FiveThirtyEight and Roger Pielke, Jr. Part Ways

Political poll guru and founder of the site FiveThirtyEight Nate Silver took a lot of heat for hiring Roger Pielke, Jr. to work for 538 in March, 2014. Pielke is professor and political scientist who has been heavily criticized by climate change researchers for his article published on 538 that the damage caused by climate change is rising in value only due to the corresponding rise in global wealth. Pielke has fought against charges of being a denialist, and according to his Wikipedia article, accepts human-driven global warming. In his book The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming, Pielke spends a great deal of time criticizing researchers and critics note that he seems unwilling to agree that the situation is one worthy of immediate and dramatic changes in how humans affect the environment.

Pielke has now parted from 538 according to an interview on the Collide-a-scape blog on I'm not fully aware of Pielke's arguments or those of his critics against him to weigh in on this issue. A quick read of some of the sources cited in the interview shows Pielke has a history of snide comments about climate science and the political nature of the controversy. While he may be correct about the link between losses and global wealth, I feel his tight focus on politicalization and existing losses due to climate change are myopic at best. The science is clear, and Pielke does not seem to doubt the fact that humans are making the planet warmer. Instead of spending so much effort adding to the squawking politicos that seem to miss the point, I'd much rather see him working on building bridges between researchers and the politicians who need to act.