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Right Wing Spreads Misinformation About Oregon’s Global Warming Denier

By Faiz Shakir  

"Right Wing Spreads Misinformation About Oregon’s Global Warming Denier"

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Oregon Gov. Ted Kulongoski (D) is considering replacing the “state’s climatologist,” George Taylor, who has suggested that “natural variations” — not human-induced greenhouse gases — are to blame for the Earth’s recent warming. Taylor’s view is not in line with the state policy of Oregon to reduce greenhouse gases, nor is it in line with the consensus of the scientific community.

Conservatives have been up in the arms over the Taylor replacement. Yesterday, Drudge breathlessly reported “Governor plans to fire Oregon climatologist for skeptical view of warming…” And last night, Tucker Carlson blasted Oregon’s Governor for considering replacing Taylor. Watch it:

[flv http://video.thinkprogress.org/2007/02/tuckertaylor.320.240.flv]

The right wing has resorted to distorting the facts and spreading misinformation in order to attract attention to the issue. Here are the facts:

1) Taylor is not the “state climatologist.” Oregon abolished the position in 1989. He was bestowed the title by Oregon State University, not by Gov. Kulongoski or the state of Oregon.

2) Taylor is not a “climatologist.” Taylor is a meteorologist. He does not possess a PhD or have a background in climatology.

3) He will not be fired. Taylor will not lose his job or income, which comes from Oregon State University. He will merely be stripped of his title, which he never earned but claims to retain. Gov. Kulongoski has the right to appoint a climatologist who is an expert in the field and adheres to the state’s climate policies.

UPDATE: News Hounds has more.

UPDATE II: Blue Oregon has more on Tucker’s “hot air.”

UPDATE III: Brian Hines confirms with Oregon State University that Taylor is not the “state climatologist.”

Transcript:

But first, global warming.

An international report appeared the other day echoing what Al Gore has said for a long time: global warming is real and civilization probably is causing it. The majority of climate scientists appear to agree with this conclusion. The majority, but not all of them.
George Taylor, Oregon’s longtime state climatologist, holds a contrary view. Taylor believes global warming is mostly the result of what he calls natural variations, long-term trends that humans can’t control. Among climatologists, this is not considered a crackpot view, but political in Oregon, it is heresy.

The Democratic governor of that state has announced that he will trip George Taylor of his title for daring to question the causes of global warming. Keep in mind that the governor is not a scientist. He hasn’t cited any dishonesty in Taylor’s scholarship. He just doesn’t think he ought to be allowed to disagree with the conventional wisdom on global warming.

But wait. Whatever happened to freedom of speech and the sanctity of the scientific process? The very people you’d expect to stand up for a scientist’s right to practice science in the face of politics have been silent in the case of George Taylor. Why? Because his position isn’t fashionable at the moment, and in the end that’s all that counts, unfortunately.

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