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Why you can't trust climatology

Roger Pielke Jr, along with a handful of other academics is the subject of an "investigation" by a Democratic congressman from Arizona. There has been a great deal of outrage and disgust expressed, on both sides of the debate, and it's certainly nice to see the two sides pulling together for once, although Michael Mann has chosen to keep up his ugly utterances instead.

Roger has discussed what is going on here. I was struck by this bit:

The incessant attacks and smears are effective, no doubt, I have already shifted all of my academic work away from climate issues. I am simply not initiating any new research or papers on the topic and I have ring-fenced my slowly diminishing blogging on the subject. 

Roger has always struck me as one of the most robust participants in the climate debate. When someone as thick-skinned as he is is forced out then it really does tell you something about the trustworthiness of what climatologists and the IPCC tell us.

The word is "nugatory", I think.

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Reader Comments (29)

Going after Curry and Pielke Jr. just shows that he (Grijalva) is going after a list of names without having any clue about the individuals. Pure political activism.

Curry and Pielke Jr. were on this enemies' list sent from a hacked e-mail account in conjunction with the NYT/Greenpeace attack on Willie Soon. More information over on Steven Goddard: "Barack Obama Goes Full Stalin"

Feb 25, 2015 at 10:26 AM | Registered Commentermyrightpenguin

Gulags.... I'm sorry, 'prisons,' are next. And lots of 'psychiatrists' questioning them daily.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterOtter (ClimateOtter on Twitter)

We're DOOMED, I tell ye....Aye, DOOOOMED...

(for our West-Pondia colleagues, google "Private Frazer"...)

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterdodgy geezer

Not only is this a disgraceful witch-hunt.....but they have chosen the wrong person to hunt! As Pielke makes clear, his views on climate change/global warming are in line with those of the IPCC.
They go after him because he has the temerity to suggest that the effects will not be "worse than we thought."
This is really pretty disturbing.
And depressing.
And disgusting.
And it answers the "warmists" questions along the lines of " So where are all the scientists/papers casting doubts on our theories?"
I have resisted using the comparison to Lysenkoism thus far. No longer.

Doubtless his correspondence will be handed over at once. As indeed it should be to anyone who asks. Michael Mann will probably not be tweeting about that side of the matter.

When even Bob Ward thinks things are getting out of hand.....well ! Think Stalin saying : " I say , chaps, ease up on the Cossacks a bit, eh? "

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

Steven Goddard's full post is here:

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Registered Commenterdennisa

These attacks are made by people who know their economic livelihoods depend on it.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

"Land of the Free"?

They need to have a long hard look at themselves.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterNial

The smears are disgraceful, and quite possibly defamatory. Grijalva is implying that Curry, Pielke Lindzen et al are funded by the Koch brothers and big oil and are hiding this. The 7 letters from Grijalva can be found here. The absurdity of the attack on Pielke is that if you look three posts back on his blog, you will find him quoting what the IPCC says, on extra-tropical cyclones.
This is a huge blunder by the Democrat committee that will backfire on them badly.

It is encouraging that some climate scientists have spoken out against this. I know of Richard Betts and Eric Steig - any others?

But I have to say the headline is disappointing. This McCarthyite bullying from politicians and political activists has nothing to do with whether climatology is trustworthy.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:19 PM | Registered CommenterPaul Matthews

Why doesn't Roger Pielke simply retaliate and charge the Senator with bringing the office of senator and the Democrat Party into disrepute and with the US equivalent of misconduct and misfeasance in a public office? At the very least he should make a formal complaint to the Speaker of the House.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterGladiatrix

It's a shocking mis-use of political office and I hope Roger makes them look stupid.

Feb 25, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Abbott

97% of climate "science" is politics, the rest is just astrology

Not fit for purpose!

Feb 25, 2015 at 1:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterCharmingQuark

It is lost. They have won.
With all of the malfeasance, number altering, lies, fudging, slander, criminality... they control the media.
Which means they control minds and governments.

Feb 25, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterLemon

"Let’s see – widely published, engaged with Congress, policy impact — these are supposed to be virtues of the modern academic researcher, right? (Here in PDF is my view on the importance of testifying before Congress when asked. I still think it is important.)"

Bugger me but you can't get any more inside the inside than where Pielke already is!

As others have said they seem to be going after the wrong guy.

Then again this should serve as a very clear message to anyone in the Mann Made Global Warming (tm) are never safe from a good old fisking EVEN if you agree pretty much with the idea of Mann Made Global Warming (tm) and have published books and papers saying as much.

Perhaps though there is an upside to this...some who are lurking in the background might be so outraged by this as to completely switch camps from true believers to the skeptics side!


Feb 25, 2015 at 1:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

So warmists, no longer controlling the Senate with votes, now are intimidating potential witnesses from stating facts contrary to Global Warming Alarm. That would be witness tampering in a criminal proceeding, but apparently fair game in politics. We can only hope that the other side is as diligent in discovering the extent of environmental activist money funding alarmist proponents.

Still, anyone deciding to testify in the upcoming Senate hearing better be ready for the hard questions (echoes of the past):

“Are you confused between weather and climate change?”

“Do you accept the writings of the UN IPCC as the scientific truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth?”

“Are you now, or have you ever been a member of any organization that believes CO2 is only a harmless trace gas and is essential to plant life?”

“Why is your carbon footprint so large?”

How long have you been taking money from fossil fuel companies?

“Do you advocate the overthrow of the United States Climate by force or violence?”

Feb 25, 2015 at 2:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

He who sups with the devil should use a long spoon.

These academics who are cozy with the state think the machine won't chew THEM up...

...until it does.


Feb 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterBad Andrew

I suppose it would be a dumb question to ask about the donors who enabled these politicians to attain such high office, with such a limited understanding.

Feb 25, 2015 at 3:02 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Golf Charlie,

It's been suggested that Senators should wear uniforms like NASCAR drivers, so that we would know their corporate sponsors.

Feb 25, 2015 at 5:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon C.

I know everyone is seeing this as a huge insult/offense to these scientists, but I am not so sure. Think of the following points:
- if they don't find what they are simply assuming must be there, it will put those names in a list of academics that can no longer be kneejerk dismissed with the typical oil slur.
- These will set a precedence for what is OK for a gov committee to ask for of any researchers, no reason not to follow up with your own list since you no longer need anything solid to launch an investigation. And you simply get to point to this example of why it's ok to finally force Mann to give up his emails they have spent millions trying to avoid releasing. That is why some of the non-sceptical community are coming out against this, they see their own work could be next in the crosshairs since they no longer control the government on many levels.
- The more times they swing and miss on things they have being saying endlessly as given fact, the less credibility they will have in the whole arena.
- this is a counter offensive to the investigation of climate data adjustments, a hope that the "skeptical" side will panic and try to strike a deal to kill off the one investigation to hopefully protect their big oil money from being exposed. However this again relies on the unshakable belief that there is big money telling sceptics what to say......also again explains why some CAGW people are not in favour of this. A talking point that is unproven, but widely believed, is way better than a disproved talking point. It is way to useful to have "funded by big oil" as a counter attack to the likes of respected sceptics. How will you counter these scientists without that talking point?
- these 7 have been picked because their work is the hardest to counter, probably can be taken as an endorsement of the quality of their research and methods. So fish for anything to discredit them, anything will do.

My thoughts. But could just be an idiot who believed all of the over the top tweets from the NGO's and uber-alarmists.

Feb 25, 2015 at 6:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterBrandon C

The question we should be asking is just who bought this congressman and just what have they to hide. When we know the answer to that everything will become very clear.

Someone in the green blob is afraid that something will out that will do the cause great harm. By starting this 'investigation' they hope to make that something take a back seat and so reduce the damage to the cause.

Feb 25, 2015 at 7:05 PM | Unregistered Commenterivan

US Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) is an avid communist.

Feb 25, 2015 at 10:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

The institutions involved should keep in mind that if they roll over for this request then they are opening themselves up for unlimited demands for every issue to be subject to the same standards. Even ignoring any embarassing links to both oil and renewables companies they could be tied up with hours and hours of paper work. It wouldn't be restricted to climate either. Republican senators might be composing letters right now.

It's also a warning to any scientist who's work might be considered luke warm. If their results aren't alarmist enough, they might be next. Imagine how any and all funding might be used in evidence against them.

At the moment there is a strong any fossil fuel lobby and green income is considered whiter than white. But are those institutions sure that the green money will remain untainted (or even reliable)? If in a decade or so, if it turns out that renewables are useless or that AGW was overblown then I'm not sure that people won't have some difficult questions to answer about their work if it was used to promote green tech.

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

should read 'anti fossil fuel lobby'

Feb 25, 2015 at 11:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

While I am sure Pielke Jr. is a very nice man, we see that he is a typical leftard who is NOT willing to fight the Jack Booted Thugs. We have known this is far more than just a fight over the Facts and Theories for at least 10 years. Now that the Fascists are showing their hand we see who is not willing to risk their careers to fight them. I think we will find few will show better than PJr. unless they really are against the takeover.

Yeah, there will be few to speak out as the Nazis take away the Jews.

Feb 26, 2015 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterKuhnKat

This comes on heels of a smear campaign on A coincidence, or a coordination?

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterCurious George

Grijalva is in the House of Representatives, i.e., he is a Congressman, not a Senator (as noted in the post, but the difference may not be clear to those outside of the US). In the US, a single member of either the Senate or the House has no real power over people, not directly, at least. Senators generally have a bit more power than Congressmen, but again, not directly over any people. Given that this nitwit is a Democrat, he is doubly screwed since the Republicans took the House and the Senate; they get to pick the leaders of every committee (from their own ranks).

This is nothing but harassment that cannot go anywhere except home to the nitwit's voters for their approval that he's "doing something about it."


Feb 26, 2015 at 2:40 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Argh, he is a representative, not a Senator, I should have said.


Feb 26, 2015 at 4:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark T

Feb 26, 2015 at 1:55 AM | Curious George

This comes on heels of a smear campaign on A coincidence, or a coordination?

I think that given the incredible "coincidence" of the instantaneous attack articles in the major Left news organisations in the USA and on, that this is a well co-ordinated final onslaught against the skeptic movement prior to the Paris convention.

Feb 26, 2015 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterStreetcred

Dusk is falling quickly.

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterhunter

I don't see this as a big deal - I agree with Brandon C on this point largely. Climate change activists are not going to get anything much out of this. That said, the thing that's worked for the US climate contingent the most has been 'Ah, he tricked people' style fake shock-and-outrage against Frank Luntz, the tobacco companies, and the oil companies.

Plus, I don't see this as anything personal against Pielke Jr. As streetcred notes, this is part of Obama abministration's push for Paris - they'll try anything. Almost everything has been tried, and nothing really works.

Third, I don't know why Pielke Jr should not be singled out or treated differently - speaking purely logically. To begin with, he has not been singled out, he is with Curry. Then, he makes arguments indistinguishable from those by sceptics. If sceptics deserve a certain type of treatment, so does he. Pielke Jr breaks out into a allergic reaction every time he's compared to sceptics:

The condemnation of your 538 piece quickly spiraled into ugly personal broadsides painting you (incorrectly) as a climate skeptic. This happened in various high profile venues, such as Slate. How did you feel when this happened?

RPJR: If you are engaged in public debates on issues that people care passionately about, then you will be called names and worse. ...

But he doesn't want any of the treatment that goes with the territory, doesn't want to be called a 'sceptic', doesn't want his career and research path affected? How does that work?

If you don't want people to be vilified for their ideas and treated like dirt, the rule applies to everybody.

Feb 26, 2015 at 10:47 AM | Registered Commentershub

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