011, Rep. Waxman calls for inquiry into Michaels - possibly misleading testimony on industry ties, funding sources" section, in the "Controversies and criticisms" part of main Patrick J. Michaels page.

Statements by Michaels on funding sources

In 2002: "the vast majority [of my funding] comes from taxpayer-supported entities"

Asked about his funding on CNN in August 2002 Michaels rejected the suggestion that industry funding influenced his work. "Well, you know, most of my funding, the vast majority, comes from taxpayer-supported entities. I would make the argument that if funding colors research, I should be certainly biased more towards the taxpayers, of which I am one, than towards industry. But the fact of the matter is, numbers are objective," he said.[1]

In 2010: roughly 40% comes from oil industry
Pat Michaels admits: '40 percent' of funding comes from big oil

In an August 2010 interview with CNN, Michaels estimated that about 40% of his funding came from the oil industry.[2]

Funding history

1990s - Western Fuels Association and others

Michaels' prominence also led to new funding from fossil fuel interests. In 1991-92 an anonymous donor made of grant of $50,000 to Michaels for his work on climate change, the Edison Electric Institute paid $25,000 between 1992 and 1995 for a literature review of climate change and updates. Western Fuels Association contributed $63,000 for "research on global climate change" and between 1994 $98,000 from Gesamtverband des Deutschen Stenkohlenbergbaus in Germany.[3]

1994 - founded New Hope Environmental Services

As Michaels' corporate funding was taking off, in 1994 he founded and is the sole owner of New Hope Environmental Services, which refers to itself as "an advocacy science consulting firm". Aside from publishing the World Climate Report, the firm boasts that its staff often provide testimony to Congress and commentary on climate issues to media outlets.[4].

Writing in Harpers Magazine in 1995, author Ross Gelbspan noted that "Michaels has received more than $115,000 over the last four years from coal and energy interests. World Climate Review, a quarterly he founded that routinely debunks climate concerns, was funded by Western Fuels."[5]

Funding sources, formerly visible, became hidden

One substantial benefit in having created New Hope Environmental Services was that corporate funders could route financial support for Michaels work via the firm which was under no obligation to disclose who its clients were. After its was created, further corporate funding was noticeably absent from Michaels university curriculum vitae.[3]

Other funding

Michaels continued to attract public funding for projects, such as $195,000 from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality for "research on science and policy on global warming." He also gained $98,000 from the Cato Institute to underwrite the the production of The Satanic Gases: Clearing the Air about Global Warming, a book he co-authored with Robert C. Balling, Jr.[3]

2006, $100,000 from Intermountain Rural Electric Association

A furor was raised when it was revealed in 2006 that, at customer expense, Patrick Michaels was quietly paid $100,000 by an electric utility, Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), which burns coal to help confuse the issue of global warming. In a nine-page memo, the general manager of the Colorado-based IREA co-operative, Stanley Lewandowski Jr., railed against the the scientific consensus supporting the need to curb greenhouse gases. The memo, which was circulated in mid-July 2006 to more than 900 members of the National Rural Electric Cooperative Association, was leaked to ABC News. "We decided to support Dr. Patrick Michaels and his group (New Hope Environmental Services, Inc.) ... In February of this year, IREA alone contributed $100,000 to Dr. Michaels." Lewandowski also wrote that IREA had rattled the tin for Michaels amongst other groups and "have obtained additional contributions and pledges for Dr. Michaels group." (The memo also reports on others campaigning against taking action to limit climate change: "The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has been running two ads in ten states that were financed by General Motors and the Ford Motor Company." [6] [7])

2007 Funding disclosure concerns as expert witness in auto industry trial

In 2007 Michaels was retained by Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep, Green Mountain Ford Mercury, Joe Tornabene's GMC, the Alliance of Automobile Manufacturers, the DaimlerChyrsler Corporation and General Motors Corporation as an "expert witness" in a case where the auto manufacturers and dealers were suing George Crombie, the Secretary of the Vermont Agency of Natural Resources and others in a bid to prevent the state regulating greenhouse gases. In the process of the discovery of documents and during his deposition Michaels provided details of "New Hope's funding sources and the amount of their funding." However, this information was not publicly available but treated as confidential information. However, in late 2006 Greenpeace filed a motion seeking access to details of the funders of Michaels firm.[8]

In an affidavit Michaels stated that "as the case moved closer to trial, I learned in conversations with plaintiff's counsel that New Hope's confidential information might not remain confidential if I testified at trial. Consequently, on or around April 7, 2007, I informed plaintiffs counsel that I would not testify at trial. My sole reason in doing so was concern that my trial testimony would result in the loss of confidentiality for the New Hope information."[8]

Michaels affidavit stated that "large companies are understandably adverse to negative publicity. Thus, the global warming controversy has created an environment in which companies who wish to support New Hope's research and advocacy about global warming science are increasingly willing to do so only if their support remains confidential."[8]

Michaels complained that "public disclosure of a company's funding of New Hope and its employees has already caused considerable financial loss to New Hope. For example, in 2006 Tri-State Generation & Transmission Association, Inc., an electric utility, had requested that its support of $50,000 to New Hope be held confidential. After this support was inadvertently made public by another New Hope client, Tri-State informed me that it would no longer support New Hope because of adverse publicity. Also, in 2006, when a $100,000 contract between New Hope and electric utility Intermountain Rural Electric Association to synthesize and research new findings on global warming became public knowledge, a public campaign was initiated to change the composition of the board of directors so that there would be no additional funding. That campaign was successful, as Intermountain has not provided further funding."[8]

Michaels argued that the Greenpeace motion seeking disclosure should be rejected as it would "result in New Hope losing clients. I am doubtful that New Hope will continue to stay in business as an effective consultancy ... This is precisely why I did not testify at trial. Although this resulted in a short-term loss of income to me, it assured the long-term viability of New Hope. Besides modest speaking fees, New Hope is my sole source of income beyond a negotiated retirement package from the University of Virginia. Thus, the Greenpeace motion, if granted, would imnperil my livelihood. Hew Hope also employs the services of other scientists who receive all or a substantial part of their incomes from New Hope. Their livelihoods are also threatened by the Greenpeace motion."[8] (On its website, New Hope Environmental Services does not list its staff. However, the World Climate Report blog lists its staff, as of May 2009 on a webpage dated March 2005, [9] as comprising Michaels, Robert C. Balling, Jr., Robert E. Davis and Paul C. Knappenberger.)

Outcome: Michaels withdrew as expert witness; Christy hired instead

In Michaels' place, the auto industry groups hired John R. Christy as their expert witness.[10]


Articles and resources

References

  1. Kate O'Beirne, Interview with Patrick Michaels, "Capital Gang", CNN, August 19, 2002.
  2. Brad Johnson, Cato’s Pat Michaels admits 40 percent of funding comes from big oil, August 16, 2010.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Patrick Michaels CV Plain Text File-Climate Change Guide/Skeptics and Contrarians", Society of Environmental Journalists, accessed May 2009.
  4. "New Hope Environmental Services", New Hope Environmental Services website, accessed May 2009.
  5. Ross Gelbspan, "The heat is on: The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial", Harpers Magazine, December 1995.
  6. Clayton Sandell and Bill Blakemore, "ABC News Reporting Cited As Evidence In Congressional Hearing On Global Warming", ABC News August 3, 2006.
  7. Stanley R. Lewandowksi, "Memo", Intermountain Rural Electric Association, July 17, 2006.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 Dr. Patrick J. Michaels, "Affidavit of Dr. Patrick J. Michaels", United States District Court for the District of Vermont, Green Mountain Chrysler et al. v. Crombie et al., Docket No. 02:05-CV-302, July 6, 2007.(Pdf)
  9. "Staff", World Climate Report (blog), March 15, 2005.
  10. Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep et al vs George Crombie, Case No. 2:05-cv-302, September 12, 2007, page 44.

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External resources

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