Roger Pielke Jr.: My unhappy life as a climate heretic 

Posted: December 3, 2016 by oldbrew in censorship, climate, Politics, research

Tropical storm [image credit: BBC]

Tropical storm [image credit: BBC]

Despite being what might be termed a ‘lukewarmer’, this professor has been a target of climate fanatics for a long time for pointing out a few inconvenient truths they would prefer the public not to hear, as the Wall Street Journal reports. Now with a new US President on the way he has chosen to speak out about his unfair treatment.

My research was attacked by thought police in journalism, activist groups funded by billionaires and even the White House. Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election.

In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for a campaign to have me eliminated as a writer for Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight website.

In the email, the editor of the think tank’s climate blog bragged to one of its billionaire donors, Tom Steyer: “I think it’s fair [to] say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538.”

WikiLeaks provides a window into a world I’ve seen up close for decades: the debate over what to do about climate change, and the role of science in that argument. Although it is too soon to tell how the Trump administration will engage the scientific community, my long experience shows what can happen when politicians and media turn against inconvenient research—which we’ve seen under Republican and Democratic presidents.

I understand why Mr. Podesta—most recently Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman—wanted to drive me out of the climate-change discussion. When substantively countering an academic’s research proves difficult, other techniques are needed to banish it. That is how politics sometimes works, and professors need to understand this if we want to participate in that arena.

More troubling is the degree to which journalists and other academics joined the campaign against me. What sort of responsibility do scientists and the media have to defend the ability to share research, on any subject, that might be inconvenient to political interests—even our own?

I believe climate change is real and that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax. But my research led me to a conclusion that many climate campaigners find unacceptable: There is scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the U.S. or globally.

In fact we are in an era of good fortune when it comes to extreme weather. This is a topic I’ve studied and published on as much as anyone over two decades. My conclusion might be wrong, but I think I’ve earned the right to share this research without risk to my career. Instead, my research was under constant attack for years by activists, journalists and politicians.

In 2011 writers in the journal Foreign Policy signaled that some accused me of being a “climate-change denier.” I earned the title, the authors explained, by “questioning certain graphs presented in IPCC reports.” That an academic who raised questions about the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change in an area of his expertise was tarred as a denier reveals the groupthink at work.

Yet I was right to question the IPCC’s 2007 report, which included a graph purporting to show that disaster costs were rising due to global temperature increases. The graph was later revealed to have been based on invented and inaccurate information, as I documented in my book “The Climate Fix.”

The insurance industry scientist Robert-Muir Wood of Risk Management Solutions had smuggled the graph into the IPCC report. He explained in a public debate with me in London in 2010 that he had included the graph and misreferenced it because he expected future research to show a relationship between increasing disaster costs and rising temperatures.

When his research was eventually published in 2008, well after the IPCC report, it concluded the opposite: “We find insufficient evidence to claim a statistical relationship between global temperature increase and normalized catastrophe losses.” Whoops.

The IPCC never acknowledged the snafu, but subsequent reports got the science right: There is not a strong basis for connecting weather disasters with human-caused climate change. Yes, storms and other extremes still occur, with devastating human consequences, but history shows they could be far worse.

No Category 3, 4 or 5 hurricane has made landfall in the U.S. since Hurricane Wilma in 2005, by far the longest such period on record. This means that cumulative economic damage from hurricanes over the past decade is some $70 billion less than the long-term average would lead us to expect, based on my research with colleagues. This is good news, and it should be OK to say so. Yet in today’s hyper-partisan climate debate, every instance of extreme weather becomes a political talking point.

Continued here: Roger Pielke Jr.: My Unhappy Life as a Climate Heretic | The Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF)

  1. oldbrew says:

    Pielke Jr. writes: In 2015 I was quoted in the Los Angeles Times, by Pulitzer Prize-winning reporter Paige St. John, making the rather obvious point that politicians use the weather-of-the-moment to make the case for action on climate change, even if the scientific basis is thin or contested.

    Ms. St. John was pilloried by her peers in the media. Shortly thereafter, she emailed me what she had learned: “You should come with a warning label: Quoting Roger Pielke will bring a hailstorm down on your work from the London Guardian, Mother Jones, and Media Matters.”

    Media climate paranoia in action. Not a pretty sight 😦

  2. TA says:

    “I believe climate change is real and that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax.”

    I’ll agree with you as soon as I see some evidence that humans are causing the Earth’s climate to act differently than it otherwise would, due to human-caused CO2 inputs. To date, I have seen no such evidence.

  3. TA says:

    And I might add that Roger Pielke Jr. has been treated disgracefully by the opposition. The Thought-Police tried to shut him up because he was not going along with the program. But he is still speaking out and his voice will get louder as time goes along. There will be a sympathetic ear in the White House come Jan. 20, 2017.

  4. hunter says:

    Journalists are in the modern era cowardly and lazy beyond belief.

  5. rishrac says:

    It is the insurance industry you’re up against. Has anyone ever in history seen insurance rates go down ? It wouldn’t matter whether temperatures were going up or down as long as they could factor in an extra charge, real or not, based on future catastrophic events. The difference between the actual and the imaginary is profit. And it benefits them to increase that margin. In support of their position, qualified climate scientists say so.

  6. catweazle666 says:

    If anything bears out the old aphorism about telling how close you are to the target by the amount of flak you’re drawing, Roger Pielke Jr.’s sad tale is it.

  7. oldbrew says:

    Pielke: ‘But my research led me to a conclusion that many climate campaigners find unacceptable: There is scant evidence to indicate that hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or drought have become more frequent or intense in the U.S. or globally.’

    Which makes a fool of non-scientists like Al Gore who claim the opposite is happening.

    So what’s it to be: evidence-based science or smoke-and-mirrors propaganda?

  8. Curious George says:

    The truth makes people mad. Also Mr. Tom Steyer and Mr. John Podesta.

  9. ivan says:

    Oldbrew. you are a bit behind the times with smoke-and-mirrors propaganda. It has now morphed into a religion and any non believers are heretics and will face the inquisition for their ‘sins’.

  10. wolsten says:

    Reblogged this on Wolsten and commented:
    Fortunately my career doesn’t depend on my climate views but here is someone pilloried for believing in anthropogenic global warming but just not the extreme version where climate change must, by the standard IPCC definition, make everything worse.

  11. Stephen Richards says:

    There was a lot about jnr’s work I did not like or agree with but science is not about like and dislike it’s about debate, experiment, theories. I will defend everybody’s right to do their science in that way and fight those who seek to stop them.
    I always thought that snr’s work was more appropriate.

  12. oldbrew says:

    ivan: yes it seems the ‘true believers’ have put their brains in neutral and just shout for the team, come what may, science or logic not needed.

  13. michael hart says:

    “There are all kinds of courage,” said Dumbledore, smiling. “It takes a great deal of bravery to stand up to our enemies, but just as much to stand up to our friends.”-[Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone ]

    Though I disagree with them on many points, Roger Pielke Jr. and Bjørn Lomborg have both shown exemplary human dignity when they are vilified for questioning even a few of the most outrageous claims of the global-warming alarmists. I wish them both well.

  14. tom0mason says:

    Pielke reported:
    “Those conclusions indicate no overall increasing trend in hurricanes, floods, tornadoes or droughts—in the U.S. or globally.”
    Obama’s science advisor John Holdren then attacked Pielke as not a mainstream representative in an essay “chock-full of errors and misstatements.” These in turn were then used as the basis to start a RICO (Racketeering) investigation — something usually thrown at the organized crime — to investigate Roger’s funding.

    Sad and nasty.

    So the old Stalinist action was at work — If you can not destroy the man, destroy his reputation.

  15. Reblogged this on The Climate Realist's Resource and commented:
    Here’s Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., climate realist extraordinaire, excellent as always, writing in the Wall Street Journal about the previously documented campaign against him. It’s certainly worth a read, and I applaud Dr. Pielke for his courage and steadfast devotion to communicating climate science accurately and clearly.

  16. oldbrew says:

    catweazle: Hansen has no credibility on climate IMO so his latest claims aren’t worth a light.

    Update: however he did admit there was a ‘slowdown’ or ‘standstill’ in temperatures, which is more than some of his ilk are prepared to do.

  17. catweazle666 says:

    “Hansen has no credibility on climate so his latest claims aren’t worth a light.”


    You know that, and I know that, but there are a LOT out there who still believe he’s the Grand Old Man of the CAGW movement and basically, he’s just hung them out to dry.

    There will be weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth.

  18. oldbrew says:

    If Hansen really understands climate as much as we’re told, he may suspect that the new ‘quiet Sun’ period we’ve entered is likely to cause some climate change other than what warmists loudly predict.

  19. Cognitive Dissonance plays a definite role here for the Globalists.

  20. […] Source: Roger Pielke Jr.: My unhappy life as a climate heretic  | Tallbloke’s Talkshop […]

  21. gallopingcamel says:

    You say “Climate change is real”. Nobody could disagree with that but you won’t have my respect until you say whether the temperature will go up or down.

    You also say “…that human emissions of greenhouse gases risk justifying action, including a carbon tax.” This implies that CO2 has a significant effect on “Climate change”. There is plenty of evidence to suggest otherwise.

    My personal view is that the bullies picked on you because you are wishy washy and confused.

  22. oldbrew says:

    Climate Heretic: to be or not to be?
    Posted on December 5, 2016
    by Judith Curry

    On experts, lukewarmers, and unhappy heretics.

    Curry: As to the question: to be or not to be a climate heretic?

    I’m planning a climate heretic blog post shortly after the first of the year. After seeing RP Jr’s title, perhaps I will title it ‘Happy Heretic’ (stay tuned). Here’s to hoping that the Age of Trump will herald the demise of climate change dogma and acceptance of a broader range of perspectives on climate science and our policy options.

  23. gallopingcamel says:

    Nice idea “oldbrew”.

    [reply] it’s Judith Curry’s idea not mine 🙂