[Ed. – How long can Silver and his FiveThirtyEight start-up hold out against the left’s dog whistle? Meanwhile, the moral of this story: never get into an email exchange with Michael “Hide the Decline” Mann, Mr. Hockey Stick and inveterate plaintiff.]
NEW YORK — Two prominent climate scientists say Roger Pielke Jr., a controversial writer at Nate Silver’s FiveThirtyEight site, sent emails threatening possible legal action in response to their criticism of his findings for the data-driven news site.
Pielke says it’s “ridiculous” to characterize the emails as threats against Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, and Dr. Kevin Trenberth, a distinguished senior climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. FiveThirtyEight, however, apologized to both men.
“Roger is a freelance contributor and his private communications do not represent FiveThirtyEight,” Silver said in a statement to HuffPost. “We had candid conversations with Michael Mann and Kevin Trenberth. We made clear that Roger’s conversations with them did not reflect FiveThirtyEight’s editorial values.”
Revelations of the private correspondence are particularly poorly timed for FiveThirtyEight, which has been dogged online throughout most of its 11-day existence by the climate change dispute. The controversy was given increased exposure Thursday night on “The Daily Show.”
It began with Pielke’s March 19 article, “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” Pielke’s claim that the cost from natural disasters has risen because of increased wealth, and not because climate change is making weather events more extreme, was quickly challenged by several scientists and experts, including Professor John P. Abraham on The Huffington Post. …
On March 19, Mann and Trenberth challenged Pielke’s claims in interviews with ThinkProgress.
Mann told ThinkProgress that Pielke’s article was “deeply misleading, confirming some of my worst fears that Nate Silver’s new venture may become yet another outlet for misinformation when it comes to the issue of human-caused climate change.” …
Mann declined to make Pielke’s email public, but told HuffPost that he viewed it as a “thinly veiled” threat of legal action.
Trenberth said Pielke contacted him and his bosses following the ThinkProgress report. …
Trenberth said he considered Pielke’s email “a threat to me.”
“He was very accusatory and threatened me if I did not respond,” Trenberth told HuffPost.
Trenberth forwarded the text of the email to HuffPost. Pielke wrote that Trenberth had “made some pretty coarse and perhaps even libelous comments” in the ThinkProgress article. Pielke requested that Trenberth correct his public claims and noted that “an apology would be nice also.”
“Once again, I am formally asking you for a public correction and apology,” Pielke wrote to Trenberth and his bosses. “If that is not forthcoming I will be pursuing this further. More generally, in the future how about we agree to disagree over scientific topics like gentlemen?”
When asked about the claims that he sent threatening emails, Pielke told HuffPost: “In a nutshell this is ridiculous.” [Ed. – No s- — er, kidding.]