You’d think that someone called the “state climatologist” would understand basic facts about climate. But George Taylor isn’t big on facts.
He doesn’t believe that humans are having a significant effect on global climate change, which puts him at odds with the world’s experts who just said otherwise. Of course, I’m sure there are a few biologists here and there who don’t believe in evolution.
Hopefully none of them have the title of “state biologist.” If any do, I’m embarrassed for that state. Just as I’m embarrassed that George Taylor has the title of state climatologist in Oregon.
Taylor has irritated me for several years. Now I find him more laughable than irritating, since the science of climate change has left him so far behind, it’s amusing to observe him trying to defend his “What, me worry about global warming?” attitude.
Willamette Week’s headline back in August 2005 captured Taylor perfectly: “Hot or Not. Oregon’s official weatherman has some good news about global warming—it doesn’t exist.” The story was good too. It showed how little Taylor knows about what a climatologist should know a lot about.
Wednesday evening I was driving around, doing errands, listening to talk radio. Victoria Taft (KPAM) had George Taylor as a guest. I didn’t hear all of the interview but caught this gem from Taylor as I was pulling into our carport:
“We can’t prove that CO2 [carbon dioxide] causes or doesn’t cause warming.”
Are you kidding me? was my instant reaction. A story in today’s Washington Post says:
With at least 90 percent certainty, the IPCC's "Summary For Policymakers" concludes human-generated greenhouse gases account for most of the global rise in temperatures over the past half century. Hundreds of scientists from 113 countries prepared the report, which represents the most comprehensive overview of scientific climate research since 2001.
I also asked a distinguished faculty member at O.S.U.’s College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, where Taylor works, to comment on Taylor’s notion that it isn’t known whether carbon dioxide causes warming of the atmosphere. Jim Coakley’s email reply said, in part:
George's assertion that we can't prove whether CO2 causes warming or cooling, is, of course, nonsense. But then, no one tries to pin George down on what he means by "we can't prove..." First, one should ask what proof is needed? Would seeing the 3-5 C rise in temperature that we're predicting for this century serve as proof? Can you imagine the dilemma waiting to see such a rise would pose? We can't wait. Waiting is stupid.
Interestingly, Taylor himself agrees we shouldn’t listen to him on global warming. Which is exactly what all of us should do. Taylor is having a good time playing his “state climatologist” role, which he may or may not be (Kari Chisholm, the governor, and me all have our doubts).
Just don’t take him seriously. There’s no reason to trust a climatologist who flunks Climate Change 101.