A climate scientist’s unhappy life as a heretic

The Wall Street Journal has a fascinating op-ed authored by University of Colorado environmental studies professor Roger Pielke, Jr. describing his experiences in the field of climate science. Starting off citing an email released by Wikileaks, Pielke builds upon its content to reveal the Lysenkoism in the political, academic and scientific worlds that squelch even the smallest dissent on the issue of climate change.

For a time I called out politicians and reporters who went beyond what science can support, but some journalists won’t hear of this. In 2011 and 2012, I pointed out on my blog and social media that the lead climate reporter at the New York Times, Justin Gillis, had mischaracterized the relationship of climate change and food shortages, and the relationship of climate change and disasters. His reporting wasn’t consistent with most expert views, or the evidence. In response he promptly blocked me from his Twitter feed. Other reporters did the same.

In August this year on Twitter, I criticized poor reporting on the website Mashable about a supposed coming hurricane apocalypse—including a bad misquote of me in the cartoon role of climate skeptic. (The misquote was later removed.) The publication’s lead science editor, Andrew Freedman, helpfully explained via Twitter that this sort of behavior “is why you’re on many reporters’ ‘do not call’ lists despite your expertise.”


In early 2014, not long after I appeared before Congress, President Obama’s science adviser John Holdren testified before the same Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. He was asked about his public statements that appeared to contradict the scientific consensus on extreme weather events that I had earlier presented. Mr. Holdren responded with the all-too-common approach of attacking the messenger, telling the senators incorrectly that my views were “not representative of the mainstream scientific opinion.” Mr. Holdren followed up by posting a strange essay, of nearly 3,000 words, on the White House website under the heading, “An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr.,” where it remains today.

Lysenkoism was a political principle used in the Soviet Union that required the natural sciences to conform to Lymarckian evolutionary theory. In order for scientific studies to be considered legitimate in the USSR, they had to fit a theory rather than the facts. As Dr. Pielke’s essay reveals this kind of mindset is being applied to climate science along with political and academic circles in order to squelch debate and prevent climate skeptics from being able to openly dissent.

Despite Pielke’s whistleblowing and even the election of Donald Trump to the Presidency, it may not stop environmentalists, their scientific allies and political friends from continuing to use research papers and questionable studies linking human activity to climate change in order force their green utopian vision on everyone else. Below is a video recording of testimony to the U.S. Senate delivered in 2013 that Pielke refers to in his op-ed.