Proponents of greater objectivity, cooperation, and transparency at the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) received a severe body blow when IPCC selected the highly controversial Philip Mote as a lead author for the Fifth Assessment Report, scheduled for release in 2013.
Twice in the past three years Mote has put himself in the spotlight by engaging in controversial tactics to shut down dissent against global warming alarmism.
Misleading Snowpack Claims
While holding the position of Washington state climatologist in 2007, Mote fired associate state climatologist Mark Albright for reporting factual data that contradicted a politician’s assertions of global warming causing a substantial decline in Cascade Mountain snowpack.
Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels (D) had asserted in a 2007 Seattle Times editorial that average snowpack in the Cascade Mountains had declined 50 percent since 1950 and the snowpack would be cut in half again by 2037 unless efforts were made to reduce global warming. Nickels based his assertions on research done by Mote, but Albright knew Nickels and Mote had cherry-picked their data to mislead the public about the true nature of Cascades snowpack.
Albright sent emails to colleagues reporting 1950 was a year of abnormally heavy snowfall in the Cascade Mountains, so it hardly represented a fair baseline. Albright noted—and a University of Washington atmospheric scientist chosen to referee the dispute agreed—current snowpack is only marginally lower than the long-term average since 1943, and that Cascade Mountain snowpack has been increasing since the late 1970s.
Mote fired Albright for insubordination.
Mote again decided again to use the political process to cut down opponents of global warming exaggerations by using an Oregon State University list-serve of professors, students, employees, and interested citizens to smear Art Robinson, a climate change scientist who had just won the Republican primary for Oregon’s 4th Congressional District.
“A robinson victory would put us in the tragic ranks of our climate colleagues at University of Oklahoma (Senator ‘global warming is a hoax’ Inhofe) and Univ of Alask (Rep. ‘scientists have their opinion, I have mine’ Young),” wrote Mote, a state employee, on the taxpayer-funded public university list-serv.
When Mote’s email was leaked to the press, he belatedly apologized for interjecting his personal political feelings on what is supposed to be a nonpartisan scientific list-serve.
“Normally, messages to this group address science topics related to environmental change and involve announcements of seminars, conferences, and other opportunities,” Mote acknowledged in his belated apology.
“Phil Mote single-handedly damaged the economy of Washington State when as state climatologist he published a cherry-picked data analysis allegedly linking western snowpack to global warming,” said Joe D’Aleo, the first director of meteorology at the cable TV Weather Channel and executive director of the International Climate and Environmental Change Assessment Project.
“Now as he moved on to Oregon as state climatologist, he is at it again, spreading nonsense about western snowpack and . . . attacking Dr. Art Robinson, a real scientist and American hero who won the primary to contend for the congressional seat in the 4th district,” D’Aleo added.
James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is managing editor of Environment & Climate News.