Climate Change

Published on March 21st, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Nate Silver Picks One Of Most Notorious Scientists For Climate Science Section Of FiveThirtyEight

March 21st, 2014 by  

nate silver

Yikes, here’s some bad news for who were hoping for useful climate science analysis from Nate Silver’s new website, FiveThirtyEight:

Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site FiveThirtyEight launched on Monday, with a controversial figure covering science issues. Silver has brought on Roger Pielke, Jr., a professor of environmental studies at the University of Colorado Boulder, as a contributing writer – a political scientist who comes with a long history of data distortion and confrontations with climate scientists.

“Given Nate’s professed obsession with rigorous statistical analysis, it is rather disappointing to see him hire for his new venture an individual who has displayed a pattern of sloppiness when it comes to the analysis of climate data,” said top climate scientist Michael Mann via email. Pointing to a chapter in Silver’s recent book that addresses climate change (for which Mann was interviewed) he adds, “Sadly, this isn’t the first time Nate has been led astray when it comes to dealing with the science of climate change.”

Pielke routinely seeks to minimize the impacts and severity of climate change and in the process, has been repeatedly criticized as inaccurate and misleading by some of the nation’s foremost climate scientists.

And more from a follow-up story:

One of the first articles on Nate Silver’s highly anticipated data-driven news site used flawed data to make its conclusions, according to some of the nation’s top climate scientists.

Silver’s FiveThirtyEight published its first article about climate change on Wednesday, entitled “Disasters Cost More Than Ever — But Not Because of Climate Change.” But climate scientists are condemning the article and its author, Roger Pielke Jr., saying he ignored critical data to produce a “deeply misleading” result.

“Pielke’s piece is deeply misleading, confirming some of my worst fears that Nate Silver’s new venture may become yet another outlet for misinformation when it comes to the issue of human-caused climate change,” said Michael Mann, director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University. “Pielke uses a very misleading normalization procedure that likely serves to remove the very climate change-related damage signal that he claims to not be able to find.”

Ugh, more BS from supposedly objective media sources.


Photo credit: Nate Silver via handcoding / Foter / CC BY-NC

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is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • JamesWimberley

    Nate Silver has made a reputation applying simple statistics to areas where the competition runs largely on anecdote and gut instinct: elections and sports. He’s out of his depth in areas where real scientists make a living crunching numbers to test complex theories, like economics and climate.

    • mk1313

      Science only, classical economics is a fantasy ignoring external realities. Until we move to a more accurate system, such as biophysical economics, the neoclassicists will continue to screw us up.

  • mk1313

    Who is paying the bills for fivethirtyeight? Bet that answers a few questions about objectivity!

    • sault

      Headline-grabbing moves like hiring a climate denier to head up your science section is what’s paying the bills at fivethirtyeight right now. Eventually, more bogus analysis from Pielke to the tune of “hey, the world’s climate scientists are full of it because one guy (Pielke) says so” will give them even more click-bait. Peilke’s whole schtick is to ramble off enough jargon and make his analysis just complicated enough to fool the average person, so I expect them to get away with this for a while. This complication also requires a complicated debunking by REAL climate scientists, but all this really accomplishes is planting the false idea of doubt in the public’s mind concerning the consensus on climate change and make them think there is still debate within the scientific community about it. Finally, whenever Pielke is eventually fired, he will play the part of victim like he is trying to win an Oscar and try to convince anyone who will listen that he was pushed out by the “climate mafia” that’s trying to silence “skeptics” like him. Sadly, it’s win-win for Pielke either way.

      • sault

        One more prediction…Pielke will harp on ANY small uncertainty in climate science and try to build those molehills into a climate denier mountain! Again, the average public does not understand the language of scientific uncertainty and the frequently miss the fact that “very likely” means a 95% confidence interval. All they think when they hear that is, “Well, the scientists are kind of sure, but not completely sure about climate change. LOL…this is just like when they said not to eat eggs and then eggs were fine again, or how butter was bad and then now it’s not so bad.”
        Anyway, expect tons of cherry-picking and concern trolling about non-issues or small areas of uncertainty from Pielke in order to keep himself relevant. Without his climate denier act, he’s just another nobody like the rest of us.

        • ShadowBurn

          they say if you can’t dazzle them with knowledge, you should baffle them with B.S.

          • Bob_Wallace

            One can make a nice career for themselves by taking a contrarian stance and holding to it even in the face of overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

            It worked well for Baghdad Bob for quite a while….


  • Banned by Bob

    Michael Mann of all folks smacking someone around for being sloppy with data.

    Pot, meet kettle.

    • dcard88

      Since when is Mann sloppy? There is ZERO evidence of any sloppiness.

      • Banned by Bob

        What Dr. Smith of Washington U. said.

        Ignoring periods of history like the Little Ice Age is intentional cherry picking.

        His predictions have been wrong and he does not have the humility to admit it.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Show us where Mann’s predictions have been wrong.

          And show us where “Dr. Smith” has published his stuff in a reputable journal. Comments on a global warming denial site don’t fly.

          • Banned by Bob

            Whatever you say, Bob.

            His predictions would have temps higher than actual data have confirmed.

            Apparently Nate Silver didn’t choose Dr. Mann for a reason.

          • Bob_Wallace

            “His predictions would have temps higher than actual data have confirmed.”

    • Bob_Wallace

      Please back up that claim or retract it.

    • Only have a few ideas where you could come up with the idea that Mann is sloppy, and none of them are reputable.

    • Joe Vanderheiden

      Yes, that Hockey stick graph is a joke.

    • SecularAnimist

      With all due respect, you are a cowardly lying scumbag.

      • Banned by Bob

        That is quite a convincing argument.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I see that five hours passed between the time I asked you to substantiate your claim and when you made this post.

          Where’s the proof?

          • Banned by Bob

            Bob, I’m not going to convince you nor will you convince me.

            All that has changed is that Nate Silver voted with his $ today and you see how he voted.

          • Bob_Wallace

            So what you are saying is that you attacked Michael Mann without proof?

            As far as Nate goes, that seems to be his second poor hiring decision. He’s a smart guy, I’m willing to give him a little time to figure it out.

          • Banned by Bob


            I can show you his earlier predictions vs how actual temps have reałized to prove his earlier predictions wrong. And you will counter by saying the heat has migrated to the bottom of the deepest oceans. Or that he has new and better models to replace the old bad ones. And then we’ll go round and round and nothing will change.

            Why is Mann so upset with Silver? Because he wasn’t chosen? It’s Silver’s business to do as he pleases. If this guy is wrong, just makes it easier for Mann to prove his points.

            We’ll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

          • Bob_Wallace

            No, you don’t slide off that easily.

            You made an attack. Back it up.

          • Banned by Bob

            Here’s a decent synopsis that describes how Mann deemphasized historical data to reach his conclusions. You can agree or disagree but the arguments are valid.


          • Bob_Wallace

            You found some obscure unpublished paper – that’s the best you could do?
            Here, read some science.


            And leave your climate change denial crap off this site. No more warnings.

      • Bob_Wallace

        Over the top. Dial it back please.

  • Disappointing, but still I’m believing the deniers are running on fumes.

    There is only so much discrepancy between fantasy and reality that people will bleive. To compensate for the ever widening gap, they have been gradually turning up the volume knob. But people will notice the ever growing discrepancy between the real world and the lala-land of climate deniers. And when the volume control reaches the end of the scale, it’s game over.

    • Ronald Brakels

      I just recently saw a climate denier being called out on his nonsense on what I guess would count as a right wing site, so they do appear to be running out of steam and safe places to hide. But, on the other hand, they do seem to rule an entire continent in the Southern Hemisphere, so they are still quite capable of causing a lot of damage. But I am hopeful they are on their last legs.

    • silqworm

      There is only so much discrepancy between fantasy and reality that people will believe. To compensate for the ever widening gap, they have been gradually turning up the volume knob. But people will notice the ever growing discrepancy between the real world and the lala-land of climate alarmists. And when the volume control reaches the end of the scale, it’s game over.

    • Joe Vanderheiden

      Nothing new has been found in the past 10 years to prove the climate changing is caused by man. It is the GW fanatics that are running out of excuses as to why the earth hasn’t warmed in 15 years.

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