Extreme Weather Censors

Roger Pielke, Jr. was highlighted in the Denver Post on climate change and extreme weather:

Extreme weather censors
By Vincent Carroll
Denver Post, March 22, 2014

If you were looking for the extremes of political intolerance in America, you’d begin with the usual roll call of hate groups on the right or bigoted jihadists — or perhaps left-wing radicals of Occupy Wall Street ilk and Earth Liberation Front.

But as you expanded your search to less dangerous outposts, you’d want to check 0ut the world of climate activism, which apparently brooks no views that vary so much as a centimeter from enforced consensus.

Why else would activists be denouncing the decision of statistics celebrity Nate Silver to add a University of Colorado professor to his new website’s list of contributing writers — a professor who agrees that greenhouse emissions are warming the Earth, favors a carbon tax and, in his words, has “supported what President Obama has done to combat climate change, including stronger regulations on efficiency [and] power plants … “?

The reason for the activists’ ire, as a National Journal article explains, is that Professor Roger Pielke Jr. has argued that some climate policy advocates “have gone too far in claiming climate change has worsened extreme weather events like hurricanes and severe droughts, or increased their frequency.”
And so, because Pielke resists glib claims about extreme weather from people who should know better, some seek to marginalize and even banish him from sites such as Silver’s FiveThirtyEight.com.

As Pielke recently explained in The New Republic, “While politicians and environmental advocates routinely attribute natural disasters with human-caused climate change, the uncomfortable reality is that such attribution remains speculative. There is not yet a scientific basis for making such a connection.”

Pielke freely points out that research suggests extreme weather “may become more frequent and/or intense in the future as a direct consequence of human-caused climate changes.” But we might not see confirmation of that for decades.
For the time being, those who say hurricanes, tornadoes or floods are getting more intense or frequent are just factually wrong. Meanwhile, since the 1950s, “some regions of the world have experienced a trend to more intense and longer droughts … but in some regions droughts have become less frequent, less intense, or shorter.”

That last quotation is not from Pielke but from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which he refers to frequently, as well as to a host of peer-reviewed papers. But Pielke doesn’t suffer opportunists and demagogues lightly, and so has taken to task public figures who abuse their status to misinform the world about the science of extreme weather.

Last July, when he testified before a Senate Committee examining climate change, Pielke even raised the hackles of President Obama’s science adviser, John Holdren. Perhaps that’s because Obama himself resorts when convenient to claiming that extreme weather has become more frequent and intense.

In any case, Holdren recently took the stunning step of telling Congress that Pielke was outside “mainstream scientific opinion” — although the evidence Holdren provided pertained only to droughts and didn’t actually refute Pielke at all.

As the CU professor points out, imagine the outcry if George W. Bush’s science adviser had used his prestige in an attempt to smear an academic.

And yet Pielke himself appears undeterred. His first article for FiveThirtyEight: “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” Read more …

This entry was posted in In the News. Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.