Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Little Liver Treats - Ryan Cooper Planks Roger Pielke Jr.


For those bunnies out there busy earning a carrot or two, perhaps it comes as a bit of a surprise that Nate Silver of 538 fame has launched his ship on the INTERSEAS to earn his way in the world.  Reviews are in, from Paul Krugman, Tyler Cowan and a bunch of others.  Let us say that the consensus (Eli knows, that is a dirty word) is that there is no way but up.

One of the tells that Silver was going for the FreakoBaysean crowd was his hiring of Roger Pielke Jr. to write on climate and soccer or whatever.  This has not gone unnoticed, with many commenting on it, none better than Ryan Cooper at the Week

For those who don't know, Pielke is a highly skilled and intelligent policy professor, ostensibly committed to climate action, who spends the vast bulk of his time criticizing the climate movement and allied scientists. They're wrong about drought. They're wrong about extreme weather. They're wrong about economic growth. Etc.

He does accept the reality of climate change, and keeps his criticism just inside the boundaries of accepted science (e.g., with strategic footnotes). So when he gets an irritated response from, say, President Obama's science adviser John Holdren, who accused him of selective quotation and obfuscation, Pielke can twist the criticism around and write a stern, head-shaking article about how those derned Greens are just getting way over their skis on The Science. This is the Breakthrough Institute program for hippie-punching your way to fame and fortune, and its success on the career track is almost as striking as its wretched failure as a political tactic to actually achieve anything on climate change.

That kind of squid-ink careerist nonsense is what led Foreign Policy to put Pielke on its list of climate skeptics. It's what led the late, famed climatologist Stephen Schneider to dismiss him as a "self-aggrandizer who sets up straw men, knocks them down, and takes credit for being the honest broker to explain the mess." Pretty much.

In any case, this isn't about Pielke, who like the rest of the Breakthrough Boys isn't worth worrying about very much.
Thank you Ryan.  Liver treats at Eli's place.

8 comments:

Pinotgraves said...

I am not surprised at Silver's embrace of Pielke, Jr. In his 2013 book "The Signal and the Noise", Silver pretty well mangled the climate change chapter, in spite of a lengthy discussion with Mike Mann--whose work he proceeds to dismiss. Maybe Nate is suffering from the Physicist Syndrome; since he is very smart, he must be the smartest guy in the room on any topic he turns his mind to address.

Albatross said...

Not looking good for Silver or Jnr:

http://thingsbreak.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/nate-silver-falls-off/

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/19/3416369/538-climate-article/

http://mediamatters.org/blog/2014/03/18/this-new-media-trend-will-leave-you-optimistic/198513

http://thinkprogress.org/climate/2014/03/19/3415984/nate-silver-science-writer-ignores-data/

Foxes are circling the hedgehogs.

Silver made some mistakes and very poor choices for authors (especially science authors). It is not too late for him to make things right though and the sooner the better for the sake of his reputation and survival of 538.

EliRabett said...

The key to this one is how much Jnr is getting paid, and from what Eli has heard about his reaction it is likely not to be zero.

coby said...

All we need now is for Nate to say to himself that because the left is now complaining as much as the right was, he must have found the creamy soft truthy center.

Hank Roberts said...

Remember the way the world works.

When the Big Boys decide to change policy direction, the New Leader will be one of them changing his tune. Control is not ceded to the people who were pointing out the problem.

E.g. Hubert Humphrey, longtime fan of the Vietnam war, who became the media leader of the official antiwar movement when that became the new policy.

You wouldn't see someone who was an early and vocal critic, like MLK, take a leadership role when the Big Boys decided to publicly admit what they'd known all along.

You won't see a climate scientist put up on the figurehead point when policy catches up with the science.

No, they'll want someone like, oh, Pielke Jr.

Albatross said...

This is odd, I thought Stoat was more informed and more impartial than this, because he has followed Roger all the way down the rabbit hole.

Stoat has fallen for Rogers bait and switch, his straw man argument, and Roger misrepresenting his own work. Having to misrepresent his own work is a sure sign of desperation on Roger's part, and ironic given his howls of feigned indignation when he claims that climate scientists overstate their findings.

Please keep your eyes on the ball fellas. From start to finish, Roger's claims re costs are designed to confuse and muddy the waters.

EliRabett said...

The Weasel has a libertoonian bent.

willard said...

It's Dr. Weasel, I presume.

Good article, that one, referred by Cooper:

http://archive.pressthink.org/2010/06/14/ideology_press.html

I like Cooper's style.