07 August 2009

Welcome Again Climate Progress Readers

Joe Romm has done another headline post on me. Joe spends some time on my book, The Honest Broker. Here is just a sampling of editorial reviews:

Nature (23 August 2007) by Andrew A. Rosenberg:

"Happily, the book by Roger Pielke, Jr. on the engagement of scientists in policy offers a pithy, insightful basis for discussing the contributions scientists can make to advising policy makers. . ."

"This is a clear, thought-provoking book that helps move us away from thinking of science as 'pure' and distinct from policy. It would make an excellent basis for a graduate seminar. It isn't a textbook, but a think-piece, and we all need to consider carefully our responsibility to engage as scientists in policy making."

Science (17 August 2007) by Nathan E. Hultman

"In The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics, Roger Pielke Jr. successfully illuminates these challenges to science and scientists."

"Pielke's framework provides a helpful starting point for investigating factors that complicate the science-society relationship. . . Pielke deftly shows how scientists selections among these options can affect outcomes."

"the books direct language and concrete examples convey the concepts to a wide audience. By categorizing different roles in the often vexed but necessary relations between scientists and their social world, Pielke clarifies choices not only for scientists but also for the diverse members of democratic society, for whom scientific perspectives are an essential component of better policy."

Bioscience (April 2008) by EPA Scientist Robert Lackey:

"The Honest Broker is a must-read...An important book...it should be read by everyone."
Minerva (November 2008) by Mark B. Brown:

. . . for anyone interested in a policy-oriented perspective on science advice, The Honest Broker offers an accessible and stimulating guide to improving the role of science advisors in politics and policymaking.

Isis (September 2008) by Ronald E. Dohl:

“...original, thought-provoking book”

“...important contribution Pielke has made to the history of recent science.”

Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (May 2008) by Mark Shafer:

Pielke's discussion of climate change politics is excellent. He seizes on the central issue in climate change politics: that those opposed to action (based on value decisions) raise scientific uncertainty as a reason for delay or inaction. In response, scientists focus on reducing or eliminating uncertainty to undermine grounds for opposition to action rather than focusing on the merits of the argument, which is really a values-based decision irrespectie of the science.

The basic framework of the book and its discussion of the importance of considering values and uncertainty are strong. the numerous examples he offers are instructive. Anyone engaged in policy, even on the periphery, would benefit from this discussion.

Review of Policy Research (January 2008) by Eugene Skolnikoff:

"...this is a book that makes a genuine important contribution..."

"...the book is a valuable addition to the science and policy scene..."

The New Atlantis (Summer edition) by Jonathan Adler:

In Honest Broker, which takes only a few hours to read, he provides an incredibly concise and insightful assessment of the role of science (and scientists) in policy and a framework for evaluating the fit between the two as well as for identifying cases of "stealth advocacy." The thrust of the book resonates particularly well with environmental policy and its administration through agencies with science-policy missions, such as EPA, Fish & Wildlife, and the Forest Service, although by no means is it limited to that context in either content or usefulness.


  1. This is genuinely not intended as a petty personal attack. Instead, it's just an honest, recurrent impression I often get when I visit Climate Progress.

    It seems to me "unbalanced" is an adjective that applies to Mr. Romm's discourse in more than one sense, most especially when said discourse is referring to the author of this blog.

  2. Yes, I am finding it increasingly difficult to defend Mr. Romm's blog (as I did in a comment a couple weeks ago), and in particular his rhetorical style. This latest post was way way over the top.

    Moreover, I discovered that he censors comments from readers. I posted a comment here: http://climateprogress.org/2009/08/02/did-time-bryan-walsh-cut-and-paste-the-breakthrough-institute-clean-energy/comment-page-1/#comment-101106 , in which he inserted "[snip]" in place of the relatively tame phrase "at times unprofessional" in reference to his somewhat obnoxious blogging style.

    I followed up with another comment, written as professionally and kindly as possible, questioning this decision to censor my comment, providing further explanation, and stating that I am simply seeking a more constructive and less derisive debate on climate policy between he and yourself (Roger), and he elected not to allow this follow-up comment at all. I then emailed him kindly asking why he won't post it and have received no reply.

    I recognize that blogs are not necessarily required to adhere to the highest standards of journalistic integrity (and one may include/exclude information as they please), but given his large following and the growing importance of blogs in modern public discourse, such use of censorship and wildly unprofessional rhetoric are at best unfortunate and at worst despicable.

    I am still hopeful that someone will emerge who can represent some of his viewpoints in a more level-headed and constructive manner.

  3. Dr. Pielke,

    Reasonable people can -- do a degree -- measure their impact upon the totalitarian tyranny of the Far Left by the extent to which the Far Left personally demonize them (in accordance with Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals”).

    I get my share. But, I truly envy the extent to which Romm demonizes you!


    P.S.) Just another friendly reminder not to forget your commitment to explain what led you to conclude that it is advisable to make the current CO2 famine even more severe.

    How ironic that you and Romm agree on that, eh?

  4. @Dan C:

    Full disclosure: this is coming from an ages-ago student…meaning the following suggestion definitely has an element of possibly ridiculous vicariism within it.

    Nevertheless, in reference to:

    “I am still hopeful that someone will emerge who can represent some of his viewpoints in a more level-headed and constructive manner.”

    …maybe that “someone” is you and some of your classmates? I understand that creating and maintaining a respectable forum like you hope for in the above comment is too much for a single person in the middle of their first years of college (taking reference from your “Blogger” profile) to be responsible for, alone. But coming from one who at least started in a very respectable school: please, appreciate and make the utmost use of all the talented classmates and schoolmates you’re blessed to be surrounded by right now…

    I wouldn’t suggest such an option were it not for the dearth I’ve at least personally found surrounding your above-stated hope for web forums. And I probably wouldn’t have mentioned it but for your profile-stated focus on atmospheric science.

    Anyway, I’m honestly not sure the measured, uncensored, scientifically founded, pro-Waxman-Markey forum you hope for exists without you…

    ...so, please create it.


  5. I chanced upon to view your blog and found it very interesting. Great ... Keep it up!

  6. Keith Kloor finds Joe's step back from a lie unconvincing:


    Sometimes a simple "I wuz wrong, sorry" is the way to go.

  7. @kmye:

    I would love to fill that role, but I just don't have the time while in graduate school :( I do have a blog on science/policy issues but the topics of posts typically arise simply from reading an article somewhere that sparks my interest, often with regards to climate change science and policy since that is my area of some expertise. In fact, though, I use the blog more for selfish reasons because people can tell me why they think my ideas are wrong, which turns out to be a great way to learn.

    But hopefully someday down the road!


  8. Sorry, my previous comment in this thread should have read “to a degree” not “do a degree”.

    My bad.

  9. Evidently, he doesn't read your blog. But somehow, he is aware it is published by way of googlepings. Funny that. :)

  10. Nice reviews - I think I will pick up a copy...

    Not that you need to defend yourself against Mr. Romm. My sense is that he is feeling increasingly marooned on the C02 catastrophe atoll, and is feeling the heat from the scientific community as well (Hell and High Water).

    I wouldn't ever read his blog, but when his posts magically show up on my desktop, I find there is some useful information regarding alternative energy solutions. Climate science insights? Not so much....

  11. http://www.examiner.com/x-9111-SF-Environmental-Policy-Examiner~y2009m8d9-Global-warming-attack-dogs

  12. Some people have a difficult time recognizing that "the totalitarian tyranny of the Far Left" was given to us by the Far Right, and by American voters who turned Republicans out of power in the House, the Senate and the White House.

    This "the other guy is evil" while-I`m-blameless-and-well-intentioned game of villification and self-deception gets so old!

  13. Roger, I agree with Keith Kloor that Joe's step back from recklessly reporting a guess as fact (to be fair, what it is much more likely to be than "a lie") is unconvincing, and just left a comment with him to that effect.

    But by the same token, I do think you were wrong to provoke Romm with your statement that "Joe Romm explains that Senator Kerry is insulting his peers and the American public", which certainly reads as if Romm had specifically criticized Kerry when in fact he had not singled him out. (Of course, a "gotcha" of comparing statements by Romm and Kerry remains fair game.)

  14. TokyoTom,

    How unoriginal (and telling) of you to resort to “The Myth of Moral Equivalence”.

    Are you sure you’re not Tokyo Rose?

    Read it and weep for our nation.

    I am not a Republican. And, when Republicans engage in idiotic tyranny, I unload on them too.

    But, although popular these days among the uninformed, to suggest a moral equivalence between Dims and Republicans is both qualitatively and quantitatively incorrect.

  15. SBVOR, you might have a hard time in accepting Republican responsibility for the fact that their misgovernance caused Americans to turn them out of power in favor of Dems, but pointing it out is certainly not "moral equivalency".

    "Tokyo Rose"? How lame. You never fail to disappoint. I`ll take reason over ad homs any day.