[Ed. – These journalism start-ups are really going off the reservation. Bonus quote from Mr. Hockey Stick himself, Michael Mann!]
Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site FiveThirtyEight launched on Monday, with a controversial figure covering science issues. Silver has brought on Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, as a contributing writer – a political scientist who comes with a long history of data distortion and confrontations with climate scientists.
“Given Nate’s professed obsession with rigorous statistical analysis, it is rather disappointing to see him hire for his new venture an individual who has displayed a pattern of sloppiness when it comes to the analysis of climate data,” said top climate scientist Michael Mann via email. Pointing to a chapter in Silver’s recent book that addresses climate change (for which Mann was interviewed) he adds, “Sadly, this isn’t the first time Nate has been led astray when it comes to dealing with the science of climate change.”
Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists.
Most recently, Pielke tangled with Obama science advisor and former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, John Holdren, over the relationship between the severity of California’s epic drought and climate change. In February, Pielke slammed Holdren for offering a scientifically-grounded explanation of how climate change is worsening western drought. As Joe Romm observed, “Holdren’s views are right in the mainstream of climatologists’ view of drought. I can think of no climate scientists who share Pielke’s startling assessment of Holdren’s views as ‘zombie science.’”
Holdren responded to the jabs with an unprecedented six-page response debunking Pielke’s muddling statements and detailing how climate change is in fact exacerbating drought in the west. “Dr. Pielke’s statements about global drought trends, while irrelevant to my comments about drought in California and the Colorado River Basin, are seriously misleading,” Holdren wrote.
The takedown from Holdren is far from the first time Pielke’s confusionist views on climate science have been debunked by actual climate scientists.