Climate change skeptic par excellence Patrick J. Michaels never has been known as the shy and retiring type. And that isn’t likely to change just because he’s now resigned from the University of Virginia’s Department of Environmental Sciences, where he had been associated for nearly three decades.
The Daily Progress, in Charlottesville, Va., reported September 26 that the 57-year-old oft-quoted climate science doubter “will remain as a part-time research professor on leave.” The paper reported how Michaels’ funding – and particularly his position as the “state climatologist,” a role he often emphasized in his dealings with reporters – had become a political football in recent years. The defeat last November of then-Senator George Allen (R-Va) clearly had hurt Michaels’ political viability in a state where the Democratic governor already had been on his case. A particular concern among Michaels detractors: his funding from high-carbon interests and his affiliations with libertarian think tanks in Washington, D.C.
“It’s very simple,” Michaels told Daily Progress reporter Bob Gibson. “I don’t think anybody was able to come to a satisfactory agreement about academic freedom.”
No one expects Michaels to leave center stage with a Nixonian retort about “not having Michaels to kick around any more.” He’s lost a prominent pedestal for voicing his controversial views on manmade greenhouse gas emissions. But he’s by no means lost his voice or his feistiness. And reporters are likely to be hearing more about and from Michaels as he continues to rail against the so-called “consensus” science.