In all honesty I respect the move to shore up Roger Pielke’s first meaningful post with an independent review. I think that Silver is again trying to answer the least important question.
Roger is not a climate “skeptic” or “denier.” He has written at FiveThirtyEight — and he has testified before Congress — that he believes in the thesis of anthropogenic global warming (AGW), that he considers it a serious problem, and that he thinks society should make efforts to mitigate it.
I have committed the same sin of labeling Pielke as simply a ‘denier’, but to be honest I think that describes his niche not very well. Pielke is not a partisan grunt like Glenn Beck or Marc Thiessen. Pielke dovetails with the outright denial community only in that they serve the same purpose. People like Christopher Monckton and the Heartland Institute throw poo and make sure to take the other side of every point no matter how minor. Pielke works more like David Brooks, a guy who keeps some credibility by never quite attacking science head on. Instead he picks away at subsidiary points such as the likelihood of serious harm, which obviously has a bearing on whether we should do anything. When it comes to any possible policy initiative, well gosh darn it, Roger Pielke and friends such as the Center for Science and Policy Outcomes (look it up) always come out against. You might think people who think climate is a problem would propose an alternative. You know, Newt Gingrich had no love for the individual mandate but it muddied the water enough to keep Clintoncare at bay. Yet somehow even that never happens.
You could argue that the Pielke gambit gives up rhetorical ground in the debate that industry folks would rather not cede, but Exxon has people for that. Whether he does it for business or pleasure Roger Pielke Jr. spreads the word against climate progress in places where Christopher Monckton can’t go.