Roger Pielke Jr. Profile picture
a professor in Colorado — working 24/7 on evaluating science advice in a pandemic emergency @EScAPE_Covid19
rmack2x Profile picture Dead Agent Profile picture Daryl Adair Profile picture 🏳️‍⚧️ maelorin 🏳️‍🌈 Profile picture (((Charlie Martin))) Profile picture 24 added to My Authors
29 Nov
Thoughtful thread argument by @Scienceofsport (as usual) on gender categorization issues in sport

But for me, issues related to female athletes w/ unique biology have no place in debates over trans athletes Who change categories — this always needs to be stated up front
While acknowledging these are different issues, @Scienceofsport then lumps them right back together via a “premise or physiological principle”

I reject such a principle

Here’s another one: “anyone born female, raised female, in sport as a female is female”

No physiology needed Image
Appeals to physiology reflect an essentialist argument that sport categories exist to segregate men & women based on immutable biological realities

Such arguments fall apart quickly

Eg, Female DSD athletes w/ high T are “biological males” at 400m & “biological females” at 200m
Read 5 tweets
28 Nov
New paper on SSP/RCP scenarios by O'Neill et al

In this short 🧵 I'll focus on its interesting review of SSP literature 2014-2019…
O'Neill et al identify 715 papers 2014-2019 that used SSP scenarios (data =…)

Within these 715 papers are 3,347 applications of SSP-RCP combinations, as shown below

Shaded in grey are SSP-RCP combinations that are deemed "unlikely" by scenario creators
Within each SSP RCP8.5 is a favorite (surprise!) as we have documented in our more extensive literature review (…)

There is an incredible & troubling amount of study devoted to "unlikely" scenarios (SSPs 1-4 & RCP8.5)
Read 8 tweets
23 Nov
Covid testing prioritization as value metric

By this metric, who are the most valued people on my campus?

"Student-athletes are tested six days each week – all but their mandatory day off – and sometimes get tested twice in a day"…
College football is important in American culture & as a business

I used to think its contradictions could be reconciled with university missions

No longer

Football can associate w/ universities but should no longer pursue the fiction of being a part of the university mission
You know who got this right?
University of Chicago 1939…
Read 6 tweets
12 Nov
One problem in the communication of climate science is that "experts climate communicators" make quick judgments for reporters on deadline on papers they have not read & data they have not analyzed and then, when paper is shown to be fatally flawed, defend their original comments
Example: A scientist in this @capitalweather @washingtonpost article cites hurricanes Michael (2018) and Ike (2008) to emphasize the results of the paper & both of these storms decayed FASTER than the average rate reported in study

Bad science all around…
Difficult to believe, but in this brief quote ALL SEVEN empirical claims by this scientist are just false

Don't take it from me (or him) just check the data yourself

Hurricanes are climate catnip but that doesn't mean we should accept bad science
/[steps off soapbox] Image
Read 4 tweets
9 Nov
A design flaw is revealed here

The management structure of US Global Change Research Program has it overseen by a subcommittee of the White House NSTC

That means that its leadership is -- in effect -- politically appointed even if they are not technically political appointees
However it has come about that the leader of the next US national climate assessment will work from an agency as a career scientists (not politically appointed & not working from White House) is good news for the integrity of the NCA as an advisory mechanism
Climate science has been overseen from the White House since the 1980s & the US NCA since the 1990s

On that early history see:
Pielke Jr 2000. Policy history of the US global change research program: Part I. Administrative development. GEC 10:9-25.…
Read 8 tweets
30 Oct
A new RCP8.5 critique published today
Pedersen et al adds to @matthewgburgess et al & @hausfath @Peters_Glen
It is a valuable contribution to growing literature documenting why it's inappropriate to use RCP8.5 as a reference scenario in climate research…
There now appears to be a growing consensus that RCP8.5 (and by extension SSP3-7.0 and SSP5-8.5) are inappropriate when used as reference scenarios (for definition of what a "reference scenario" means see @jritch &I -->…)
There is a bit of unfortunate historical revisionism in the paper

Compare Pedersen et al (left) with the original description of RCP8.5 in Riahi et al 2011 (right)

The use of RCP8.5 as a reference scenario can be found in thousands and thousands of papers, with more added daily
Read 6 tweets
29 Oct
Initial reactions to Blake Leeper CAS ruling

Leeper lost his appeal to run in Olympics but World Athletics (IAAF) lost the case & will completely reshape possibilities for athletes with prosthetics to run in elite competition

First, this case hinges on rules, processes and science
On the latter it is remarkable to see IAAF demanding access to data, when they refused (to this day) to release data in their research re: Semanya
Similarly, I had a good chuckle seeing IAAF emphasize peer review (Semenya research wasn't) & the necessity of data release for CAS to do its job
In this case the data was shared by Leeper's team, in Semenya case IAAF never shared its data
Read 20 tweets
27 Oct
Solar power enjoys an incredibly strong a global public consensus
As do wind and hydro, 7 just below gas
Nuclear, oil, coal ... not so much
Via @pewglobal…
Ideological polarization on climate policy is a largely found in a few English-speaking countries (plus Sweden!)
Via @pewglobal
With a high % of authors of @IPCC_CH coming from ideologically polarized countries (US, UK, Australia) not surprising that those politics re-emerge within the assessment process

But ideological battles over climate are a non-issue for >95% of the world…
Read 5 tweets
20 Oct
I am really glad that @hausfath @Peters_Glen made the effort to write a letter to PNAS on the SGD20

But judging from the rejoinder to their letter, RCP8.5 will be with us for a while ...
I outlined the issues in a thread as well, which has details if you are interested, 100% consistent with @hausfath @Peters_Glen letter (which is behind a paywall)
The main issue is that the extreme scenarios favored in climate research (like RCP8.5, SSP5-8.5) are unambiguously flawed

SGD20 claim that these flaws are irrelevant because they are compensated by other flaws, just as big in the other direction (smdh, right?)
Read 11 tweets
19 Oct
This passage from excellent @washingtonpost reporting on the WH Coronavirus Task Force should cause us to ask some questions about Scott Atlas

Who is he & how is it that he can have any authority whatsoever to implement or block policy?

He is not elected or Senate confirmed
Atlas staff position in the White House carries the title "Special Advisor to the President"

Such positions date to Reorganization Act of 1939 which created the Executive Office of the President (aka The West Wing) giving the prez new powers to staff…
Such positions have been off-and-on called "czars" dating to the administration of FDR…
Read 10 tweets
19 Oct
This week the FDA vaccine advisory committee is meeting ... science advisory committees are usually pretty boring, not this time ...… via @BioPharmaDive
"On October 22 2020, the Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research’s (CBER), Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) will meet in open session, to discuss, in general, the development, authorization and/or licensure of vaccines to prevent COVID-19"
Read 5 tweets
16 Oct
I'm still amazed that we are using college football players as study subjects & (apparently) ignoring research ethics and corporate research protocols applied everywhere else on campus…
OK, I'll ask

What happens if we find out that the answer to the research question posed below is, no or not much?

Do we say, "well at least we got some games in, thanks for participating in our study"…
I get it that universities (and Athletic departments) don't like these sorts of questions

But it is obvious that Quidel views PAC-12 football as a clinical experiment to perfect tests in order to secure FDA approval of their proprietary technology…
Read 6 tweets
13 Oct
Really insightful new essay by Simon Robertson on issues raised by the IPCC dual roles in both assessing and producing climate research…
We also discuss this in depth (and also in the context of the IPCC IAMC) in this paper:…
These issues were highlighted by @Oliver_Geden in 2015…
Read 4 tweets
13 Oct
Today is Disaster Risk Reduction Day #DRRDay

There is good news to report on this front, but continued progress requires continued effort
Under indicators of the @UN Sustainable Development Goals the world is making progress with respect to disasters - but there is no guarantee that it will continue, sustained effort is needed…
Vulnerability has decreased globally:
"Results show a clear decreasing trend in both human & economic vulnerability, with global average mortality & economic loss rates that have dropped by 6.5 and nearly 5 times, respectively, from 1980–1989 to 2007–2016"…
Read 5 tweets
12 Oct
It will be interesting to watch the up-is-down reporting on the new UN report on disasters

The graph below is from data in the report (Figure 5, p. 10)

It shows that "climate-related" disasters have declined by ~15% over the past 20 years (2000-2019)
Back in 2007, in its annual report CRED/EM-DAT warned about using pre-2000 data to say anything about climate change, because of the massive increasing in reporting of disasters around the world.
Here is what CRED told the NYT in 2009:…
Read 5 tweets
10 Oct
There’s a lot of smart & nuanced discussion of the messiness of science in the real world in this essay by @mattwridley

But by the time he gets to the end, my views depart from his pretty severely ...… via @WSJ
Here is how @mattwridley concludes his essay

None of us are prepared to examine evidence ourselves & judge which experts are more reliable than others

Fortunately, there are formal & informal mechanisms which play this role

That’s the short cut
Such “short cuts” — which we can call science advisory mechanisms — generally (but importantly, not always) work well in contexts like climate & GMOs, but have for the most part failed miserably in the pandemic
Read 5 tweets
9 Oct

The reverberations of my 2014 column on disasters @FiveThirtyEight continue in 2020

Here Harvard's Dennis Thompson writes about it in Daedelus…

I appreciate Prof Thompson's interest in my work, but he gets some things badly wrong, some thoughts
Prof Thompson certainly isn't the 1st academic to write about a colleague w/o reading their work or asking their views, hence

"He presumably thought..."
"His post was seen as..."
"Some critics question..."

How does this sort of uninformed speculation get published in a journal?
I hear this a lot:

"Witnessing professionals would do better to emphasize instead the long-term harms rather than getting involved in controversies about the causes of particular weather disasters."

IOW: "Your good science makes my political advocacy more difficult. Shut up."
Read 8 tweets
6 Oct
Year-to-date hurricane and major hurricane activity is well below average in the Northern Hemisphere (via @philklotzbach -->
NH hurricanes since 1990
To date in 2020 (6 Oct) there have been 22, about 4 below average
NH major hurricanes since 1990
To date in 2020 (6 Oct) there have been 9 (about 4 below average)
Read 5 tweets
2 Oct
Important article by @SolomonMg and colleagues

Projecting Confidence: How the Probabilistic Horse Race Confuses and Demobilizes the Public | The Journal of Politics: Vol 82, No 4…
I discussed the pathological potential of horse race election predictions a little ways back…
Read 4 tweets
24 Sep
This won't make me friends in my campus admin but I have tenure so...

The @CUBoulder fall 2020 COVID semester has been a failure & with a heavy financial cost to the campus

In due course I expect @jaredpolis, CO Legislature, Regents, @CUSystem to evaluate & act accordingly
CUB reported $71.5m budget shortfall 2020-21

Included in the shortfall was $25m for a "COVID-ready campus"

To mitigate shortfall we had salary reductions of $14m

So CUB staff paid for the "Covid-ready campus" out of our salaries

Not that it failed, do we get our money back?
Had CUB simply started off online on Aug 24 rather than going online Sept 21 no campus employee would have needed to take a salary cut & campus would still have had an extra $11m as a buffer against enrollment declines

It is not a comfortable subject, but these are the facts
Read 4 tweets
22 Sep
More misuse of RCP8.5 in gov't policy analyses
I went down the rabbit hole
The CBO hurricane analyses are based on two dated 2013 studies which depend upon RCP8.5
Emanuel 2013 and Kopp et al. 2013
Unsurprisingly, the work Bloomberg and Steyer project sits at the core of the new CBO estimates…
Read 5 tweets