The Cato Institute quietly shut down a program that for years sought to raise uncertainty about climate science, leaving the libertarian think tank co-founded by Charles Koch without an office dedicated to global warming.
The move came after Pat Michaels, a climate scientist who rejects mainstream researchers' concerns about rising temperatures, left Cato earlier this year amid disagreements with officials in the organization.
"They informed me that they didn't think their vision of a think tank was in the science business, and so I said, 'OK, bye,'" Michaels said in an interview yesterday. "There had been some controversy going around the building for some time, so things got to a situation where they didn't work out."
A spokeswoman said Cato's shuttering of the Center for the Study of Science does not represent a shift in the institute's position on human-caused climate change. But the think tank moved decisively to close down the science wing that was overseen by Michaels. Ryan Maue, a meteorologist and former adjunct scholar, also left the center.
Cato also is no longer affiliated with Richard Lindzen, an emeritus professor of meteorology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology who has long been critical of established climate science. Lindzen was a distinguished fellow at the think tank.
A week ago, Jerry Taylor, President and Co-founder of the think tank Niskanen Center who used to work at Cato, penned a piece entitled "What Changed My Mind About Climate Change?"
As Dr. Janne Korhonen recently pointed out, in the context of climate change, 92% of environmentally skeptical books published between 1972 and 2005 were linked to conservative think tanks.