Drudge: wrong

The Drudge Report has recently become the weather forecast for the right, highlighting every instance of below-average temperatures in a futile attempt to reverse measured global warming one record low at a time. Today he links to this story and titles it:

"Governor Plans To Fire Climatologist for Skeptical View of Warming..." He probably got the link from Pielke, who posted it overnight:
Whatever one thinks about the science of climate change, one should have concern about scientific advisory positions being determined by purely political criteria, as described in the interview with Oregon's governor. Imagine if George Bush said what the Oregon governor said above in regards to James Hansen -- "I just think there has to be somebody that says, 'this is the U.S. position on this.'" We saw exactly this sort of treatment of intelligence expertise with the Bush Administration's shenanigans leading to the Iraq War.

One should also be concerned about double standards among observers. Both Hansen and Taylor are admittedly outside the IPCC's scientific consensus on climate change and both are inconvenient for the elected officials for whom they serve. Do we really want to go down a path where politicians are able to manipulate governmental advisors to suit their policy preferences? Do the rest of us need any semblance of intellectual coherence on this issue? Or should we instead have of scientific advice simply reflect a convenient political litmus test?
Both Drudge and Pielke are wrong. The article clearly states that George Taylor is not getting fired:
In the face of evidence agreed upon by hundreds of climate scientists, George Taylor holds firm. He does not believe human activities are the main cause of global climate change.

Taylor also holds a unique title: State Climatologist.

“Most of the climate changes we have seen up until now have been a result of natural variations,” Taylor asserts.

Taylor has held the title of "state climatologist" since 1991 when the legislature created a state climate office at OSU The university created the job title, not the state.

His opinions conflict not only with many other scientists, but with the state of Oregon's policies.

So the governor wants to take that title from Taylor and make it a position that he would appoint.
"The university created the job title, not the state" and now Kulongowski wants his own climatologist. So, no, he's not getting fired; the title of the position is merely changeing hands from OSU to the state. As to why the governor might not want Taylor, check out the Willamette week:
Taylor himself has supplemented his government salary with oil money. On Nov. 22, 2004, the ExxonMobil-funded website Tech Central Station (techcentralstation.com-"Where Free Markets Meet Technology") published the 2,300-word article by Taylor that Inhofe had read on the Senate floor. Taylor's article was a review of a report that had shown significant warming in the Arctic. Taylor, who has written seven articles on climate change for Tech Central Station, says he was paid $500 for the review.

The Arctic report said the North Pole is losing its permafrost, and frozen bogs are melting in Alaska and Siberia, spewing vast amounts of methane, another greenhouse gas. Sea ice and glaciers are retreating, temperatures are rising, the growing season is extending and robins are now living above the Arctic Circle for the first time in history.

Taylor's review said the authors of the Arctic study looked at only the last 35 years, ignoring data from the 1930s that show conditions were comparable to those of today. "Why not start the trend there?" he wrote. "Because there is no net warming over the last 65 years?"

It's not clear what report Taylor was reading. In fact, the Arctic study takes into account an entire thousand years and places the Arctic in the context of the entire globe.

Taylor acknowledges he reviewed only 55 pages of a 140-page summary of the full 1,200-page report, yet still found fault with its sourcing. "Oddly, the [report] does a very poor job of documenting its sources of information," Taylor writes. "For such an ambitious document its science consists primarily of blanket statements without any sort of reference or citation."
So he got paid to write an article for TCS reviewing a report he didn't read. Maybe the governor wants someone more responsible as state climatologist. Next, check out the following blog post on a discussion Taylor took part in last week:
George Taylor explaining why he believes global warming doesn't exist, and why as a result greenhouse gases are not an issue.

1 question from the audience summed up the night:

To paraphrase: If we choose to follow one of these perspectives and we find out in 20 years we chose wrong, which incorrect choice is worse?

George Taylor quietly stated that we would probably be worse off if we chose to believe him and it turned out he was wrong. As this erroneous decision would have caused us to take passive action and make little investments to curb greenhouse gases.
Not only did he base his opinions on reading reports piecemeal, he also states that his opinions might be dangerous. Maybe the governor wants someone better to advise him on climate change. Taylor seems like a friendly guy, but he might not be the right man for the job.