New Mexico State University’s Next President May Be A Climate Science Denier

by Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts

Former Republican governor Garrey Carruthers pushes his candidacy for the New Mexico State University presidency.

On Monday at 4 pm, the New Mexico State University Board of Regents is prepared to hold a public vote to choose the next president of New Mexico State University (NMSU), the major land-grant institution in Las Cruces, NM. One of the top candidates is Garrey Carruthers, a former Republican governor. Carruthers is also a climate-science denier who ran a tobacco-industry front group for years.

From 1993 to 1998, Carruthers was the chairman of The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC), a tobacco industry-funded lobby group that claims that the health risks of smoking and the threat of global warming are “junk science.”

Questioned last week by NMSU scientist Dr. Gary Roemer at an on-campus meeting on his candidacy to become university president, Carruthers asserted that there is not a scientific consensus on climate change. He continued: “I don’t know. I’m an economist. I don’t do global warming. It’s a scientific judgment that I can’t make.”

Dr. Roemer responded:

I think it’s pretty appalling that a presidential candidate for this university does not have a vision for dealing with the most serious environmental crisis that humanity and our Earth have ever faced.

In a telephone interview, Dr. Roemer confirmed that he finds fossil-fueled climate change to be a fundamental crisis.

Although Carruthers rejects the science of climate change, he has disavowed TASSC’s position on smoking. “I’m four-square against second-hand smoke,” Carruthers said in a recent interview with the Albuquerque Journal. “I don’t think people should smoke, and second-hand smoke is detrimental to other people’s health.”

State Reps. Phillip Archuleta, Nate Cote, Bill McCamley, and Jeff Steinborn have written to the Board of Regents opposing the selection of a climate-change denier as New Mexico faces global-warming-fueled drought.

In response, the climate-science accountability group Forecast the Facts has launched a petition effort to mobilize against the selection of Carruthers. The signatures will be delivered at the open vote on Monday.

17 Responses to New Mexico State University’s Next President May Be A Climate Science Denier

  1. Superman1 says:

    Aaron Lewis posted, in part, the following on the NYTimes Part 2 article. Since the software is in its ‘no comment’ mode on that article, I will offer brief comments here.

  2. Superman1 says:

    Lewis is one of the best posters on this site, presenting key facts in the context of his experience and intuition. His comments about the limitations of our global climate models are right on point, and allow for the possibility that the reality of the coupled and synergistic positive feedback mechanisms may be far more serious than the wine and roses scenarios the so-called ‘optimists’ on this site are always pushing.

  3. Superman1 says:

    However, I am not convinced that the data Lewis says is missing is not being taken and not being kept. That may be the case for the unclassified world, but recognizing the strategic interest of the Arctic region for many decades, I would bet the mortgage that the data is being taken in droves, being kept for extended periods, and being analyzed in far more detail than we are seeing. My take on what’s happening is that we are seeing a gradual transition of responsibility for monitoring climate change from the civilian world to the world on which the Sun never shines.

  4. Superman1 says:

    PART 1 OF LEWIS COMMENTS – Lewis states: The referenced studies do no include carbon feedback such as clathrates from the sea floor and CO2 from Arctic tundra. Current atmospheric gas sampling and analysis is sparse for the early detection of carbon feedback flows, and much of the satellite data on methane in the atmosphere is only retained (officially) for 3 days. It is hard to study patterns and trends when they only keep the data for 3 days. Some funder(s) are pointedly “Not Interested”.

  5. Superman1 says:

    PART 2 OF LEWIS COMMENTS – Lewis states:
    We do not have validated models for carbon feedback and we do not know the over all behavior of stocks of potential carbon feedback materials under current conditions. (E.g., all we have is anecdotal reports of CH4 plumes here and there. Nobody went out and measured total releases from those plumes.)

  6. Superman1 says:

    PART 3 OF LEWIS COMMENTS – Lewis states:
    The powers that be have made a decision not to fund the science of carbon feedback and to not study the issue. (E.g., why has not a nuclear submarine with a ROV done a full inventory of methane plumes from the polar sea floors?) We cannot say if it is a myth or not, because we are not certain of the truth.

  7. Bel Campbell says:

    Reporting error: The State of New Mexico does not have a “New Mexico Board of Regents.” Each of the universities has its own. This would be the New Mexico State University Board of Regents.

  8. catman306 says:

    In Indiana, Georgia, apparently in New Mexico, and probably plenty of other states, a university president has become a political position. Or have these positions mostly been filled by people with the ‘correct’ views on education, building construction, political views and salesmanship?

  9. Ed Leaver says:

    A fair point, yet Mr. Carruthers’ contention “I’m an economist. I don’t do global warming. It’s a scientific judgment that I can’t make.” belies the existence of economists who do understand the science and grapple with the Economics of Climate Change.

  10. Superman1 says:

    I’ve known some university presidents. Their main job seems to be to raise as much money from alumni and other sources as they can. I suspect the real operational management is left to the underlings.

  11. prokaryotes says:

    What is the point of these assumptions? From a military perspective a climate shift at first might offer some opportunities, but it becomes clear now that the disadvantages heavily outweigh them.

    Further my guess is that we see now action after it has become clear that the denial has clouded our eyes for to long. Momentum has build up massively, the threshold for action reached at last.

    Delay is no longer an option! We need mandatory actions now to avert worst case scenarios on a global scale. The war on fossil energy is imminent.

  12. Joan Savage says:

    The New Mexico State main campus managed to cut CO2 emissions nearly in half between 2007 and 2011.

  13. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The ruling caste does not tolerate Thought Crime, particularly now, as the moral and spiritual evil of the system that they created is becoming so plain. They will install their place-men everywhere, and crush dissent. It’s in their DNA.

  14. BillD says:

    University presidents usually sign off on faculty hires and new faculty positions. There is no way that university science departments will take anti-science positions. If this politician gets the job, it will be interesting to see how far he will try to go.

  15. FeslenR says:

    Even if there’s “no evidence” ….I can’t type this without chuckling at the thought.
    Weather patterns are changing everywhere and getting worse. Mankind is somehow digging up more resources with less regulation at a furious pace of late…

    Climate deniers are just too fearful to act, but I suppose they have their faith to fall back upon when they open their eyes to the disasters that will befall all of us.

    Anyone in climate denial is just doing everyone a vast disservice. But, I guess it wouldn’t matter very much when all of society comes crashing down sooner rather than later anyway.

  16. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    I suspect that a lot of hardcore Rightwing denialists want to see humanity destroyed. Their misanthropy is that strong and their hatred of those who will be living when they are dead is that virulent. These are twisted psyches, make no mistake about it.