Roger Pielke, Jr. is not a skeptic of human-induced global warming, as we all know. Pielke Jr. is being investigated, however, for the “crime” of presenting data that disagree with alarmists who make bogus claims about weather and weather-related losses.
See Roger’s post I am under “Investigation”, in which he discusses the investigation by US Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ), the ranking member of the House of Representatives Committee on Environment and Natural Resources. Pielke, Jr.’s “crime”:
Prof. Roger Pielke, Jr., at CU’s Center for Science and Technology Policy Research has testified numerous times before the U.S. Congress on climate change and its economic impacts. His 2013 Senate testimony featured the claim, often repeated, that it is “incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases.”
Roger notes in his post:
The letter goes on to note that John Holdren, President Obama’s science advisor, “has highlighted what he believes were serious misstatements by Prof. Pielke.” (For background on this see here and here.) My 2013 testimony to the Senate is here and House is here in pdf (Q&A following hearing here and here). The testimony was the basis for my recent book on Disasters & Climate Change.
Remarkably, Pielke, Jr.’s 2013 Senate testimony (here) is basically a data presentation which shows:
- Globally, weather-related losses have not increased since 1990 as a proportion of GDP (they have actually decreased by about 25%).
- Insured catastrophe losses have not increased as a proportion of GDP since 1960.
- Hurricanes have not increased in the US in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since at least 1900.
- There are no significant trends (up or down) in global tropical cyclone landfalls since 1970 (when data allows for a comprehensive perspective), or in the overall number of tropical cyclones.
- Floods have not increased in the US in frequency or intensity since at least 1950.
- Flood losses as a percentage of US GDP have dropped by about 75% since 1940.
- Tornadoes have not increased in frequency, intensity or normalized damage since 1950, and there is some evidence to suggest that they have actually declined.
- Drought has “for the most part, become shorter, less frequent, and cover a smaller portion of the U. S. over the last century.”
Again, Roger presented graphs of data that support his statements.
Yet, somehow, presenting data that contradict alarmist hype is worthy of an investigation by an elected US representative—an investigation that has so far been a waste of Roger’s time, the time of the President of the University of Colorado Boulder, and, of course, the time of US Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ).
Roger notes how this has also impacted his research and may impact others:
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. I am a full professor with tenure, so no one need worry about me — I’ll be just fine as there are plenty of interesting, research-able policy issues to occupy my time. But I can’t imagine the message being sent to younger scientists. Actually, I can: “when people are producing work in line with the scientific consensus there’s no reason to go on a witch hunt.”
As Andrew Montford notes in his post Why you can’t trust climatology at BishopHill:
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.