Roger A. Pielke, Jr.

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Roger A. Pielke, Jr.
Roger pielke jr.png
Roger Pielke
Born (1968-11-02) November 2, 1968 (age 46)
United States
Residence United States
Citizenship American
Fields Political science, Environmental Studies
Institutions University of Colorado Boulder, Oxford University's James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization, NCAR Environmental and Societal Impacts Group
Alma mater University of Colorado Boulder (B.A. 1990; M.A. 1992; Ph.D. 1994)
Known for public policy and science, politicization of science, environment-society interactions
Notable awards Eduard Brueckner Prize (2006), NRC Board on Ocean Sciences Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecturer (2006), Sigma Xi Distinguished Lectureship Award (2000)
Father Roger A. Pielke, atmospheric scientist (land and sea interactions with atmosphere, atmospheric dynamics, climate change)

Roger A. Pielke, Jr. (born November 2, 1968) is an American political scientist and professor in the Environmental Studies Program and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) where he served as Director of the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder from 2001 to 2007. Pielke was a visiting scholar at Oxford University's James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization [1] in the Said Business School in the 2007-2008 academic year. His interests include understanding the politicization of science, decision making under uncertainty, and policy education for scientists in areas such as climate change, disaster mitigation, and world trade.

Education and background[edit]

Pielke earned a B.A. in mathematics (1990), an M.A. in public policy (1992), and a Ph.D. in political science, all from the University of Colorado Boulder. Prior to his positions at CU-Boulder, from 1993 to 2001 he was a staff scientist[2] in the Environmental and Societal Impacts Group of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. From 2002 to 2004 Pielke was Director of Graduate Studies for the CU-Boulder Graduate Program in Environmental Studies and in 2001 students selected him for the Outstanding Graduate Advisor Award. Pielke serves on numerous editorial boards and advisory committees, retains many professional affiliations, and sat on the Board of Directors of WeatherData, Inc. from 2001 to 2006. In 2012 he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Linköping University[3][4] and the Public Service Award of the Geological Society of America.[5]

Professional writing[edit]

Pielke's early work was on the Space Shuttle program. In 1993 he argued that the shuttle was expensive and risky - that it was "probable" that another orbiter would be lost within 20-35 flights.[6] Shortly before the loss of Columbia he warned that loss of another shuttle was only a matter of time.[7] He has also been critical of the space station program.[8]

Pielke has also written extensively on climate change policy. He has written that he accepts the IPCC view of the underlying science, stating, "The IPCC has concluded that greenhouse gas emissions resulting from human activity are an important driver of changes in climate. And on this basis alone I am personally convinced that it makes sense to take action to limit greenhouse gas emissions."[9] He also states that, "Any conceivable emissions reductions policies, even if successful, cannot have a perceptible impact on the climate for many decades, and from this he concludes that, "In coming decades the only policies that can effectively be used to manage the immediate effects of climate variability and change will be adaptive."[10][11]

On the issues of hurricanes and climate change he has argued that the trend in increasing damage from hurricanes is primarily due to societal factors rather than change in the frequency and intensity.[12]

Pielke has been labeled a "skeptic" and "denier" of climate change, though Pielke strongly objects to those labels.[13] His views on climate change have been widely criticized by scientists, including US presidential science adviser John Holdren.[14][15] Pielke rejected Holdren's criticisms, saying "the facts are on my side" [16] and several publications defended Pielke.[17][18]


On February 24, 2015, ranking Democratic member of the United States House Committee on Natural Resources Raúl Grijalva sent a letter to University of Colorado president Bruce D. Benson requesting information on the sources of funding for and communications related to Pielke's research and Congressional testimony. The letter was one of seven Grijalva sent to various institutions stemming from concerns about the influence of funding from fossil fuel companies on the work and testimony of Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics researcher Willie Soon. Pielke responded that he has no funding from fossil fuel interests and characterized the letter as part of a politically motivated "'witch-hunt'".[19] In response to criticism that requesting communications was counter to principles of academic freedom, Grijalva said he was willing to eliminate that part of the request.[20]

Pielke was also named in a letter sent by Senator Edward Markey (D–MA) to numerous energy industry groups, asking them to disclose the names of scientists they had funded. Regarding Conflict of Interest disclosures, Pielke said that "if you look at our community, the failure to disclose conflicts of interest is fairly endemic." [21]


Pielke is author, co-author or co-editor of five books, including The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics (2007, Cambridge University Press), The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming (2010, Basic Books) and The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change (2014, Consortium for Science, Policy, & Outcomes).

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "James Martin Fellows". Summer Newsletter (Oxford Martin School). July 2009. p. 10. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  2. ^ Revkin, Andrew (2008-08-07). "Climate-Change Program to Aid Poor Nations Is Shut". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-28. 
  3. ^ "Roger Pielke, Jr., awarded an Honorary Doctor of Philosophy from Linköping University". Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. 2012-03-20. Retrieved 2012-03-22. 
  4. ^ Falklöf, Lennart (2012-03-20). "Four Honorary Doctors: News & Events: Linköping University". Linköping University. Retrieved 2012-03-29. 
  5. ^ Center for Science and Technology Policy Research (2012-07-09). "Roger Pielke, Jr. awarded 2012 GSA Public Service Award". Retrieved 2012-07-09. 
  6. ^ Pielke, Roger (May 1993). "A reappraisal of the Space Shuttle programme" (PDF). Space Policy 9 (2): 133–157. doi:10.1016/0265-9646(93)90027-7. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  7. ^ Pielke, Roger (2002-09-16). "When, not if, we lose another shuttle, what then?". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  8. ^ Pielke, Roger; Byerly, Radford (1992). "The Space Shuttle Program: “Performance Versus Promise”". In Radford Byerly. Space Policy Alternatives. Westview Press. pp. 223–247. ISBN 978-0813386188. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  9. ^ Roger A. Pielke, Jr. (2006-07-20). "Statement to the Committee on Government Reform of the United States House of Representatives" (PDF). Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  10. ^ Pielke, Roger; Gwyn Prins, Steve Rayner and Daniel Sarewitz (2007-02-08). "Lifting the taboo on adaptation" (PDF). Nature 445: 597–8. doi:10.1038/445597a. Retrieved 2012-08-09. 
  11. ^ Pielke, Roger (1998). "Rethinking the role of adaptation in climate policy" (PDF). Global Environmental Change 8 (2): 159–170. doi:10.1016/s0959-3780(98)00011-9. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  12. ^ Pielke, Roger; Daniel Sarewitz (January 2005). "Bringing Society Back into the Climate Debate" (PDF). Population and Environment 26 (3): 255–268. doi:10.1007/s11111-005-1877-6. Retrieved 2012-08-10. 
  13. ^ Larsen, Christina and Keating, Joshua (26 Feb 2010). "The FP Guide to Climate Skeptics". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  14. ^ Kroh, Kiley (19 March 2014). "Nate Silver’s New Science Writer Ignores The Data On Climate Science". Climate Progress. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  15. ^ Holdren, John (28 February 2014). "Drought and Global Climate Change: An Analysis of Statements by Roger Pielke Jr". The White House. Retrieved 19 March 2014. 
  16. ^ An Obama Advisor Is Attacking Me for Testifying That Climate Change Hasn't Increased Extreme Weather by Pielke Jr, The New Republic, March 5, 2014
  17. ^ Progressives Turn on Their Prodigies by CCW Cooke, National Review online, March 25, 2014
  18. ^ Extreme weather censors by Vincent Carroll, Denver Post, 03/22/2014
  19. ^ Dickie, Gloria (25 February 2015). "CU-Boulder's Roger Pielke Jr. targeted by congressman over research funding". (Boulder, CO) Daily Camera. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  20. ^ Geman, Ben (2 March 2015). "Grijalva: Climate Letters Went Too Far in Seeking Correspondence". National Journal. Retrieved 3 March 2015. 
  21. ^ Targeted by crusading Congressman, scientist speaks out on conflicts, climate, and controversy AAAS ScienceInsider, 4 March 2015

External links[edit]