An interesting and sympathetic take on Roger Pielke Jr. comes to us from from Dylan Otto Krider. One of the first comments on this blog was what I took to be a sincere welcome to the fray from RP Jr, and I’ve been torn about how to deal with him from well before I took up blogging in earnest.
It seems to me that sometimes he adds value but sometimes he seems to be so far out in right field that he’s playing in a different game. It’s hard to know what to make of him in any holistic sense. But it’s clear to me that dismissing him as a “right-winger” with “ties to industry” as Brad Johnson did in his otherwise elegant takedown of Revkin is excessive and off target. RP Jr. seems to want something different of the debate, and what it is I can’t entirely understand, but then again, I suppose that’s true of me as well! It does seem he tries so urgently to articulate his something and he fails, which is ironic given the sorts of critique he hurls at others.
On the other hand, it appears from the comments on Dot Earth that he approves of dragging Gore into the article on Will, an exercise I find inexcuseable.
Some folks are gearing up to push the Will case at the Washington Post for all its worth. That is definitely a good thing. It is time the press was forced to let go of its unearned carte blanche. So I suppose I shouldn’t try to rail against Revkin too hard; it’s just a distraction as long as the real action looks to be elsewhere.
Still, I don’t forgive Revkin. (Update: I don’t think his dragging Gore into Will’s muck was a minor transgression of a fine point of propriety. I think it was palpably evil.) To the extent RP Jr had a hand in it, I don’t forgive him either, even though he is something other than a corporate lackey, which is I don’t know exactly what.
Update: The massive blogstorm continues with a presistent mesoscale convective complex centered over Roger Pielke Jr . David Roberts had some musings about RPJr recently, for which John Fleck took him to task (see comments), much as I was uncomfortable with Brad Johnson’s stuff above. And Dylan Otto Krider is on the topic right now. ( Meta-Update: So is Backseat Driving. Brian updates: ” edited to tone down a bit. Must find the right tone….” Indeed. So, what is it about RPJr that makes that so hard?)
I also have some inside information that Joe Romm intends to weigh in soon, and one guesses not in the gentlest way. ( Meta-Update: It’s here. )
I should add that RPJr. did not originate any linkage between Gore and Will that I have been able to see. Although he did comment on the linkage after the fact, well, so did I.
Criticizing Gore on content is an odd sport and one which I find unsavory, but it is not in a league with finding symmetry in a comparison of Gore to Will. As far as I can tell the blame for this particular travesty rests squarely with Revkin.
I think there is little doubt that Pielke enjoys saying things that Republicans want to hear, but that is very different from being scientifically dishonest. It’s not even, necessarily, malign, despite the alarming current state of the federal Republicans. He does, at least, get a voice for legitimate climate science into quarters where it might not otherwise be heard.
I’m not convinced that he is entirely sincere, though. I find myself suspecting that he gets so much pleasure from explaining how things go awry that he is disinclined for them to go reasonably.
New: Eli posits a different explanation.
Update May 6: Though I have become a fan of Kevin Kloor‘s (despite the obvious cause for suspicion that he was a willing participant in my railroading a couple months back), I am a bit hurt that he has sent people back to this thread without providing some needed context, by which I mean specifically this almost contemporaneous posting, wherein what hit the fan in this present posting, leading to the above-mentioned railroading, was discussed at some length.