The University of Colorado’s Board of Regents affirmed Thursday its support for an academic targeted and browbeaten by a left-wing environmental group angry about articles he wrote about climate change.
The board overwhelmingly passed a resolution stating that “faculty and students must have complete freedom to study, to learn, to do research and to communicate the results of these pursuits to others.” The resolution addressed comments made by the editor-in-chief of ThinkProgress against Dr. Roger Pielke Jr., a professor at the university.
Judd Legum, the head of the left-wing blogsite, said Oct. 28 there was no secret campaign to target and destroy the career of Pielke.
Legum’s environmental website, ClimateProgress, took issue with pollster Nate Silver’s 538 website hiring Pielke to write about global warming issues. The academic challenged in one article a Democratic talking point that global warming was making extreme weather more severe.
ClimateProgress immediately embarked on a crusade to discredit him, the emails indicate, “[p]rior to Pielke writing anything” for 538 — based solely on the fact they didn’t like his research on extreme weather.
Republican Regent John Carson, who co-wrote the resolution, told reporters the campaign to take out Pielke was out-of-bounds and beyond the pale.
“I want to go on record making clear that I don’t think this type of conduct is appropriate and we’re going to defend our faculty and we’re going to go on record, when we find out about these types of things, opposing it,” Carson said.
Legum’s website put out two articles attacking Pielke the same day the Colorado academic published a post on Silver’s website titled “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” Pielke’s post argued that extreme weather creates more destruction today than in year’s past because there’s more wealth to destroy on U.S. shores.
The memo comes from a trove of hacked emails from Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman John Podesta’s Gmail account.
“Pielke basically has made a career of ‘accepting’ climate change but disputing that we can really do anything about it or that it has much of an impact,” Legum wrote in a July 2014 email to hedge fund billionaire Tom Steyer thanking him for his “support.”
ThinkProgress is part of the Center for American Progress Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the liberal think tank Center for American Progress (CAP), which was founded by Podesta in 2003. Steyer served on CAP’s board alongside Podesta for several years.
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