Taylor uses that title because he took over many of the duties the actual state climatologist used to perform before the position was abolished.
That's like saying you're married to a divorced woman because you're living with her and otherwise filling the role of the spouse she used to have. Legally, you're not. In the eyes of the world, you're not.
But OSU won't relinquish the fiction that George Taylor speaks for the state on climatological issues such as global warming, on which he holds some ridiculously unscientific views.
For some reason, OSU is letting Taylor use his unmerited title while planning for an Oregon Climate Center is going on. Maybe there's a bit of bureaucratic blackmail happening here.
If OSU gets funding for the center, its director (who surely wouldn't be Taylor) would likely become the official state climatologist. And the governor would be relieved of an embarrassment.
When I asked the OSU news and communication office to update me on the George Taylor title controversy, I got this reply:
As has been reported, the university and the governor have reached an understanding on the need for a climate change research center at OSU, an integrated proposal that the university has been developing for a year and that would have implications for the Oregon Climate Service, which George Taylor manages. No immediate changes are planned while that proposal is under consideration. The Oregonian story that you reference from Saturday's paper was fairly complete on this matter, and we have nothing further to add at this time.
Well, the Oregonian reported that Taylor's dean, Mark Abbott, intends to let Taylor keep his title until June 30, when his contract as head of the Oregon Climate Service expires.
Sure sounds like OSU is sticking it to the governor. Kulongoski is doing his best to make Oregon a leader in finding creative and economically viable ways to deal with human-caused climate change problems. But he's got Taylor running around spouting his crazy "don't worry about global warming" notions, claiming all the while that he's the state climatologist.
The good news is that this story has gotten so much publicity, George Taylor's credibility is much diminished now.
If you ever are in the audience when he's speaking and you hear him introduced as the "state climatologist," a snicker would be an entirely appropriate response.