Mote’s previous position was Washington State Climatologist at the University of Washington, where he repeatedly pointed to a 50% decline in mountain snows between 1950 and the mid-1990s. But there are data available after 1995 and before 1950, and when all the data are taken together — thanks in part to the fact that it has snowed plenty there in the last 15 years—the strong decline is erased.

Mote’s then Associate State Climatologist, Mark Albright, emailed this information to several people. When he refused to stop telling the whole truth, Mote terminated his position.

Across the Columbia River at Oregon State University, the previous head of the Oregon Climate Services, George Taylor, put all of the Cascade snowfall data online for anyone to see. The long-term records clearly showed no decline at all. Ted Kulongoski, Oregon’s “green” governor, told Taylor he could no longer refer to himself as Oregon State Climatologist. Oregon State University showed little support, too (although Taylor was twice elected as President of the American Association of State Climatologists). Taylor quit rather than continue in such an environment.

George Taylor got into trouble for simply for telling the truth about the lack of a big decline in mountain snowfall, and his university seemed to not care. Mark Albright lost his position for the exact same offense. Phil Mote, who terminated Albright, replaced George Taylor.

Two things are very disturbing. Where was the hue and cry over “academic freedom” over the Albright and Taylor incidents? And how could Mote originally think it was just perfectly fine to use his official position concerning a local race for Congress?

Intolerance appears to be endemic in academic climatology. In Climategate, the University of East Anglia found nothing wrong with a culture of climate bullies blatantly attempting to bend the canon of knowledge, which is the peer reviewed scientific literature. Penn State did the same in its investigation of Michael Mann’s vituperative emails found in the East Anglia package.

The overarching issue is that political correctness has so infected the academy that academic freedom with regard to global warming is now a figment, while electioneering on the public’s dime results in no punishment whatsoever.


Patrick J. Michaels

Pat Michaels is a senior fellow at the Cato Institute and author of Climate of Extremes: Global Warming Science They Don’t Want You to Know.