Global Warming: Man or Myth?

Scientists can also wear their citizen hats

Is Patrick Michaels Trying to Pass Us a Counterfeit $20 Bill?

with 7 comments

Which of the $20 bills below is real and which is counterfeit?

What if I were to tell you that the one on the left was provided by a member of the United States Treasury and had the endorsement of virtually every currency expert on the planet? What if I told you that the one on the right was passed by a guy who has a history of deception and that virtually every currency expert thinks the one on the right is fake?

I am guessing that you think the one on the left is real and the one on the right is a fake because you considered the credibility of the people who passed that bill to you.

Now keep your “credibility eyes” open when Patrick Michaels tries to pass you a counterfeit document that is supposed to make you and our elected officials believe climate change is not a major concern for the United States.






To the average person the counterfeit report by Cato Institute looks real. How do we know it is a counterfeit? The United States Global Change Research Program’s report (the one on the left) was published in 2009 while the Cato Counterfeit was released this year. The report on the right is a copy which might fool the unsuspecting receiver much like a fake $20 can fool a person if it is a good-looking copy.

We have seen counterfeit reports before. The notorious Oregon Petition pushed by S. Fred Singer and many other deniers also arrived in the mail with a counterfeit “journal article” that was made to look exactly like that of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. S. Fred Singer and Heartland Institute published the Nongovernmental Panel on Climate Change (NIPCC) that was a counterfeit of the real IPCC reports.

One must wonder why these people spend countless hours dissing the IPCC and our top scientists yet they keep taking great pains to copy the reports from these experts!

So it is clear that the Cato Institute report is a copy which is certainly unprofessional and no self-respecting scientist would sign onto such a transparent attempt to fool the public and our policymakers. I decided to check out the publishing background of the authors of both reports. The table below shows the number of peer-reviewed scientific journal articles by the authors since 2006 along with the h-index value according to SCOPUS. The h-index reflects both the number of publications and the number of citations per publication. A high h-index means that a researcher produces high-quality, credible research that is often cited by other scholars. Conversly, a scientist who produces many papers which are cited very few times would have a low h-index.

Note: I did not count Energy& Environment nor Cato Journal articles because they are not considered on par with other peer-reviewed journals. Results appear below:



Author # Articles h-index   Author # Articles h-index
Thomas R. Karl, NOAA National Climatic Data Center 14 26 Patrick J. Michaels, Cato Institute 3 12
Jerry M. Melillo, Marine Biological Laboratory 48 50 Robert C. Balling, Arizona State University 29 16
Thomas C. Peterson, NOAA National Climatic Data Center 23 29 Mary J. Hutzler, Insitute (sic) for Energy Research 0 0
Michael J. Savonis, U.S. Department of Transportation 4 1 Robert E. Davis, University of Virginia 19 32
H. Gerry Schwartz, Jr., Consultant/Transportation 0 0 Indur V. Goklany, Independent Scientist 2 7
Eileen L. Shea, NOAA National Climatic Data Center/ Integrated Data and Environmental Applications Center 2 1 Paul C. Knappenberger, New Hope Environmental Services 2 13
John M.R. Stone, Carleton University 3 2 Craig D. Idso, Center for Study of Carbon Dioxide and Global Change 0 7
Bradley H. Udall, University of Colorado/NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory 2 3
John E. Walsh, University of Alaska Fairbanks 47 34
Michael F. Wehner, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 16 15
Thomas J. Wilbanks, Oak Ridge National Laboratory 10 9
Donald J. Wuebbles, University of Illinois 33 22
David M. Anderson, NOAA World Data Center for Paleoclimatology 5 22
Donald F. Boesch, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science 3 15
Virginia R. Burkett, U.S. Geological Survey 2 6
Lynne M. Carter, Adaptation Network 0 0
Stewart J. Cohen, Environment Canada and University of British Columbia 10 11
Nancy B. Grimm, Arizona State University 3 2
Jerry L. Hatfield, U.S. Department of Agriculture 37 23
Katharine Hayhoe, Texas Tech University 30 18
Anthony C. Janetos, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory 4 9
Jack A. Kaye, National Aeronautics and Space Administration 0 3
Jay H. Lawrimore, NOAA National Climatic Data Center 7 12
James J. McCarthy, Harvard University 5 13
David McGuire, U.S. Geological Survey/University of Alaska Fairbanks 51 38
Edward L. Miles, University of Washington 4 7
Evan Mills, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory 37 11
Jonathan T. Overpeck, University of Arizona 30 39
Jonathan A. Patz, University of Wisconsin at Madison 15 33
Roger S. Pulwarty, NOAA Climate Program Office and Earth. System Research Laboratory 4 9
Benjamin D. Santer, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory 28 34

I also linked Patrick Michaels and Robert Balling because they appear to be legitimate experts until you peek behind the curtain to see the groups they run around with. Balling is closely aligned with S. Fred Singer who is a well-documented science denier. He is so bad I call him the George Costanza of Science.

Of the seven authors of the Cato Counterfeit Report only five have any publications and two have dubious backgrounds. There really is no comparison between the authors of the real report from USGCRP and the authors of the fake report. (Cato Institute has a history of documents with few real experts named. See: Congressman Rohrabacher’s Paper Tiger.)

Furthermore, virtually every publishing scientist and all international science academies are telling us that the information found in the real report is valid. And it is not just scientists. In my previous blog post I discussed how experts from the military, health, and insurance sectors are warning us that climate change is a serious threat to Americans and to the rest of the world.

Let’s look at one of the Key Findings listed in the Cato Counterfeit Report:

5. Crop and livestock production will adapt to climate change: There is a large body of evidence that demonstrates substantial untapped adaptability of US agriculture to climate change, including crop-switching that can change the species used for livestock feed. In addition, carbon dioxide itself is likely increasing crop yields and will continue to do so in increasing increments in the future. (pp. 102-118)

Honestly, they have a lot of nerve publishing this nonsense when so many Americans (and others around the world) are suffering from massive droughts and fires. Increased frequency of drought and fires has been predicted to increase due to global warming and it is only going to get worse if we listen to counterfeiters.

Texas farmer who lost his livelihood

Texas farmer who lost his livelihood

Telling farmers that CO2 is plant food is like telling a person on fire that they should take vitamins because vitamins are good for you. (Hint: water is kind of important too!)

The late Carl Sagan was fond of saying that extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. I do not believe he said extraordinary copying.

Refuse to accept the counterfeit $20 bill.

Do You Trust a Group Who Supports This?

Do You Trust a Group Who Supports This?

(John Mashey peered behind the curtain of Cato Institute’s founder and president emeritus, Ed Crane. See The Battle for the Cato Institute: Crane was quite happy taking money year after year from the tobacco companies, who stay in business addicting children, of whom about half will eventually die of smoking-related diseases. Very few people start smoking after age 18, so the only thing that really counts is getting kids to smoke. From 1991-2001, CATO was 3rd biggest think tank recipient of Philip Morris funds. Crane thanks RJ Reynolds, who was then running Joe Camel, the most successful campaign to get more kids to smoke earlier. But RJR’s money was good:

“We are delighted to have RJ Reynolds as a significant corporate supporter of the Institute and look forward to working with you in the months and years ahead…. Let’s get together for lunch on one of  your upcoming trips to Washington.”


It is our pleasure to be able to support the work that is being done by the Cato Institute…)

Do you think Patrick Michaels and his Cato Institute Counterfeiters are representing your best interests?

UPDATE 10/23: “We, Donald Boesch, Lynne Carter, Nancy Grimm, Katherine Hayhoe, James McCarthy, Jonathan Overpeck, Benjamin Santer, John Stone, Gerry Schwartz, Bradley Udall, and Donald Wuebbles, are members of the Federal Advisory Committee that wrote the 2009 report Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States. As authors of that report, we are dismayed that the report of the Cato Institute, ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States, expropriates the title and style of our report in such a deceptive and misleading way. The Cato report is in no way an addendum to our 2009 report. It is not an update, explanation, or supplement by the authors of the original report. Rather, it is a completely separate document lacking rigorous scientific analysis and review.” Read the full statement for the real experts here.

Others covering this story:

How Stupid Does Cato Institute think Congress Is? Oh, right…. – Peter Sinclair, Climate Denial Crock of the Week
Pat Michaels Erases the Arctic – Eli Rabett, Rabett Run
Fake “ADDENDUM: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States” – William Connelly, Stoat
Fake ‘addendum’ by conservative group tries to undo federal climate report – Douglas Fischer, The Daily Climate
Fake Addendum by Contrarian Group Tries to Undo U.S. Government Climate Report, Douglas Fischer, Scientific American
Cato Institute counterfeit U.S. climate change impacts assessment, Rick Piltz, Climate Science Watch
Koch Brothers Produce Counterfeit Climate Report to Deceive Congress, Connor Gibson, Greenpeace
Cato publishes deceptive government climate report “addendum.”, David Wagner, The Atlanic Wire
Koch Brothers Produce Counterfeit Climate Report to Deceive Congress, Connor Gibson, DeSmog Blog
Cato Institute Crafts Fake ‘Addendum’ To Federal Climate Report: ‘It’s Not An Addendum, It’s A Counterfeit’, Douglas Fischer, Climate Progress
Climate Deniers To Release Rip-Off Report, Kate Sheppard, Mother Jones
Cato’s Cargo-Cult Pseudo-Science Climate “addendum”, Jan Dash, UU-UNO Climate Change Task Force
Cato Institute Crafts Fake ‘Addendum’ To Federal Climate Report: ‘It’s Not An Addendum, It’s A Counterfeit’, Douglas Fischer, Sierra Activist
Will media fall for fake Cato climate report?, Kevin Grandia, Daily Kos
Brief: Cato Institute’s “Addendum: Global Climate Change Impacts in the United States”, Guest, Climate Science Watch
Climate Deniers Ready Deceptive Report, Alexander Reed Kelly, Truthdig
Look-alike Cato report on climate misleads, scientists say, Emily Heil, Washington Post
Cato Institute Helpfully Makes Its Fake Climate Report Look Like Actual Government Climate Report, Except Fake, Doktor Zoom, Wonkette
Cato Institute Halloween trick: issues report masquerading as an “Addendum” to 2009 National Climate Assessment, Nick Sundt, Climate Science Watch
Watch Out for Wooden Nickels…and Fake Government Reports, Union of Concernded Scientists
Desperate Fossil Fuel Industry Resorts to Counterfeit Climate Change “Addendum”, Denise Robbins, Scaling Green

Written by Scott Mandia

October 22, 2012 at 5:46 am

7 Responses

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  1. Staggering, maddening, preposterous, …. and somewhat stereotypical.

  2. […] Patrick Michaels Trying To Pass Us a Counterfeit $20 Bill? An explanation from Global Warming, Man or Myth – here’s an excerpt: “What if I were to tell you that the one on the left was […]

  3. […] Patrick Michaels Trying To Pass Us a Counterfeit $20 Bill? An explanation from Global Warming, Man or Myth – here’s an excerpt: “What if I were to tell you that the one on the left was […]

    • Thanks for sharing this. These idiots need to knock off their deceptive tactics.

      Although we cannot predict the future with absolute certainty, we cannot refute the gross consumption of fossil fuels, starting nearly 200-years ago, and accelerating substantially a hundred years ago, and again after WWII. The data is beyond dispute, showing serious changes in CO2 levels, arctic ice, and ocean temps/pH. We need to act, for our descendants, sooner better than later. A good place to start would be to bring U.S. fuel taxes much higher, to discourage wasteful fuel consumption habits.

      Jeffrey Lewis

      October 23, 2012 at 1:23 pm

  4. I’m well aware of the tactics of the Cato Inst. as well as the responses to them by credible scientists, but this comment of yours was elegant and fresh. Got me laughing:

    “One must wonder why these people spend countless hours dissing the IPCC and our top scientists yet they keep taking great pains to copy the reports from these experts!”

    Excellent. Thanks.

    John Garrett

    October 23, 2012 at 2:24 pm

  5. […] science denial’s key players titled Climate of Doubt. The show highlighted S. Fred Singer, Patrick Michaels, Christopher Monckton, Chris Horner, Myron Ebell, and James Taylor, among several others. The […]

  6. Reblogged this on Echos from a Pale Blue Dot and commented:
    Another stunt from Cato. Instead of taking their own position, they’re trying to pass off false information in a format that mimics the real thing. If they had a real case why not stand up and put it out there to be reviewed on its own merit? Obviously because it won’t pass muster, so they try to slip everyone a ringer, just like the “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine” or the “Heartland Institute”.


    October 24, 2012 at 12:35 pm

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