Breakthrough Institute’s Pielke in a Pickle

Roger Pielke is in a pickle. He recently got hired as a blogger on FiveThirtyEight, Nate Silver’s new data driven news website.  And he immediately got FiveThirtyEight a lot of heat.  Will they even let him blog again?

Roger Pielke Jr. is a Senior Fellow at Breakthrough Insitute and seemingly their lead climate science ‘expert’. Breakthrough is a nest of public relations professionals advocating contrarian and misguided solutions to the climate crisis like more nuclear power and fracking, while attacking renewable energy and energy efficiency. Breakthrough have made their name over the past few years trashing the environmental movement and prevailing climate policy efforts, while making polluting and dangerous industries smile.


Pielke is a novel species of climate ‘denier’. He doesn’t deny the crisis outright, he attacks the science consensus sideways with gotcha analysis that is often just wrong.  Having his math corrected and his statistical prowess diminished has only seemed to inspire Pielke onward.  Pielke is given a megaphone every few days by Andy Revkin, former journalist, now multimedia gadfly at the New York Times DotEarth website.

The latest Pielke fiasco even made it to the Daily Show where Nate Silver of informed the audience that they had received a statistically large negative response to Pielke’s inaugural article on Silver’s blog.  Pielke’s first FiveThirtyEight article discounted the connection between climate change and extreme weather by saying that the increased cost of weather disasters was more the result of more wealthy people living in harms way.

Breakthrough Institute staff are now on a massive damage control push to defend their Senior Fellow on the comment stream on FiveThirtyEight. Not being scientists is hard.  Pretending to know science is dangerous.

Climate Investigations Center, as a research resource, thought we would post a few of the best background and links in this passion play.  We will continue to update this research roundup.

Posted by Kert Davies