Patrick Michaels

Patrick J. Michaels


  • S.M. Biology, University of Chicago (1975). [1]
  • Biological Sciences, University of Chicago (1971). [1]
  • Special Graduate Committee on Ecological Climatology (1979). [1]


Patrick J. Michaels is the director of the Center for the Study of Science at the Cato Institute. Michaels is a regular commentator on climate change issues on Fox News and other conservative news outlets. [2], [3]

He also writes regularly for Forbes, contributes opinion articles to US newspapers and has written several books critical of climate change science and the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions. Michaels' columns often suggest climate scientists who accept the risks of rising greenhouse gas emissions are influenced by the availability of taxpayer funds. [4]

Mother Jones magazine reported in 2010 that “Michaels' credibility on climate is called into question by a trove of documents from a 2007 court case that attracted almost no scrutiny at the time. Those documents show that Michaels has financial ties to big energy interests—ties that he's worked hard to keep secret.” [5]

In a leaked 2006 memo of the Intermountain Rural Electric Association (IREA), Michaels is listed as a recipient of at least $100,000 from IREA to combat global warming “alarmists.” The IREA memo outlines a coordinated strategy by Koch Industries, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Michaels, and other key groups. “We have met with Koch, CEI and Dr. Michaels, and they meet among themselves periodically to discuss their activities,” NERA's General Manager Stan Lewandowski wrote. [97]

New Hope Environmental Services

Patrick Michaels founded the consulting firm New Hope Environmental Services. Michaels described (PDF) the firm's purpose as to “publicize findings on climate change and scientific and social perspectives that may not otherwise appear in the popular literature or media. This entails both response research and public commentary.” [6]

SourceWatch describes New Hope Environmental Services as “in effect … a PR firm.” New Hope is secretive about its funding sources, and fought a Greenpeace motion seeking disclosure.  It is known to have received funds from electrical utilities in the past. [7]

New Hope Environmental Services also ran a climate change bulletin titled The World Climate Report which was edited by Patrick Michaels and funded by coal group Western Fuels Association. [8]

Analysis of the tax records of the Cato Institute found that in 2006 and 2007 the think tank paid Michaels' New Hope more than $240,000 in fees. [9]

Patrick Michaels & Tobacco

Pat Michaels was a “member scientist” and “individual supporter” at The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASCC), an organisation created and funded by the tobacco industry to fight anti-tobacco legislation. [10]

Michaels was also an “Academic Member” of the European Science and Environment Forum (ESEF), a group created by the tobacco industry to frame legitimate science as “junk science” on matters pertaining to health and environment, particularly secondhand smoke health impacts. Michaels was listed as an academic member on the ESEF's March 1998 working paper titled “Environmental Tobacco Smoke Revisited: The reliability of the evidence for risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.” [11]

Fossil Fuel Funding

Patrick Michaels once estimated that “40 percent” of his funding comes from the oil industry. [12] 

Stance on Climate Change

December 8, 2016

Probably the best solution is to do nothing, because doing nothing is doing something.” [90]


“Surface temperatures are indeed increasing slightly: They’ve been going up, in fits and starts, for more than 150 years, or since a miserably cold and pestilential period known as the Little Ice Age. Before carbon dioxide from economic activity could have warmed us up, temperatures rose three-quarters of a degree Fahrenheit between 1910 and World War II. They then cooled down a bit, only to warm again from the mid-1970s to the late ’90s, about the same amount as earlier in the century.” [13]


“It's hardly news that human beings have had a hand in the planetary warming that began more than 30 years ago. For nearly a century, scientists have known that increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide would eventually result in warming that was most pronounced in winter, especially on winter's coldest days, and a cooling of the stratosphere. All of these have been observed… .

“… the best policy is to live with some modest climate change now and encourage economic development, which will generate the capital necessary for investment in the more efficient technologies of the future.” [14]

Key Quotes

December 8, 2016

You properly account for the fact that the earth is getting greener, the more co2 we put in—you can see it on satellite—it is God's getting greener Earth. If you account for all of those, what happens is the social cost of carbon becomes the social benefit of carbon.” [90]

December, 2016

“[Trump's] nomination of Scott Pruitt is further evidence that the president-elect is serious, and circumstantial evidence that the influence of Al Gore’s recent visit was of little consequence.”  [83]

April 27, 2015

Patrick Michaels published a piece in the National Review one day prior to a meeting between Pope Francis and the Secretary-General at the Vatican to dicuss climate change. Michaels writes:

“The conference also has a moral duty to examine the corruption of science that can be caused by massive amounts of money. The United States has disbursed tens of billions of dollars to climate scientists who would not have received those funds had their research shown climate change to be beneficial or even modest in its effects. Are these scientists being tempted by money? And are the very, very few climate scientists whose research is supported by industry somehow less virtuous?” [15]

June 3, 2014

Patrick Michaels wrote an opinion piece in The Washington Times one day following the EPA's release of its Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule:

“The Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) own computer model easily shows that President Obama’s proposed regulations would reduce global warming by around 0.02 of a degree Celsius by the year 2100. Actually, the true number is probably even smaller because that calculation assumes a future rate of warming — there hasn’t been any for 17 years now — quite a bit higher than it is likely to be.” [16]

August 22, 2013

“The U.N.’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is nearing the final stages of its Fifth Assessment Report (AR5)—the latest, greatest version of its assessment of the science of climate change. Information is leaking out, with some regularity, as to what the final report will contain (why it is secretive in the first place is beyond us).” [17]

The IPCC has three options: 1. Round-file the entire AR5 as it now stands and start again. 2. Release the current AR5 with a statement that indicates that all the climate change and impacts described within are likely overestimated by around 50%, or 3. Do nothing and mislead policymakers and the rest of the world. We’re betting on door number 3.” [18]

“Reports of rapid disintegration of Greenland’s ice ignore the fact that the region was warmer than it is now for several decades in the early 20th century, before humans could have had much influence on climate. Similar stories concerning Antarctica neglect the fact that the net temperature trend in recent decades is negative, or that warming the surrounding ocean can serve only to enhance snowfall, resulting in a gain in ice. Global warming affects hurricanes in both positive and negative fashions, and there is no relationship between the severity of storms and ocean-surface temperature, once a commonly exceeded threshold temperature is reached. Reports of massive species extinction also turn out to be impressively flawed.” [19]

May 1, 2001
Patrick Michaels published an article in the Virginia Viewpoint, a publication of the Virginia Institute for Public Policy, titled “Win The Kyoto Fight, Save Your Money.” [20]
Michaels makes the following assertions:
  1. “Kyoto does nothing.”
  2. “Kyoto costs a fortune.”
  3. “Global warming is overblown. […] historical records show that about two-thirds of this warming will be
    in the cold portion of the year, and the lion's share will be in the coldest, most deadly air. Does this sound like something we should spend a fortune trying to stop?”
  4. “Kyoto is fiscally irresponsible. “
  5. “Kyoto would harm the environment. […] the feds are likely to take the taxes meant to force us to stop burning gasoline, and literally throw them at windmills, or burn them in one of our dumbest technologies (because it can't ever work on a large scale), solar energy.”
In conclusion, Michaels says[W]e could just save our dough because the climate change issue is an overblown bunch of hooey, which is why President Bush killed Kyoto.“ [20]

Key Deeds


Patrick Michaels is listed as a contributor to the upcoming release of Climate Change: The Facts 2017, a book released by the Institute for Public Affairs (IPA) and edited by Jennifer Marohasy. While investigating the authors, DeSmog noted that one of the IPA's listed “leading experts” involved in the book is New Zealand’s Ken Ring, who in addition to being a described “long range weather forecaster” has written “two, possibly three, books about cats” including Pawmistry: How to Read Your Cat’s Paws in 1998. [95]

According to the book description[96]

Climate Change: The Facts 2017 brings together contributions on the latest climate science from some of the world’s leading experts in the field including John Abbot, Sallie Baliunas, Paul Driessen, Tony Heller, Craig Idso, Clive James, Pat Michaels, Jo Nova, Ian Plimer, Tom Quirk, Peter Ridd, Ken Ring, Nicola Scafetta, Willie Soon, Roy Spencer, and Anthony Watts.

There are also essays by Matt Ridley, and Bjørn Lomborg on the economics of climate change, and by Simon Breheny on how the freedom to discuss climate change science is under threat.”[96]

Prior versions of the book featured contributions from a range of prominent climate change deniers, and describes mainstream climate change research as “pseudo-science.” [39]

March 23, 2017

Michaels was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 12th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC12). His keynote speech was titled “Vacating the Endangerment Finding.” [94]

In his speech, Michaels spoke about the need to vacate the Endangerment Finding, a piece of legislation which classified carbon dioxide as a pollutant and allowed the EPA to regulate it under the clean air act. The concluding statement of his talk was that “the endangerment finding is not based on anything close to normative science and must be vacated.”

January 2, 2017

Michaels was a guest on John Stossel's show, “Green Tyranny,” alongside Judith Curry. The episode was titled “The Truth About Climate Change.” [98]

“It will resume warming,” Michaels said on the show, “but you don't really care if it warms a degree in the next 60 years. It warmed a degree in the last 100 years. Life epectancy doubled.” “Admit it, it's a religion,” Michaels added later in the program.

December 12, 2016

Patrick Michaels was an attendee at a private meeting also attended by Trump's EPA Transition team lead Myron Ebell on Capitol Hill. E&E News reported that the event was not open to the public or to the press and Ebell refused to give any details. The event was hosted by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and held in the hearing room of the Senate Environment and Public Works (EPW) Committee. The EPW committee is chaired by Senator James Inhofe who, like Trump, has described human-caused climate change as a hoax. [84]

DeSmog reported that the event featured the “Who's Who of Climate Science Deniers.”  Australian Senator Malcolm Roberts, who spoke at the event, also wrote that the meeting was a gathering of the Cooler Heads Coalition and listed some of the participants on Facebook: [85], [86]

Malcolm Roberts Facebook Post

Names mentioned above included:

DeSmog also noted that three of the attendees—Myron Ebell, Randy Randol, and Steve Milloy—had all been part of the Global Climate Science Communications Team in the late 1990s, a group organized by the American Petroleum Institute. According to an early memo, the group said “victory will be achieved when […] Average citizens 'understand' (recognize) uncertainties in climate science; recognition of uncertainties becomes part of the 'conventional wisdom'.” [87]

December 8, 2016

Patrick J. Michaels was a speaker at the “At the Crossroads III Energy and Climate Summit,” an event co-hosted by the Heritage Foundation and the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF). The event was billed as “the premier energy-and-climate policy event in America,” and attracted a range of prominent climate change deniers as well as a range of names connected to Donald Trump and his transition team. Video and choice quotes below. [88]

In the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences you have an international team of authors who publishes a paper and then they add an American author to their next paper the chance that it will report a positive result doubles. This is very, very bad, science is very very sick.” [17:35]

Probably the best solution is to do nothing, because doing nothing is doing something.” [20:52]

The future belongs to the efficient, if you just get out of the way. Lesson number one, if you want to clean world, you want a vibrant economy.” [21:09]

You properly account for the fact that the earth is getting greener, the more co2 we put in—you can see it on satellite—it is God's getting greener Earth. If you account for all of those, what happens is the social cost of carbon becomes the social benefit of carbon.” [28:01]

So what's going to have to happen is the endangerment finding is going to have to be torn apart.” [29:27]

Doug Domenech, director of the Texas Public Policy Foundation's “Fueling Freedom” project, wrote about the proceedings at The HillDomenech outlined the common climate change denial message shared among the speakers: “Is climate change real? Yes, it has happened in the past and will happen in the future. Is man making an impact on the climate? Perhaps but in very small ways. But the overarching consensus remains the climate change we are experiencing is by no means catastrophic.” [89]

Speakers included:

December 8, 2016

Patrick Michaels wrote an article at The Hill titled “Trump's EPA pick will make Obama regret his environmental overreach” applauding President-elect Donald Trump's choice of climate change denier Scott Pruitt for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). [83]

Michaels writes that it is a sign that the new administration “is on a clear mission not just to stop, but to reverse many of the actions of Obama’s EPA.” [83]

He adds that the new administration is “going to have to find people willing to expose the current regime’s blatant abuse of logic in generating inflated 'costs' of global warming, while largely ignoring the co-benefits of fossil fuel power.” Michaels concludes that “The nomination of Scott Pruitt is further evidence that the president-elect is serious, and circumstantial evidence that the influence of Al Gore’s recent visit was of little consequence.” [83]

June 20, 2016

Patrick J. Michaels debated at the Conservative Economic Quarterly Lecture series on the topic of climate change, reports the Cato Institute. Video below: [21]

May 2, 2016

Patrick Michaels was listed among “Key Scientists” appearing in Marc Morano's movie, Climate Hustle. The full list included the following: [23] 

Marc Morano's Climate Hustle was released in U.S. theatres on May 2, 2016. Bill Nye described it as  “not in our national interest and the world’s interest.” [24]

The film was produced by the Committee for Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT) and CDRCommunications. As noted at Desmog's project,,  CFACT has received funding from ExxonMobil, Chevron, as well as hundreds of thousands of dollars from foundations associated with Richard Mellon ScaifeCFACT has also received at least $7.8 million in “dark money” through DonorsTrust and Donors Capital Fund. [25][26]

CDR Communications was behind the 2010 video by the Cornwall Alliance titled Resisting the Green Dragon, which claimed environmentalism was a “false religion” and a “global government” power grab. Chris Rogers of CDR Communictions is also chairman of The James Partnership, the umbrella arm that includes the Cornwall Alliance as one of its projects and pays the salary of Calvin Beisner, Cornwall’s founder and spokesperson. [27]

Climate Hustle initially premiered on December 7, 2015 in Paris, France during the COP21 United Nations summit on climate change[28][29]

We are putting together what I think is the most comprehensive, unique, entertaining and humorous climate documentary that has ever been done or attempted,” Morano had said before the film was released. [30]

The reason that this is a unique film,” Morano has said, “is that we are going for a pop culture-friendly… sarcastic approach and we actually give both sides in this movie.”  [30]

In an interview with Ezra Levant, Morano said:

I am not interviewing a lot of the main climate sceptical scientists because I feel like they have been interviewed by many other people and their stories have been told. I am trying to find another layer of scientist whose stories have not been out there yet. You will see a lot of new names in this.” [30]

See a preview of the film below:

At the Paris premier of the film, reporters from Desmog and the Irish Times were denied entrance after having their RSVPs accepted days earlier. [31]

January 24, 2016

Patrick Michaels published an op-ed at the Wall Street Journal, titled “The Climate Snow Job” where he claims that the NOAA manipulated data to make it look like the planet is warming faster than it is:

NOAA's alteration of its measurement standard and other changes produced a result that could have been predicted: a marginally significant warming trend in the data over the past several years, erasing the temperature plateau that vexed climate alarmists have found difficult to explain. Yet the increase remains far below what had been expected,” Michaels writes. [13]
Michaels also suggests that temperatures in 2015, while still being “the highest average surface temperature in the 160-year global history since reliable records started being available,” had a “de minimis” effect on the global economy.
Ten scientists at Climate Feedback reviewed Michaels' claims, and concluded that “The article misleads readers with a series of sweeping claims about distinct aspects of climate science and the implications of global warming for the global economy. Most of the article is devoted to casting doubt over the accuracy of the global temperature record. The author uses detailed technical descriptions to distract readers from the inaccuracies of the article, which involve cherry-picking data to support multiple unsubstantiated and discredited claims.” [32]
Emmanuel Vincent, who holds a PhD in climate science, writes in LiveScience that “[Michaels's] essay ignores the preponderance of evidence that now leads businesses, economists, and even the recent World Economic Forum to recognize climate change as one of the top sources of financial risk.” [33]

July 22, 2015

Patrick Michaels testified in front of the House Natural Resources Committee hearing on “An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon.”  During questioning from Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), Michaels confirms that he served as a “member scientist” for the tobacco industry front group The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASCC). [34]

June 23, 2015

Patrick Michaels participated in a panel discussion hosted by the Heritage Foundation as part of an event titled “The Social Cost of Carbon: A Controversial Tool for Misguided Policy.” The event was moderated by David Kreutzer and featured Climate Change deniers Jim Inhofe and Marlo Lewis, Jr. Video below. [91]

June 11-12, 2015

Patrick Michaels was a speaker on Panel 1: “Climate Science,” at the Heartland Institute’s Tenth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC10) in Washington, D.C., with Willie Soon and David Legates. [35]

View Patrick Michaels’ Panel 1 presentation at the Heartland Institute’s ICCC10, below: [36]

March, 2015

Patrick Michaels is one of several climate change skeptics cc'd on an email from S. Fred Singer in hopes of countering the documentary film “Merchants of Doubt,” which exposes the network of climate change skeptics and deniers trying to delay legislative action on climate change. [37]

The October, 2014 email was leaked to journalists before the documentary was released. “Can I sue for damages?” Singer asked in the email. “Can we get an injunction against the documentary?”

InsideClimate News reports in their article “Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists,” how “Many of those copied on the email thread, such as Singer and communications specialist Steven Milloy, have financial ties to the tobacco, chemical, and oil and gas industries and have worked to defend them since the 1990s.” [37]

InsideClimate News also documented all those who were cc'd on the email, including the following skeptics and groups:

DeSmogBlog covered the emails here: “Merchants of Doubt Film Debuts, Textbook Denial Attack Campaign Led By Fred Singer Ensues” and DeSmogBlog also archived a full copy of the Singer email thread (PDF)

December, 2014

Patrick Michaels is a contributor to the book Climate Change: The Facts published by the Institute of Public Affairs and featuring “22 essays on the science, politics and economics of the climate change debate.” The Institute of Public Affairs, while not revealing most of its funders, is known to have received funding from mining magnate Gina Rinehart and at least one major tobacco company. [38]

The book includes essays and articles from a range of climate change skeptics, with contributors including the following:

According to Editor Alan Moran in a post at Catallaxy Files blog on Climate Change: the facts 2014, Patrick Michaels “examines the contrast between the predictions of the IPCC and outcomes. And he details and demolishes the manifold excuses for this put forward by Obama adviser, formerly a Club of Rome alarmist, John Holdren, and other IPCC faithful.” [39]

July 7 - 9, 2014

Patrick Michaels was a speaker at the Heartland Institute’s Ninth International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC9) in Las Vegas, Nevada. [40]

DeSmogBlog has done in-depth research on the other speakers and sponsors from Heartland's ICCC9. [41]

August 22, 2013

Patrick Michaels co-published a report with Paul C. “Chip” Knappenberger entitled, “IPCC Chooses Option No. 3.“ [17]

“Option No. 3,” references an earlier report written by Michaels, in Cato At Liberty, stating one of the IPCC's options is to mislead policy makers and the rest of the word with AR5. This was “the door” they were betting on. [17]

January 17, 2013

Patrick Michaels published a piece in The Washington Times which asserts that “there has been no significant warming trend since the fall of 1996,” and that “it's a pretty good bet that we are going to go nearly a quarter of a century without warming.” [42]

Michaels' article was published at the same time as a Washington Times editorial which similarly asserts that “There has been no appreciable warming since 1998.” The editorial cites a recent paper by renowned climate scientist James E. Hansen, producing just one statement from Hansen's report as evidence: “The 5-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade which we interpret as a combination of natural variability and a slowdown in the growth rate of the net climate forcing.” [43]

Based on this statement, the paper claims that “Mr. Hansen has just acknowledged more than the lack of warming. His words confirm nature, not mankind, played the decisive role in directing global temperatures over the past 10 years.” A number of other climate change skeptics have already pointed to this statement as an “admission” that they were right all along. [44]

This is just one statement from Hansen's actual report (PDF). If one were to read further, they would discover that the assertion of “no appreciable warming” is not necessarily supported (emphasis added): [45]

“These short-term global fluctuations are associated principally with natural oscillations of tropical Pacific sea surface temperatures summarized in the Nino index in the lower part of the figure. 2012 is nominally the 9th warmest year, but it is indistinguishable in rank with several other years, as shown by the error estimate for comparing nearby years.  Note that the 10 warmest years in the record all occurred since 1998.

The long-term warming trend, including continual warming since the mid-1970s, has been conclusively associated with the predominant global climate forcing, human-made greenhouse gases, which began to grow substantially early in the 20th century. The approximate stand-still of global temperature during 1940-1975 is generally attributed to an approximate balance of aerosol cooling and greenhouse gas warming during a period of rapid growth of fossil fuel use with little control on particulate air pollution […]”

October, 2012

Authors of a 2009 US Federal Advisory Committee report Global Climate Change Impacts on the United States criticised the Cato Institute for producing a document using near identical cover images and layout to their own report in a “deceptive and misleading way.” In a statement, members of the federally-funded US Global Change Research Program, which produced the original report, said they were “dismayed” by the Cato Institute's effort: [46]

“The Cato report is in no way an addendum to our 2009 report.  It is not an update, explanation, or supplement by the authors of the original report.  Rather, it is a completely separate document lacking rigorous scientific analysis and review,” the original report authors write.
“The authors of the Cato Institute report say that their report has more references than our report, but this is a meaningless distinction that does not reflect relative thoroughness. Our 2009 report was intentionally written to be accessible to a general audience and, consequently, cited only the most authoritative and comprehensive sources.  The Cato Institute report includes numerous citations of marginal relevance and excludes or misrepresents key publications that, in fact, contradict its interpretations.”

Michaels was the editor-in-chief of the Cato Institute report, titled ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. The addendum concluded climate change was a “minor overlay” on US society and that sea level rise would be “easily adapted to.” [47] 

The Cato report accused the authors of the original report of “systematic bias,” claiming they had made the climate change problem appear worse than it really was in order to sustain further research income.The Cato report is in no way an addendum to our 2009 report.  It is not an update, explanation, or supplement by the authors of the original report.  Rather, it is a completely separate document lacking rigorous scientific analysis and review.

In a report on The Daily Climate, John Abraham, an associate professor at the University of Saint Thomas in Minnesota, said of the Cato report: [48]

It's not an addendum. It's a counterfeit. It's a continued effort to kick the can down the road: A steady drip, drip, drip of fake reports by false scientists to create a false sense of debate.

May 21 - 23, 2012

Patrick Michaels was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's 7th International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC7). [49]

DeSmogBlog researched the co-sponsors behind Heartland's ICCC7 and found that they had collectively received over $67 million from ExxonMobil, the Koch Brothers and the conservative Scaife family foundations. [50]

At the time, Heartland's president Joe Bast revealed at the end of the conference that the Institute has no plans for future ICCCs. This could be in part due to the defections of corporate sponsors following Heartland's unsuccessful Unabomber billboard campaign and the unintended release of their confidential documents. Heartland's ICCCs, nevertheless, have continued.

June 30 - July 1, 2011

Michaels was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's Sixth International Conference on Climate Change. His speech was titled “Hotheads, Lukewarmers, History, and the Future.” Video below. [51], [52]

November, 2010

Patrick Michaels testified on Climate Change to the Subcommittee on Energy and Environment at the United States House of Representatives on November 17, 2010. Michaels listed four objectives for his testimony: [53]

“1) Demonstration that the rate greenhouse-related warming is clearly below the mean of climate forecasts from the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that are based upon changes in atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations that are closest to what is actually being observed,

2) demonstration that the Finding of Endangerment from greenhouse gases by the Environmental Protection Agency is based upon a very dubious and critical assumption,

3) demonstration that the definition of science as a public good induces certain biases that substantially devalue efforts to synthesize science, such as those undertaken by the IPCC and the U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP), and

4) demonstration that there is substantial discontent with governmental and intergovernmental syntheses of climate change and with policies passed by this House of Representatives.”

According to an analysis by climate scientist Benjamin Santer (PDF), Michaels' testimony that human GHG emissions caused less than half of the warming since 1950 was not credible. [54]

June 2, 2009

Speaker at the Heartland Institute's Third International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC3). [52]

The conference’s theme was “Climate Change: Scientific Debate and Economic Analysis” to reflect Heartland's belief that that “scientific debate is not over,” and it was designed to “call attention to widespread dissent to the asserted 'consensus' on various aspects of climate change and global warming.”

February 12, 2009

Patrick Michaels testified before the U.S. House of Representatives Subcommittee on Energy and Environment during their hearing, “The Climate Crisis: National Security, Public Health, and Economic Threats.” [55]

According to the World Climate Report,  “Dr. MIchaels' general message was that the recent behavior of global temperatures is starting to push the (lower) bounds of climate models’ expectations of such behavior and that if the current slowdown in the rate of global warming continues for much longer, we must start to question the reliability of climate projections of the future state of our climate.” [55]


Patrick Michaels Participated in the “Climate Chains” video along with fellow climate change skeptics Myron Ebell, Marlo Lewis, Chris Horner, and Todd Wynn. The video claims that “One of the greatest threats to freedom and prosperity in America is climate change legislation.” The video was organized by the Cascade Policy Institute. [56]

March 2 - 4, 2008

Patrick Michaels was a speaker at the Heartland Institute's First International Conference on Climate Change (ICCC1). [52], [57]

According to conference's invitation letter, “The purpose of the conference is to generate international media attention to the fact that many scientists believe forecasts of rapid warming and catastrophic events are not supported by sound science, and that expensive campaigns to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are not necessary or cost-effective”(emphasis added).

July, 2007

Patrick Michaels stated in an affidavit to a Vermont court that he is withdrawing from a case in which he was to be an expert witness to avoid having to disclose the funders of New Hope Environmental Services Inc., a company he solely owns. In the case, car makers were trying to block legislation limiting greenhouse gas emissions from the auto industry. [58]

In the affidavit, Michaels states his company is “a consultancy whose mission is to publicize findings on climate change and scientific and social persepctives that may not otherwise appear in the popular literature or media.” Michaels stated: [58]

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. [58]

May 2, 2007

Patrick Michaels was an “Expert” on Appeared on Glenn Beck's special “Exposed: The Climate of Fear” (PDF). Beck promised the program would present the “other side of the climate debate that you don't hear anywhere.” Media Transparency recorded a list of falsehoods that were propagated by the program. [59]

March 8, 2007

Michaels appeared in The Great Global Warming Swindle along with other prominent climate change skeptics such as Tim Ball, Roy Spencer, Fred Singer and others.

The Great Global Warming Swindle received critical response from the scientific community, including a letter to ABC signed by thirty-seven British Scientists that claimed: [60]

“the misrepresentations of facts and views, both of which occur in your programme, are so serious that repeat broadcasts of the programme, without amendment, are not in the public interest. In view of the seriousness of climate change as an issue, it is crucial that public debate about it is balanced and well-informed.” 

An interview between ABC Australia’s Tony Jones and the film’s director Martin Durkin also brought the film’s validity and scientific accuracy into question. [61]

January 2007

A report by the Union of Concerned Scientists titled “Smoke, Mirrors and Hot Air: how ExxonMobil uses big tobacco to manufacture uncertainty on climate science,” found that in the preceding years, Patrick Michaels had been connected to at least 11 think-tanks and groups that had received money from ExxonMobil, many of which had gone on to sow doubt about human-induced global warming. [62]

July 17 - 19, 2006

Michaels attended the International Conference on Global Warming and the Next Ice Age which convenes every five years, with the most recent (PDF) being in 2006 (which included an extensive workshop on “climate prediction uncertainties”). [63]

Organizer Petr Chylek claims its purpose is to “promote open discussion” regarding climate issues. The conference suggests that global warming is a natural process and possibly even “a blessing.” [64]

Other climate skeptics who have attended the conference include Fred Singer, Chris De Freitas, Roger Pielke Sr., and Ross McKitrick.

July 17, 2006

DeSmogBlog and ABC News uncovered a leaked memo written by the president of the Intermountain Rural Electrical Association that linked to Patrick Michaels' consulting firm. [65]

In the memo, Stan Lewandowski, General Manager of IREA discusses a coordinated campaign by Koch Industries, the Competitive Enterprise Institute, Michaels, and other key groups to push back against “alarmism” on climate change: (emphasis added). [97]

“There are other groups that are interested in the issue of global warming and the concerns about its costs. Koch Industries is working with other large corporations, including AEP and the Southern Company, on possibly financing a film that would counteract An Inconvenient Truth. Koch has also decided to finance a coalition that very likely will be administered through the National Association of Manufacturers. The Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) has been running two ads in ten states that were financed by General Motors and the Ford Motor Company. CEI has a director on climate change and other employees working on the issue. We have met with Koch, CEI and Dr. Michaels, and they meet among themselves periodically to discuss their activities.

The memo shows that New Hope Environmental Services received $100,000 from the IREA and “other electrical cooperatives” in the past. Controversy ensued, with the Virginia governor's office voicing its concern over Michaels use of the title of “state climatologist.” The following from the Richmond Times-Dispatch: [66]

“The governor’s office has sent a letter to the University of Virginia requesting that Patrick J. Michaels not use his title of state climatologist when conducting his private consulting business.

The state is concerned that the U.Va. professor’s controversial views on global warming could be mistaken for the state’s views…The governor’s office has repeatedly said that Michaels does not represent the state with his opinions about global warming.”

The Washington Post reports: [67]

“Michaels, a professor at the University of Virginia, also moonlights as one of the country's most aggressive and, in some circles, most reviled skeptics about the scientific consensus on climate change. It was that role that landed Michaels in the center of a small controversy in Richmond last month, when the administration of Gov. Timothy M. Kaine (D) asked him to be clear that he is not speaking for the state when discussing issues such as global warming.”

August 19, 2002

Patrick Michaels appeared on CNN's “Capital Gang,” arguing against the implementation of the Kyoto Protocol and that global warming, if it is happening, could be beneficial. [68]

December 31, 1998

Patrick Michaels published a study entitled “Long Hot Year: Latest Science Debunks Global Warming Hysteria” as part of the Cato Institute's “Policy Analysis” series. [69]

July 15, 1997

Michaels was in a debate with Alan Robock on “the implications are of current climate science, and whether or not we need to act right now” (PDF) moderated by Ben Wattenberg of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). [92], [93]

Michaels points satellite data, claiming that “ you see it's really not global warming, obviously […]  In fact, because there is a net statistically significant cooling of the whole record, it almost looks to me, as a scientist, like what's really going on here is the planet has remained in the slight cooling phase that it was in since World War II […]” [93]

In conclusion, Michaels finished with what he described as “a little one-minute diatribe on how federal climatologists don't really tell you the truth, and how your government is trying to mislead you.” [93]

Before Robock started on his portion of the debate, Wattenberg asks Michaels “I'm working under the general proposition, Pat, that your answer to the question, must we act now to avert a climate catastrophe is no.” Michaels confirms that his answer is “No.” [93]

May, 1995

Patrick Michaels was one of several expert witnesses who testified on behalf of the Western Fuels Assocaition in St. Paul, Minnesota, to determine the environmental cost of coal burning by state power plants. [70]

Experts provided written testimony (document id 183819 and 183820 [“Dear Dr. Haar,” Doherty Rumble & Butler, March 15, 1995. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.], [“Curriculum Vita” (PDF), March 6, 1995. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.]) and verbal testimony, about which Ross Gelbspan'sThe Heat Is On (1995) is a key source. [70]


Patrick Michaels helped The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition develop a set of “five guiding scientific principles” aimed at “offering federal and state government a yardstick against which to measure science in public policy.” Michaels is listed in a TASSC newsletter as a “member scientist” who had helped to draft the guidelines. [71]

TASSC was a front group created in 1993 by specialist crisis PR company APCO Worldwide and cigarette firm Philip Morris to fight tobacco legislation and discredit science linking smoking to health concerns.


Patrick Michaels lended “expert” advice on the impacts of global warming to a public relations campaign conceived and funded by a coalition of coal companies and electric utilities.  The campaign, under the title “Information Council on the Environment,” aimed to “reposition global warming as theory (not fact).” [72]

Western Fuels Association and The Southern Company joined utilities association Edison Electric Institute to develop the campaign. [72]

Michaels was to be one of three members of a science advisory panel to lend credibility to the campaign and would make broadcast media appearances, do interviews and provide his signature to a letter sent to members of the public who had responded to the campaign.  [72]



Michaels has published numerous research papers in peer-reviewed journals in the area of climate. Michaels has co-published many of his studies with well known climate skeptics. He was co-published numerous papers with Paul C. Knappenberger, Robert E. Davis, David Douglass, and S. Fred Singer.

Some of Michaels's papers were published in Climate Research journal around the time that climate skeptic Chris de Freitas was serving as one of the journal's editors. Half of the journal's editors resigned over poor quality control in mid-2003. [81]

Additionally, he has published some of his papers in the journal Energy and Environment, run by climate skeptic Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen. Christiansen has described (PDF) her journal as a place for skeptics to go when their papers are rejected by more mainstream science journals. [82]

For example:

Sample Forbes Articles by Patrick Michaels


  1. Patrick Michaels CV Plain Text File-Climate Change Guide/Skeptics and Contrarians,” Society of Environmental Journalists. Archived July 16, 2011. URL

  2. Patrick J. Michaels: Senior Fellow in Environmental Studies,” The Cato Institute. Accessed October 25, 2016. URL:

  3. Scientist: Global Warming Evidence, Claims Exaggerated,” Fox News, February 25, 2009. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  4. Contributor: Patrick Michaels,” Forbes. URL:

  5. Kate Sheppard. “Most Credible Climate Skeptic Not So Credible After All,Mother Jones, February 26, 2010. URL

  6. “Green Mountain Chrysler Plymouth Dodge Jeep, et al. Plantiffs v. George crombie, et al. Defendants, Greenpeace, Inc. Intervenor” (PDF), United States District Court (District of Vermont) Case 2:05-cv-00302-wks, Document 521-4 (Filed 07/06/2007), Docket Nos. 02:25-CV-302, 02:05-CV-305 (Consolidated). Retrieved from

  7. New Hope Environmental Services,” SourceWatch. URL:

  8. Subscription Information,” Archived April 18, 1997. URL

  9. Bob Burton. “The Cato Institute's Generous Funding of Patrick Michaels,” PRWatch, May 24, 2009. URL:

  10. Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) Supporters List,” June 30, 1993. Bates Number 2024233615/3618.

  11. Environmental Tobacco Smoke Revisited: The reliability of the evidence for risk of lung cancer and cardiovascular disease.” Working paper produced by the European Science and Environment Forum, March 1998. Michaels is listed as an “academic member” of ESEF on pg. 30. 

  12. Brad Johnson. “Cato’s Pat Michaels admits 40 percent of funding comes from big oil,” ThinkProgress, August 16, 2010. URL:

  13. Patrick J. Michaels. “The Climate Snow Job,” Wall Street Journal, January 24, 2016. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  14. Live with Climate Change,” USA Today, February 2, 2007. Republished by the Cato Institute. Archived October 25, 2016. URL:

  15. Patrick J. Michaels. “If the Pope Wants to Have a Truly Moral Climate-Change Debate, Here Are a Few Ideas,” The National Review, April 27, 2015. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  16. Patrick Michaels, “Obama's cold political calculus on global warming,” The Washington Times, June 3, 2014. Archived June 11, 2014. URL

  17. Patrick J. Michaels. “IPCC Choose Option No. 3,” Cato Institute, August 22, 2013.  Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  18. Patrick J. Michaels. “IPCC Ar5 is in Real Trouble, Cato Institute, July 26, 2013. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  19. Is the Sky Really Falling? A Review of Recent Global Warming Scare Stories,” the Cato Institute, Policy Analysis no. 576 (August 23, 2006). Archived October 25, 2016. URL:

  20. Win The Kyoto Fight, Save Your Money,” Virginia Viewpoint, May 1, 2001 (No. 2001-2). Archived February 6, 2016. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog. URL

  21. Patrick J. Michaels debates at the Conservative Economic Quarterly Lecture Series on the topic of climate change hosted by the INSTITUTEsk in Bratislava,” Cato Institute, June 20, 2016. Archived October 25, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  22. Patrick J. Michaels participates in the Conservative Economic Quarterly Lecture Series on the topic of 'Luke Warming' hosted by the INSTITUTEsk in Bratislava,” Cato Institute, June 20, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  23. “Background on Key Scientists Appearing in Climate Hustle” (PDF), Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  24. 'Climate Hustle' debuts as skeptics take on global-warming 'consensus',” The Washington Times, May 1, 2016. Archived August 26, 2016. URL:

  25. Background on Climate Hustle Host and Producers,” Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  26. Homepage, URL

  27. Graham Readfearn. “The Evangelical Christian Climate Deniers Behind Marc Morano’s Climate Hustle Documentary,” Desmog, November 19, 2015.

  28. Matthew Kasper, “Climate Hustle, Latest Global Warming Denial Documentary, Set For World Premiere In Paris During COP21,” Republic Report, November 13, 2015. URL

  29. Climate Hustle,” SourceWatch, accessed November 14, 2015. URL

  30. Graham Readfearn. “Marc Morano's Climate Hustle Film Set For Paris Premiere With Same Old Denial Myths,” Desmog, November 12, 2015.

  31. Graham Readfearn. “The Fakery of the Paris ‘Red Carpet’ Premiere of Marc Morano’s Climate Hustle Film,” Desmog, December 30, 2015.

  32. Analysis of Patrick Michaels' 'The Climate Snow Job',” Climate Feedback, January 24, 2016. Archived February 4, 2015. URL

  33. Emmanuel Vincent. “'Climate Snow Job'? Scientists Respond to Attack on Evidence (Op-Ed),” LiveScience, January 29, 2016. Archived February 4, 2016. URL:

  34. House Committee on Natural Resources Oversight Hearing on An Analysis of the Obama Administration’s Social Cost of Carbon,” July 22, 2015. URL:

  35. Speakers,” Heartland Institute. Archived June 30, 2015. URL

  36. Panel 1: Climate Science with Willie Soon, Ph.D., David Legates, Ph.D., and Patrick Michaels, Ph.D.,” Heartland Institute, June 11, 2015. Archived July 16, 2015.

  37. Katherine Bagley. “Leaked Email Reveals Who's Who List of Climate Denialists,” InsideClimate News, March 12, 2015. URL:

  38. Institute of Public Affairs,” SourceWatch. Accessed May 27, 2015. URL

  39. Alan Moran. “Climate Change: the facts 2014,” Catallaxy Files (blog), December 16, 2014. URL

  40. Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmog, July 7, 2014. Archived July 14, 2014.

  41. “Brendan DeMelle. “Return of Climate Denial-a-Palooza: Heartland Institute Hitches Anti-Science Wagon to Vegas FreedomFest,” DeSmog, July 7, 2014.

  42. MICHAELS: Global warming apocalypse canceled,” The Washington Times, January 17, 2013. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  43. EDITORIAL: Global warming takes a vacation,” The Washington Times, January 17, 2013.  Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  44. David Whitehouse. “JAMES HANSEN ADMITS GLOBAL TEMPERATURE STANDSTILL IS REAL,” The Observatory, January 17, 2013. URL

  45. J. Hansen, M. Sato, R. Ruedy. “Global Temperature Update Through 2012 (PDF),” January 15, 2013. Retrieved from

  46. Statement on the Cato Institute ADDENDUM Report,” University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science. Archived October 25. 2016. URL:

  47. “Addendum: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” (PDF), Center for the Study of Science, Cato Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  48. Fake 'addendum' by libertarian group tries to undo federal climate report,” The Daily Climate, October 23, 2012. Archived October 25, 2016. URL:

  49. Speakers,” 7th International Conference on Climate Change. Archived May 31, 2012. URL

  50. Brendan DeMelle. “Heartland Denial-a-Palooza Sponsors Have Received $67 Million From ExxonMobil, Koch and Scaife Foundations,” Desmog, May 22, 2012.

  51. Patrick Michaels, ICCC6,” International Conference on Climate Change. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  52. Patrick J. Michaels,” International Conference on Climate Change ( November 12, 2011. URL:

  53. Testimony of Patrick J. Michaels on Climate Change,” November 17, 2010. Republished by the Cato Institute. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  54. “A probabilistic quantification of the anthropogenic component of twentieth century global warming” (PDF), Clim. Dyn., published online November 8, 2012. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  55. Subcommittee on Energy and Environment Testimony,” World Climate Report, February 13, 2009. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  56. About the Experts,” Archived April 1, 2010. URL

  57. Patrick Michaels, Keynote, ICCC1,” International Conferences on Climate Change. Archived .mp4 on file at Desmog.

  58. AFFIDAVIT OF DR. PATRICK J. MICHAELS” (PDF), United States District Court for the District of Vermont. Docket Nos. 02:05-CV-302 and CV-304. Retrieved from SourceWatch. Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  59. Exposed: Glenn Beck's Climate of Distortion,” Media Transparency, May 8, 2007.  Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  60. The Great Global Warming Swindle: open letter to Martin Durkin from 37 signatories (April 2007),” April 24, 2007. Republished by Climate of Denial. URL


  62. Smoke, Mirrors & Hot Air” (PDF), Union of Concerned Scientists, January, 2007. Archived.pdf on file at Desmog.

  63. “The Second International Conference on Global warming and the Next Ice Age” (PDF), Accessed January, 2012, from Zender Group Webserver.

  64. The First International Conference on Global Warming and The Next Ice Age,” Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  65. Ross Gelbspan. “'Vampire Memo' Reveals Coal Industry Plan for Massive Propaganda Blitz,” Desmog, July 27, 2006.

  66. Judd Legum. “Virginia Asks Global Warming Skeptic To Stop Calling Himself ‘State Climatologist’,” ThinkProgress, August 21, 2006. URL:

  67. Juliet Eilperin and David A. Fahrenthold. “Climatologist Draws Heat From Critics,” The Washington Post, September 17, 2006. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  68. Pat Michaels Is Interviewed for CNN's “Capital Gang” (transcript),” Cato Institute, August 19, 2002. URL:

  69. Patrick Michaels. “Long Hot Year: Latest Science Debunks Global Warming Hysteria,” Cato Institute Policy Analysis No. 329 (December 31, 1998). Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  70. Ross Gelbspan. “The Heat is On:The warming of the world's climate sparks a blaze of denial,” Harper's Magazine, December, 1995. Archived February 25, 2016 from URL

  71. TASSC Poll of Scientists Shows: Public Confidence Erodes; Science Used to Fill Political Agenda,” The Catalyst, Vol. 1, Fall 1994. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents (Bates Number : TI16460138-TI16460143.) Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  72. Graham Readfearn. “The Campaigns That Tried To Break The Climate Science Consensus,” DeSmog, June 6, 2013.

  73. Dr. Patrick J. Michaels,” George C. Marshall Institute. Archived June 14, 2006. URL

  74. The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition (TASSC) Supporters List,” June 3-, 1993. Archived at Legacy Tobacco Documents Library February 1, 2002.

  75. TASSC Issues '5 Guiding Scientific Principles,' The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents (Bates Number : 190204222-190204224). Archived .pdf on file at Desmog.

  76. CFACT Board of Advisors,” Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow. Archived October 25, 2016. URL

  77. Scientific Advisors,Greening Earth Society. Archived October 21, 2001. URL:

  78. About,” Co2Coalition. Archived September 4, 2015. URL

  79. Who We Are,” Galileo Movement. Archived September 24, 2016. Archive. is URL

  80. 7th International Conference on Climate Change,” Australian Taxpayers' Alliance, May 12, 2012. Archived October 26, 2012. URL

  81. Skeptics Prefer Pal Review Over Peer Review: Chris de Freitas, Pat Michaels And Their Pals, 1997-2003,” Desmog, November 30, 2011.

  82. Paul D. Thacker. “Skeptics get a journal” (PDF), Environmental Science & Technology Online, August 31, 2005. Republished by RealClimate.

  83. Patrick Michaels. “Trump's EPA pick will make Obama regret his environmental overreach,” The Hill, December 8, 2016. Archived December 19, 2016. URL:

  84. George Cahlink. “Trump EPA adviser Myron Ebell meets with Hill aides,” E&E News, December 12, 2016.

  85. Graham Readfearn. “Donald Trump’s Aide at EPA Myron Ebell Meets with Who’s Who of Climate Science Deniers,” DeSmog, December 13, 2016.

  86. Yesterday I spoke at an event for the Competitive Enterprise Institute called Cooler Heads Coalition in Washington. […]” Facebook post by Malcolm Roberts - QLD Senate - One Nation, December 13 at 6:38 pm. Archived image on file at DeSmog.

  87. Global Climate Science Communications Plan (1998),” SourceWatch.

  88. At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” Heritage Foundation, December 8, 2016. Archived December 22, 2016. URL

  89. Doug Domenech. “Climate change: Speaking truth to power,” The Hill, December 13, 2016. Archived December 21, 2016. URL

  90. Part 3 - At the Crossroads III: Energy and Climate Policy Summit,” YouTube video uploaded by user The Heritage Foundation, December 9, 2016. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog.

  91. Social Cost of Carbon: A Controversial Tool for Misguided Policy,” The Heritage Foundation, June 23, 2015. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. Archived January 2, 2017. URL

  92. 'Global Warming Conference: “Must We Act Now To Avert a Climate Catastrophe?' (Debate),“ Competitive Enterprise Institute, July 15, 1997. Archived November 27, 2002. URL:

  93. “Robock” (PDF), Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  94. PATRICK MICHAELS,” Archived April 7, 2017. URL:

  95. Graham Readfearn. “Australian Climate Denial Think Tank Picks Cat Author and Moonman Ken Ring as Climate Expert,” DeSmog, April 9, 2017.

  96. Register your interest now and be the first to hear about the publication of Climate Change: The Facts 2017,” Institute of Public Affairs. Archived April 10, 2017. URL

  97. IREA Letter (PDF), July 17, 2006. retrieved from The Public Interest Network. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  98. The Truth About Climate Change,” YouTube video uploaded by user “John Stossel,” January 2, 2017. Archived .mp4 on file at DeSmog. 

Other Resources

Profile image Patrick Michaels speaking at the Heartland Institute's 12th International Conference on Climate Change, screenshot via YouTube.