Scott Waldman at E&E news reported yesterday that the libertarian Cato Institute has discontinued a program that downplayed the severity of climate change. The program was shut down after Pat Michaels left the organization due to internal disagreements with Cato administrators. A spokeswoman for Cato stated that “While it is true that, with the departure of Pat Michaels, we have deactivated our Center for the Study of Science, we continue to work on science policy issues.”
The Cato Institute has engaged climate issues outside of Michaels’ center, for example with an issue of Regulation magazine from 2013 called “Gambling on Global Warming: How much should we tax an unknown risk.”. But Cato’s reputation on climate was driven largely by Pat Michaels’ self-described “lukewarmism.” Michaels contested that climate models ‘ran hot’, in spite of NASA evidence to the contrary. Ryan Maue, a former meteorologist who also left the center said that “one of Michaels’ lasting contributions in the climate policy debate was to create a position where one can accept that humans are affecting the climate but not as much as the vast majority of scientists claim”. Maue mentioned as well that the Niskanen Center has attracted conservatives in favor of moderate policy, which may attract businesses that aid think tanks in order to support climate policy in the Trump era.
Be sure to check out Scott’s article, and tell us on Facebook or Twitter (@republicEn) what you think the implications of this news will be for #EcoRight leadership on climate.