Saturday, November 7, 2009

My Problem With Roger Pielke Jr.

Dr. Pielke - Feel free to comment.

Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. describes himself as:
“a professor of environmental studies… [and] a Senior Fellow of The Breakthrough Institute, a progressive think tank”.
Dr. Pielke also hosts an often insightful blog.

My (primary) problem with Dr. Pielke is his willful failure -- despite several reminders -- to honor a promise he made on 7/31/09. On that date, I posted a request:
“I would (respectfully) still like to see you articulate how you came to conclude that a policy response aimed at reducing CO2 emissions was advisable.”
Dr. Pielke responded:
“Thanks. I have discussed this on many occasions on the blog, in articles, and in Congressional testimony. But your question is fair. I'll make a point to address it directly in an upcoming post.”
Dr. Pielke is very much aware that I have reminded him several times of this as yet unkept promise. On 10/20/09, I said:
“Again, I remind you of your 7/31/09 promise to enumerate why you believe it is necessary and advisable for governments to intervene in an effort to reduce CO2 emissions.”
This time, Dr. Pielke replied (with an inexplicable emoticon wink):
“You'll get an answer, I promise, it is in the [soon to be released] book”
There are two problems with that reply:

1) It absolutely fails to honor his promise to “address it directly in an upcoming post”.

2) Addressing this critical issue “in the book” is a convenient way to avoid an inconvenient debate (just like Al Gore, James Hansen, Joe Romm, et al).

On 11/3/09, Dr. Pielke stated:
“I don't think it fruitful to wage a political battle by challenging ‘deniers’ on matters of science”
That comment seems to validate my conclusion that -- just like Al Gore, et al -- Dr. Pielke prefers to avoid an inconvenient debate.

In the minds of true believers (and, I count Dr. Pielke as one), “the science [on AGW calamity] is settled” and all that remains is to sort out the proper policy response (Dr. Pielke’s bread and butter).

I would MUCH prefer for Dr. Pielke to address this himself. But, as he continues to dodge the question, I can only speculate as to his rationale. From what I have read from Dr. Pielke, I see two components to his conclusion that governments around the world must intervene to reduce CO2 emissions:

1) Agreement with the conclusions of the (demonstrably biased) IPCC.

2) What I regard to be a very ill-advised embrace of “The Precautionary Principle”.

Dr. Pielke - feel free to correct me. I will happily amend this post.

For balance, I want to give Dr. Pielke credit where credit is due:

1) Let’s just accept that Dr. Pielke -- for whatever reason -- earnestly (and sincerely) believes government intervention is both necessary and potentially productive.

2) Given that predisposition to (counter-productive) government intervention, I can -- at least -- note that Dr. Pielke, in my view, is a force for reason and moderation against the most extreme, irrational and destructive elements among the public policy tyrants. In taking this stance, a very public dispute has arisen between Dr. Roger Pielke Jr. and Dr. Joe Romm.

3) Dr. Pielke is normally (but, not always) quite reasonable (in my view) in publishing comments in his blog which are contrary to his views.

In conclusion…
My only purpose here is to encourage Dr. Pielke to keep his promise. If Dr. Pielke is going to advocate for imposing his views upon the rest of the world through force of law, the LEAST he can do is offer his rationale for advocating that approach in a forum where the premise can be openly debated and evidence (pro and con) can be presented.


In the unlikely event that any of the above links become broken, let me know. I have all the necessary screen shots (and more) to reproduce the evidence.

Click here for some basic climate change science
(which Dr. Pielke might find to be inconvenient to his political agenda).

1 comment:

SBVOR said...

I have frequently complimented Dr. Pielke on his relative fairness in moderating comments which are contrary to his own views. Ironically, he has not always published these compliments. In one unpublished comment, I said:

“I still assert that your willingness to publish opposing opinion/evidence is unrivaled in the known universe.”

Without a doubt the least of my complaints with Dr. Pielke is his comment moderation practice. That said, I was particularly surprised by one recent example.

In this comment, Dr. Pielke challenged me to publish the unpublished comment which I thought to be the most out of character with Dr. Pielke’s admittedly “generous” (relative to most moderated blogs) comment moderation practice.

Okay, I will.

On two different occasions on two different days I submitted the following response to this comment. Dr. Pielke declined -- on both occasions -- to publish the following (verbatim) comment:

-- beginning of unpublished comment --

“-12-Sharon F sez:

‘I could never say that CO2 will ‘never’ result in anything catastrophic.’

Yes, as one scientist to another, ‘never’ is a strong word -- even in the context of casual discussion. Let’s just say that there is nothing in the historical record (which I have seen) to suggest anything to the contrary.

Examine the evidence and find that:

1) Human contributions will never add enough CO2 to come even remotely close to historic levels of CO2. We would run out of hydrocarbons to burn long before we ever came close.

2) Historically, 8,000ppm (give or take) did not cause a climate catastrophe.

3) The last time the planet was as cold as it has been for the last 5 million years was during the Ordovician Ice Age (460 million years ago). At that time, CO2 was about 4,500ppm (give or take).

4) So, when the IPCC suggests a worst case scenario of less than 800ppm by 2100, I can’t get too excited.

5) It is (MAYBE) theoretically possible that volcanoes could reverse a 600 million year trend and add enough CO2 to create a risk (at least in the eyes of OSHA) to human health. But, even OSHA says anything under 5,000ppm is safe.

And, does anybody really expect volcanoes to reverse their 600 million year trend?”

--- end of unpublished comment --

Again, I was surprised by this. Although I did not regard it as a particularly big deal, I did mention it to Dr. Pielke in this comment. I was somewhat surprised at the defensiveness of his reply. I hope Dr. Pielke will reconsider his reply after he cools off.

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