Via Desmogblog's continued laser-like focus on climate change "skeptics," we're pleased to learn that University of Virginia climatologist Pat Michaels has quietly stepped down as that state's official climatologist, amidst criticism of his private industry funding for his denials of the global warming problem.
You see, Michaels wasn't just trying to promote his views within Virginia-- as reported by Robert McClure of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, the Society of Environmental Journalists recently revealed that Michaels nearly testified last spring in the auto industry's (ultimately unsuccessful) lawsuit against Vermont's auto emissions standards. He apparently withdrew at the last minute when it became clear that he would have to disclose his sources of funding.
Michaels' involvement here only makes us further question the praise being heaped on the auto industry about its purported commitment to reducing emissions by EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson. His rosy assessment of an industry that not only continues costly litigation to thwart state emissions-cutting efforts, but employs people like Michaels in doing so, is increasingly troubling in light of his duty to rule impartially on California's critical waiver request. We're increasingly skeptical of Johnson's intentions here.