Nate Silver, the former New York Times statistician who launched his new website FiveThirtyEight on Monday, is under fire from the left after hiring climate policy researcher Roger Pielke Jr. — who believes in global warming but has mocked Obama’s climate czar for exaggerating its impact.
A liberal darling since he predicted Obama’s reelection in 2012, Silver’s new data-centered website was widely anticipated by many on the left. But that excitement soured after left-wing environmentalists discovered Silver hired Pielke to cover science issues for FiveThirtyEight.
ThinkProgress writes that Pielke has “a long history of data distortion and confrontations with climate scientists,” a researcher who “routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change.”
Salon characterized Pielke as “an inept, and potentially biased, handler of climate data,” adding that his brand of analysis is “one thing we definitely don’t need any more of.”
And climate scientist Michael Mann — a frequent contributor to left-wing media outlets — called Pielke’s first piece on FiveThirtyEight “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.”
Pielke is not a denier of man-made global warming. “Humans influence the climate today and will into the future, mainly through the emission of carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels,” he wrote earlier this month in The New Republic. “This influence poses unknown, but potentially large and irreversible risks in the future.” He also advocates for increased industrial regulations and a carbon tax.
So what is the environmental studies professors’ crime? Apparently he isn’t terrified enough of climate change’s catastrophic consequences — arguing that droughts, tornadoes and other extreme weather events do not have a proven link to global warming, and that those who attempt to say otherwise are “exaggerating the state of scientific understandings.”
That includes the Obama administration’s science czar John Holdren, who routinely propagates the theory that the drought in the western United States is a symptom of climate change. Pielke mocked Holdren in February after the White House adviser called the relationship “one of the better understood dimensions . . . between global climate change and extreme weather.”
“The zombies will always be with us,” Pielke tweeted in response. “But it is brazen for zombie science to show up in the White House!”
Holdren took it personally, penning an unprecedented six page response rebutting Pielke’s claims. And the White House’s media surrogates took Pielke to task, calling him as a “climate confusionist” and Holdren’s rejoinder “devastating” to Pielke’s argument.
The uproar follows last week’s attack on Vox, Ezra Klein’s newest media venture, after he dared to hire a reporter who challenges left-wing orthodoxy on homosexuality — despite the fact that writer Brandon Ambrosino is himself gay.
Now that the climate analyst has a broader platform from which to question Holdren and other climate “zombies,” expect more left-wing vitriol directed at Pielke, Silver and FiveThirtyEight.
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