Ah, appropriately enough it warmed my heart to read today’s Willamette Week cover story about Oregon’s global-warming-denying climatologist, George Taylor.
Last March I emailed Willamette Week and suggested that they do a story on Taylor, saying “It bothers me that while it is official Oregon policy that global warming is a threat to the northwest, Oregon’s official climatologist is going around spouting an exactly opposite view.”
This is one of the themes in the Willamette Week article, “Hot or Not: Oregon’s official weatherman has good news about global warming—it doesn’t exist.”
I’ve been blogging on about the absurdity of an environmentally conscious state being represented by someone who has his head in the sand concerning the reality of human-caused global warming.
I started with “Oregon’s climatologist denies global warming,” followed up with “Oregon’s climatologist still a Pollyanna on global warming,” and most recently observed that “Kansas is to evolution as Oregon is to global warming.”
Whenever I wrote about George Taylor, sometimes I’d think to myself, “Maybe I’m being too hard on this guy. If I ever meet him, I’d probably like him.”
Indeed, the WW story starts off with: “George Taylor shouldn't scare anybody. He has been a vegetarian since the 1970s. He commutes to work by bicycle. He's an ex-hippie and an ex-surfer. He recycles. He likes trees and salmon.”
But then the article’s author, Paul Koberstein, says: “He’s also, according to his critics, one of the most dangerous men in Oregon.”
Dangerous, because global warming is no joke. It’s real, it’s here, and it’s going to create a lot of problems for the world. Everyone has the right to his or her own personal opinions. However, science isn’t about personal opinions—it’s about facts.
Taylor is quoted as saying, “A lot of people wish I’d shut up. I have an opinion on this issue. I’d rather go ahead and express that opinion than shut up because I might offend somebody.”
Well, for Taylor as an individual, that’s fine. But when Taylor runs around making speeches and signing petitions as Oregon’s official state climatologist, he should have his facts straight. Which, he doesn’t, as the WW article makes clear.
Now that I’ve read the article, I feel like I’ve been too easy on Taylor, not too hard. When one of his colleagues at the OSU College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences was asked about how Taylor has come to hold his uninformed views, Prof. James Coakley said:
"The best explanation I can come up with is, George is very tied into the conservative bent. He gets all his information from the conservative-type think tanks. George picks it up and regurgitates it. Some of the stuff is half-baked at best, but sometimes it's so bad we have to call him on it and write letters to the editor. It's just not right; it just counters all the evidence."It’s time Oregon got a new state climatologist. Way past time. I hope the heat continues to be kept on George Taylor and those at Oregon State University who are keeping him in his position.
Here are email addresses for George Taylor (email@example.com); Mark Abbott, the Dean of his college (firstname.lastname@example.org); and Edward Ray, the President of OSU (email@example.com).
Read the Willamette Week article, then let them know what you think about Taylor remaining as Oregon’s state climatologist.