Roger Pielke Jr: When the debate gets over

Roger Pielke Jr: from the website of THE BEAST

Lot of people think the climate game is fun: caring for the planet, reading climate science papers, arguing about statistics, ‘sensitivitiy’, radiative physics and the like. Well, … let’s just leave that be for now. Behind the scenes, the climate game is played by ratfucking and retractions. People are not angling for ‘genuine debate’ or trying to ‘solve problems’, they are trying to shut the other guy down and have things their way.

In January last year (i.e., 2010), when the climate faithful were smarting from the twin hits of Climategate and Copenhagen, two people got together and wrote a humorous piece for the website Alternet. Now humour takes on many forms. The Alternet authors in their version of  leftie gallows humour  fancifully imagined letting Richard Lindzen roast in a sauna with a running automobile, leaving Steve McIntyre stranded on a Maldivian beach with cement shoes on, and letting Monckton’s castle be overrun by ‘climate refugees’. No doubt they were giving full expression to their frustration at not being allowed to rearrange the world’s economies in order to save it.

Interestingly enough policy scholar Roger Pielke Jr made the list of the ’15 most heinous climate villians’ (that was what the article was about), at position 14. Pretty soon though, Pielke Jr was taken off the list.  The only reason Alternet’s editors offered was that someone from an ‘affiliated organization’ had complained to them.

Fast-forward to May 2010. Author Ian Murphy after researching the Pielke Jr-described ‘post-normal science’ was literally overcome by pangs of conscience that Pielke Jr had walked free earlier and spilled the beans.  As he explains, it was Michael Shellenberger – boss at the Breakthrough Institute where Pielke Jr was fellow who got in touch by email with Alternet. Shellenberger explained how ‘Pielke had received death threats previously and Alternet shouldn’t encourage more of that’. In the original the heinous climate villian Pielke Jr was to be ‘ripped to shreds’ by invasive species hyenas as his comeuppance. This presumably in Shellenberger’s eyes counted as  ‘encouraging’ readers to literally making it happen. Pielke Jr took Murphy’s moral proclamations somewhat literally  – he called it: ‘A Call for violence against me‘.

Things become a bit simple from that point. One of the chief financial backers of Alternet, we learn , is the Nathan Cummings Foundation.  Shellenberger’s Breakthrough Institute is almost exclusively funded by the Nathan Cummings Foundation. “Virtually all of our funding comes from the Nathan Cummings Foundation, trustees of the dreaded Sara Lee pound cake fortune, and the Lotus Foundation, funded by members of the Pritzker family” , and not just some ‘dirty libertarian oil company’  as the Alternet article slanted it, boasted Ted Nordhaus Breakthrough Institute’s co-founder. One see in its full glory how the retraction game played out in January at the Breakthrough blog: as Eli Rabett informs Ted Nordhaus that he’d become Pielke Jr’s cats paws, Nordhaus informs him that Alternet had retracted the segment. Nordhaus of course forgot to mention at that point that the Nathan Cummings Foundation of the ‘dreaded Sara Lee pound cake fortune’ funded Alternet. Shellenberger forgot to mention that the Nathan Cummings Foundation and the Ford Foundation were clients of his private company American Environics.

Those who would wish to verify the facts about the Breakthrough Institute’s funding via Sourcewatch.org would come in for a jolt. The page is taken down as well, and there is a short message which reads: “This article is under review”. The omnipresent Anna Haynes had carried out the last rites edits. This is the same Haynes whose Sourcewatch article on Keith Kloor was taken down as well.

When Anthony Watts deleted my article on Roger Pielke Jr’s ‘The Climate Debate is Over’ at WUWT, he wrote:

 I have removed this guest post [by Shub Niggurath] because it has been brought to my attention that it is unfair and has caused inflamed reactions [especially in comments] that were unintended.

Sounds just like something that’s happened earlier before, doesn’t it?

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One comment

  1. Deadman

    I notice that Watts did not say he removed the post “because it is unfair” but “because it has been brought to [his] attention that it is unfair”. Brought to his attention, one may idly wonder, by whom?
    I also note that many posts at WUWT, including some of Watts’ own, have “caused inflamed reactions” in comments and (I expect) elsewhere without necessitating the deletion of those posts.