Roger A. Pielke Jr.

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Roger A. Pielke Jr.
Roger pielke jr.png
Born (1968-11-02) November 2, 1968 (age 52)
Alma materUniversity of Colorado Boulder (B.A. 1990; M.A. 1992; Ph.D. 1994)
Known forPublic policy and science, environment-society interactions
AwardsEduard Brueckner Prize (2006)
NRC Board on Ocean Sciences Roger Revelle Commemorative Lecturer (2006)
Sigma Xi Distinguished Lectureship Award (2000)
Scientific career
FieldsPolitical science, Environmental Studies, sports governance
InstitutionsUniversity of Colorado Boulder, Oxford University's James Martin Institute for Science and Civilization, NCAR Environmental and Societal Impacts Group
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, and was the director of the Sports Governance Center within the Department of Athletics at the Center for Science and Technology Policy Research at the University of Colorado Boulder.[1]

He previously served in the Environmental Studies Program and was 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 Saïd Business School in the 2007–2008 academic year.[2]

A prolific writer, his interests include understanding the politicization of science; decision making under uncertainty; policy education for scientists in areas such as climate change, disaster mitigation, and world trade; and research on the governance of sports organizations, including FIFA and the NCAA.

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[3] 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[4][5] and the Public Service Award of the Geological Society of America.[6]

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.[7] Shortly before the loss of Columbia he warned that loss of another shuttle was only a matter of time.[8] He has also been critical of the space station program.[9]

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."[10] 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."[11][12]

On the issues of hurricanes and climate change he has argued that the trend in increasing damage from hurricanes is primarily due to societal and economic factors (chiefly an increase in wealth density), rather than change in the frequency and intensity.[13]

A "Guide to Climate Skeptics" published by Foreign Policy notes that Pielke's published views have led to him being considered by some a "denier" of climate change and by others as an "alarmist".[14] In October 2016, in a hacked email disclosed by WikiLeaks,[15] Judd Legum states that a ThinkProgress blog was instrumental in his firing from the FiveThirtyEight website.[16] The Guardian published an article by Dana Nuccitelli called "FiveThirtyEight undermines its brand by misrepresenting climate research".[17]

In April 2015, Pielke joined with a group issuing An Ecomodernist Manifesto.[18][19] The other authors were: John Asafu-Adjaye, Linus Blomqvist, Stewart Brand, Barry Brook. Ruth DeFries, Erle Ellis, Christopher Foreman, David Keith, Martin Lewis, Mark Lynas, Ted Nordhaus, Rachel Pritzker, Joyashree Roy, Mark Sagoff, Michael Shellenberger, Robert Stone, and Peter Teague.[20]

Pielke was named in a letter sent by Representative Raúl Grijalva (D-AZ) to institutions that employed scientists who had testified to Congress about climate change. The letter stated, "My colleagues and I cannot perform our duties if research or testimony provided to us is influenced by undisclosed financial relationships," and requested information including the sources and amounts of outside funding for those scientists who had testified.[21]

Pielke rebuked Grijalva's investigation into alleged financial influence on him by fossil fuel companies. "I have no funding, declared or undeclared, with any fossil fuel company or interest. I never have. Representative Grijalva knows this too, because when I have testified before the US Congress, I have disclosed my funding and possible conflicts of interest... the Congressman and his staff, along with compliant journalists, are busy characterizing me in public as a 'climate skeptic' opposed to action on climate change. This of course is a lie. I have written a book calling for a carbon tax, I have publicly supported President Obama’s proposed EPA carbon regulations, and I have just published another book strongly defending the scientific assessment of the IPCC with respect to disasters and climate change." Pielke stated in a blog post published after Grijalva began demanding Pielke's employer to disclose all of Pielke's personal correspondence (including draft letters) as it related to climate science. [22]

Pielke contends that Democratic members of Congress were motivated by political and partisan interests. He believes that he was targeted due to his echoing of IPCC opinion that it is 'incorrect to associate the increasing costs of disasters with the emission of greenhouse gases' [23]


  • Editor, with Daniel Sarewitz and Radford Byerly Jr., Prediction: Science, Decision Making, and the Future of Nature, Island Press; New title edition (April 1, 2000), hardcover, 400 pages, ISBN 978-1559637756
  • The Honest Broker: Making Sense of Science in Policy and Politics, Cambridge University Press (May 14, 2007), hardcover, 198 pages, ISBN 978-0521873208
  • The Climate Fix: What Scientists and Politicians Won't Tell You About Global Warming, Basic Books (September 28, 2010), hardcover, 288 pages ISBN 0465020526
  • The Rightful Place of Science: Disasters and Climate Change, Consortium for Science, Policy & Outcomes (November 1, 2014), trade paperback, 124 pages ISBN 978-0692297513
  • The Edge: The War Against Cheating and Corruption in the Cutthroat World of Elite Sports, with Simon Kuper, Roaring Forties Press (29 September 2016), paperback, 288 pages ISBN 978-1938901577
  • List of publications at

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Roger Pielke, Jr". Center for Science and Technology Policy Research. Retrieved 4 April 2017.
  2. ^ "James Martin Fellows" (PDF). Summer Newsletter. Oxford Martin School. July 2009. p. 10. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  3. ^ Revkin, Andrew (2008-08-07). "Climate-Change Program to Aid Poor Nations Is Shut". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-03-28.
  4. ^ "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.
  5. ^ Falklöf, Lennart (2012-03-20). "Four Honorary Doctors: News & Events: Linköping University". Linköping University. Retrieved 2012-03-29.
  6. ^ Center for Science & Technology Policy Research (2012-07-09). "Roger Pielke Jr. awarded 2012 GSA Public Service Award". Retrieved 2012-07-09.
  7. ^ Pielke, Roger (May 1993). "A reappraisal of the Space Shuttle programme" (PDF). Space Policy. 9 (2): 133–157. Bibcode:1993SpPol...9..133P. doi:10.1016/0265-9646(93)90027-7. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  8. ^ Pielke, Roger (2002-09-16). "When, not if, we lose another shuttle, what then?". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  9. ^ Pielke, Roger; Byerly, Radford (1992). "The Space Shuttle Program: "Performance Versus Promise"" (PDF). In Radford Byerly (ed.). Space Policy Alternatives. Westview Press. pp. 223–247. ISBN 978-0813386188. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  10. ^ 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.
  11. ^ Pielke, Roger; Gwyn Prins; Steve Rayner; Daniel Sarewitz (2007-02-08). "Lifting the taboo on adaptation" (PDF). Nature. 445 (7128): 597–8. doi:10.1038/445597a. PMID 17287795. S2CID 4365996. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  12. ^ 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.
  13. ^ Pielke, Roger; Daniel Sarewitz (January 2005). "Bringing Society Back into the Climate Debate" (PDF). Population and Environment. 26 (3): 255–268. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s11111-005-1877-6. S2CID 2788487. Retrieved 2012-08-10.
  14. ^ Larsen, Christina & Keating, Joshua (26 Feb 2010). "The FP Guide to Climate Skeptics". Foreign Policy. Retrieved 19 March 2014.
  15. ^ Franceschi-Bicchierai, Lorenzo (20 October 2016). "How Hackers Broke Into John Podesta and Colin Powell's Gmail Accounts". Motherboard. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  16. ^ Legum wrote: “I think it’s fair say that, without Climate Progress, Pielke would still be writing on climate change for 538”.
  17. ^ Nuccitelli, Dana. "FiveThirtyEight undermines its brand by misrepresenting climate research", The Guardian, March 25, 2014, accessed October 27, 2016
  18. ^ "An Ecomodernist Manifesto". Retrieved April 17, 2015. A good Anthropocene demands that humans use their growing social, economic, and technological powers to make life better for people, stabilize the climate, and protect the natural world.
  19. ^ Eduardo Porter (April 14, 2015). "A Call to Look Past Sustainable Development". The New York Times. Retrieved April 17, 2015. On Tuesday, a group of scholars involved in the environmental debate, including Professor Roy and Professor Brook, Ruth DeFries of Columbia University, and Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus of the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, Calif., issued what they are calling the “Eco-modernist Manifesto.”
  20. ^ "Authors An Ecomodernist Manifesto". Retrieved April 17, 2015. As scholars, scientists, campaigners, and citizens, we write with the conviction that knowledge and technology, applied with wisdom, might allow for a good, or even great, Anthropocene.
  21. ^ Schwartz, John (2015-02-25). "Lawmakers Seek Information on Funding for Climate Change Critics". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2020-09-02.
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