Roger Pielke Jr. Profile picture
undisciplined professor in Colorado — science, policy, politics, sports — @EScAPE_Covid19 — Newsletter:
rmack2x Profile picture A Strange loop Profile picture Daryl Adair Profile picture Starte Firer 🙂 I DO NOT CONSENT Profile picture loki maelorin 🏳️‍⚧️🏳️‍🌈 (they) Profile picture 31 added to My Authors
2 Dec
Absolutely amazing & somewhat sad

Observations of hurricane activity apparently don't show the right trends
So this new paper re-invents history by using modeled historical hurricane activity to find the right trends

Predictably, gross misinformation follows
This is where we are at in hurricane research?😐
And the MIT press release fails to accurately reflect the paper
Read 5 tweets
2 Dec
During the pandemic (in 2020) in most places around the world expressed public trust in science increased dramatically from 2018 (but not Central Asia/Russia and Sub-Saharan Africa), both in general & within regions

via @wellcometrust Global Monitor:…
Reported trust in science increased the most among those who expressed having the least scientific knowledge
In general WHO is trusted much more than national governments, with a few notable exceptions
Read 4 tweets
16 Nov
Today IOC released a new Framework on Fairness, Inclusion & Non-discrimination on the basis of gender identity & sex variations…

This offers a sharp rebuke to World Athletics "Semenya Rule" barring certain women from competition without medicating Image
The IOC prioritizes the prevention of harm

The World Medical Association @medwma opposes the World Athletics "Semenya Rule" because of its harm to athletes

No more need be said on this topic Image
IOC comes out against sex testing of athletes - Good

Yet the WADA Anti-Doping Code was recently modified in light of the "Semenya Rule" to allow drug tests to be used for gender verification

This is wrong Image
Read 11 tweets
16 Nov
Early look at long term CONUS hurricane landfall & normalized damage trends through 2021 based on peer-reviewed research & official data

1⃣Overall landfalling CONUS hurricanes
Updated from @philklotzbach et al 2018… Image
2⃣Overall landfalling major CONUS hurricanes
Updated from @philklotzbach et al 2018… Image
3⃣Normalized CONUS damages to 2021$ values
Updated from @JessicaWeinkle et al 2018… Image
Read 7 tweets
15 Nov
Climate cost-benefit analyses are going to look very different when the question is not from below: “what bad things happens when we exceed 1.5C?” But instead, from above: “what benefits will we see if we return to 1.5C?”
What happens if the world warms another 0.4C (from 1.1C today to 1.5C within a decade or so) and the world looks a lot like it does today?

Future temperature targets offer the political asset of uncertain impacts

Once those targets are exceeded that uncertainty goes away

The 1970s global average surface temperatures were about 1C less than today … no one I am aware of is making the case that the climate of the 1970s is one we should try to return to (for obvious reasons, 1970s were a decade of many global extremes)
Read 11 tweets
13 Nov

A new independent validation of our normalization methods & result

Alstadt, B., Hanson, A., & Nijhuis, A. (2022). Developing a Global Method for Normalizing Economic Loss from Natural Disasters. Natural Hazards Review, 23(1), 04021059.… Image
A "normalized" record of disaster losses asks what damage would occur if past extreme events occurred with today's societal conditions

Over many decades, climate changes and varies, of course
But society also changes on that timescale as well

So normalization is needed
Alstadt et al 2022 (AHN22) seek to "to develop a global approach to normalize past exposure to current levels using the value of capital stock" rather than GDP

We agree 100%
Where available we have always used capital stock in our normalization studies (eg hurricanes, tornadoes)
Read 10 tweets
6 Nov
Let me explain how the Paris Agreement is a spectacular success & how it’s critics misunderstand its role in climate policy

The news from Glasgow could hardly be better . . .…
The idea that any domestics policies are made at COPs is wrong
Domestic policies are made in legislatures, parliaments & power centers of sovereign nations

Paris corrected Kyoto’s flaw in this regard

Paris allows a public statement of pledges & reporting on progress
Many seem to believe that leaders of sovereign states can make policy, pledges or promises at COPs

They can’t

Don’t ask them to
Read 10 tweets
4 Nov
🧵 on latest @gcarbonproject
an absolutely essential resource (props all involved)

Some massive news in here . . .

See thread below from @Peters_Glen for more & links
The biggest news in the Global Carbon Budget 2021 is a very large downward revision in CO2 emissions from land use

The downward revision is about the same size as the total emissions of CO2 from fossil fuels from the EU17 or India

Of course caveats about uncertainties . . .
Compared to when I went to sleep last night, our perception of the magnitude of the net-zero challenge just improved (it is stull huge, but less huger than we thought)

This is absolutely great news
Read 7 tweets
28 Oct
I'm lecturing in class today on this brilliant paper by Mike Hulme

"Climate reductionism is the means by which the knowledge claims of the climate modelers are transferred, by proximity as it were, to the putative knowledge claims of the social, economic, and political analysts"
Hulme observes, correctly, that climate reductionism can be found in the scenarios of the IPCC which fix society and vary climate ... this is common in the climate impacts literature (eg, when adaptation is ignored)
We see climate reductionism in the IPCC15 report where societal impacts of 1.5C are compared to 2C (as reported yesterday by NYT below)

Little known is that almost all of these differences in impacts occur under scenarios that ignore human adaptation ... as if
Read 4 tweets
27 Oct
According to NYT in <6 years the world has cut its projected 2100 emissions by as much as 75% (current policies) or even 85% (pledged policies)!

How is this not one of the greatest policy success stories ever?…
Even in 2014 we knew that RCP8.5 was wrong…
The NYT claims that for climate policy targets, "the goal posts have moved"

This is absolutely false

Article 2 of the Paris Agreement remains the same as approved in 2015

Some may believe that the policy goals should be changed, but they have not
Read 5 tweets
25 Oct
The publication today of the 2021 FCCC NDCs reinforces the utter implausibility of CMIP/IPCC baseline scenarios (7.0, 8.5)…

It also should mark the last time anyone cites Schwalm et al 2020 to defend RCP8.5/SSP5-8.5 as BAU (or even as plausible) Image
Absolutely huge news

UN FCCC expectations for 2030 GHG emissions
2016 INDCs = 62.0 Gt CO2-eq
2021 NDCs = 51.5 Gt CO2-eq

Net-zero is a massive challenge, of course, but compared to 5 years ago the world is now in a much better position that was expected… Image
I'm gonna say it
We've been telling you this for a while now… Image
Read 7 tweets
24 Oct
Another systemic misuse of the RCP scenarios involves using RCP8.5 as a reference scenario and the others as mitigation scenarios in impacts, economic or policy studies

RCP creators warned against doing this when RCPs were created

But it is found everywhere, including IPCC
Scenario experts foresaw that this type of misuse was getting baked into the RCP methodology, drawing 4 scenarios from different models and renaming them as if they were comparable (when they weren’t)
The desire for RCP pathways of radiative forcing overrode considerations of the proper use of scenarios for impacts, economics, policy research

The perceived needs of climate modeling were explicitly expressed as the priority

As documented here:…
Read 7 tweets
23 Oct
Why are climate scientists so mad at me?
Here's one answer
For almost 30 yrs I've been writing abt the conflicts between (a) the special interests of the climate science community and (b) the broader social responsibilities of this community

Pretty normal STS fare ... read on
My 1994 PhD dissertation was an evaluation of the then newly-created US Global Change Research Program…

I argued that the USGCRP would do a lot of good science but have limited policy relevance (a conclusion later reached by a @theNASEM study)
I was a post-doc at NCAR when this paper came out
It resulted in a furor
NSF funded NCAR & the program officer who oversaw NSF funding was central to creation of USGCRP

My job was threatened
A huge debate ensued
UCAR leaders pushed back on the pressure
I kept my job
A preview...
Read 16 tweets
22 Oct
Scenario misuse in climate science is far deeper and nuanced than semantics of reference scenarios (as some would have us believe)

They are also very pedestrian mistakes, common to efforts to use scenario methods in research

Not surprising or unique to climate, but significant
The petulance, name-calling and invented quotes we saw earlier today suggests that our first recommendation won't be easily taken😉

Easier to attack messengers than hear their messages

We all all suffer the consequences when science gets off track and some try to keep it there
The responses I've had today the this discussion have me optimistic that the powerful few gatekeepers in the climate space of 2009 are not so powerful in 2021

The teeth gnashing & name calling remains the same, but most now see it for what it is, and that's good news
Read 5 tweets
22 Oct
For anyone thinking the RCP8.5 debate is over, think again - climate community standing behind it

Chief US gov't climate scientist NASA's Gavin Schimdt calls our critique of RCP8.5 "absurd"

And president of the National Academy of Sciences calls RCP8.5 as BAU "100% accurate"
I respond to their defense of RCP8.5 in this thread:

Schmidt's refusal to acknowledge the incredible work @jritch and focus on me suggests that this is once again more of a personal issue he has with me than anything else

That would explain why his letter pretty much agrees with & acknowledges our claims while posturing otherwise
Read 4 tweets
22 Oct
@ISSUESinST several climate scientists & Marcia McNutt (@theNASEM pres) respond to @jritch & my recent article on misuse of climate scenarios, offering a unified defense of RCP8.5

I encourage you to read their responses in full:…

My comments follow...
Chris Field & Marcia McNutt offer three points

First they defend RCP8.5 as "business as usual" stating that characterization "remains 100% accurate"

What to say? That's just wrong.
RCP8.5 depends on the building of >33,000 new coal plants by 2100, on top of current ~6,000
Second, they appear to contradict themselves by stating that RCP8.5 was in fact "until recently" properly viewed as a plausible or even likely future

Again, this is objectively false

The world has never been on track for ~40,000 coal plants by 2100
Read 12 tweets
20 Oct
With the IEA now projecting a near-term emissions trajectory <RCP4.5 I've been taking a peek at the gatekeeping on RCP8.5 debates over recent years

A rich vein to explore
Really remarkable public evidence of how scientific progress gets stunted by a few powerful people

Examples ImageImageImageImage
Despite @bradplumer recognizing implausibility of RCP8.5 in 2017 (props!) the NYT has apparently never written anything critical about the misuse of the scenario (my NYT search finds only 6 articles that explicitly mention RCP8.5 or "RCP 8.5")
With powerful figures Mann & Hayhoe (they weren't alone) warning critique of RCP8.5 is "denial," no wonder it has taken so long for researchers and journalists to deem its discussion to be legitimate

But now there can be no excuse

Amazing dynamics at play

A good paper here
Read 4 tweets
19 Oct
In my email today
Climate industrial complex

RCP8.5➡️peer reviewed research➡️aggressive media campaign➡️apocalypse coverage➡️fundraising

Non-profit Climate Central CEO made ~$325,000 in 2019 & 7 other employees bt $170k-$270k (IRS 990)

8 people's salaries are >30% of spending
How much should a non-profit CEO be paid?
For a non-profit of CC size (~$5m in expenses in 2019) $131k-178k


What's the difference between a for-profit climate analytics firm & a non-profit one, both living off of RCP8.5? 🤷‍♂️
I'm all for people making good money
Especially when they have paying clients for their services
But non-profit expectations are (and should be) different

Don't even get me started on sports organizations!
Read 5 tweets
15 Oct
Latest haul of RCP8.5 headlines
Catnip for the climate beat and utterly irresponsible Image
The same group did the same analysis with the same conclusions based on RCP8.5 in 2015

Rinse, repeat

The exploitation of shoddy, inattentive peer-review processes by climate advocacy groups is extremely well done

Props to their cleverness
But that really shouldn’t happen
Some text peer reviewers can use when reviewing RCP8.5 (& similar) studies:

“RCP8.5 may have appropriate uses as an extreme, exploratory, implausible scenario, but it is absolutely and undeniably inappropriate to use to generate plausible or likely projections of the future.”
Read 5 tweets
1 Oct
Reading IPCC AR6 today

Interesting: Emergence of climate response defined as a difference between RCP8.5 (7.0) and RCP2.6 (1.9)

Dramatically shortens emergence time scale

Taking RCP4.5 as BAU would instead mean effects of "strong mitigation" not detectable for many decades
The climate benefits of mitigation are largely detectable in the late 21st century
More IPCC on detection of effects of mitigation
Read 5 tweets
1 Oct
Trans athletes

The idea that single values must be chosen (eg, inclusion OR fairness, pick one!) is to fundamentally misunderstand how decisions are actually made⬇️

Sport balances all sorts of values in competition

Consider Rugby:
Safety vs contact
Rules seek to balance these
The new UK Sports Councils report is a nice ink blot for passionate advocates on the far sides of the debate (ie, the blanket exclusion vs blanket inclusion folks), but it mostly just restates where the issue is currently at…
Reports @seaningle
"The long-awaited report argues there is no magic solution which balances the inclusion of trans women in female sport while guaranteeing competitive fairness & safety"

Of course

There is no "magic solution" in Paralympic classification either, but we do it
Read 4 tweets