18 October 2009

Economist Brad DeLong Calls me "Wrong and Dishonest, ... a Clever Denier"

UPDATE: DeLong has refused to post my comment on his blog (while posting several new blog post since submitted) and has not answered my email. Such actions speak loudly for themselves.

Brad DeLong is apparently a well-respected economist at the University of California-Berkeley. On his blog he approvingly reposts a comment that targets me as a "clever denier" and states that I am "dishonest and wrong" (about what, who knows). OK, Professor DeLong, here is a link to my peer-reviewed research on various aspects of the climate issue, please do tell what you find here that is evidence of being a "denier" or "stupid and wrong." I've emailed him to ask for a response.


  1. I think this is a better link to your research:


  2. Well, how about: http://scienceblogs.com/deltoid/2009/08/another_pielke_train_wreck.php ?

    "The thing about a Roger Pielke Jr train wreck is that you just can't look away. Check this one out. Pielke claims that there were 1,264 times as many news stories about a Michael Mann study that suggests that hurricanes are at a 1,000 year high as about a Chris Landsea study that found no increase in hurricanes over the past century. (Mark Morano , of course, links to Pielke's post.) The fun is in the comments as folks try to explain to Pielke that there is a film director called Michael Mann and that maybe Pielke shouldn't count those stories. Pielke comes back with the claim that restricting the search to "Michael Mann" + nature + hurricanes + Aug 13-15 gives 1,412 stories. Some folks might wonder how restricting the search gives you more results, but not Pielke. In fact, if you read what Google says at the link Pielke gave it says that there are "about 20", and if you look at all the results there are just 11..."

  3. -2-brad (I assume not DeLong)

    Yes, I did butcher a Google search. But when pointed out I corrected the mistake and apologized. But it is not really relevant to this post is it?

    Five years of blogging and a few hundred publications, and that all you've got? Really?!

    Got anything to say about these publications?


  4. Roger,

    Technically, the comment -- at least as it currently exists -- says you're "not stupid".

    That said, the comment is unworthy of publication (and typical of those who do not have the science on their side).

  5. Its a very interesting tactic.

    Declare that somebody is wrong, but that they are too clever for you to debate on the substance of their work.

    Major points for novelty.

  6. Re: "Yes, I did butcher a Google search. But when pointed out I corrected the mistake and apologized. But it is not really relevant to this post is it? Five years of blogging and a few hundred publications, and that all you've got? Really?!'

    Well, how many do you want?

    I do remember that what knocked my view of your work over the edge was one of your attacks on Hansen.

    Ah. "[Pielke] claims that [Hanson's] scenario B was off by a factor of 2 on CO2. This sounds like a lot until you discover that means that emissions grew by 0.5% per year instead of 1% a year. And that works out to scenario B having the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere within 1% of what has actually happened. Pielke is being much more than a little unfair by calling a prediction that got within 1% of the correct answer as not being 'particularly accurate or realistic'."

  7. -7-brad

    So your argument is that I am a "denier" because I made a mistake in a Google search and I (correctly) critiqued a forecast made James Hansen?

    Does this also make Joe Romm a denier because he has attacked James Hansen and has been known to make a mistake or two? ;-)

    Seriously, this is all you've got!? Really?! Who knew that the denier club was so easy to get into.

  8. Anytime I see someone claim to be "Reality-Based" a little bit of my inner pragmatist dies inside.

  9. Try to Google "Global Warming UFO". I got wise to the connection between belief in Anthropogenic Global Warming and various crackpot notions by listening late at night to Art Bell's radio show (now hosted by George Nouri). The first guest I heard talked about Global Warming, Aliens from Outer Space, and Out-of-Body experiences.

    The tin foil hat brigade are solidly behing AGW. Hollywood too.

  10. "Correctly critiqued"? Game, set, and match...

  11. -11-brad

    I will interpret that last comment as the blog-equivalent of "uncle".

  12. This comment has been removed by the author.

  13. -13-Jason S

    I don't think that "brad" is "delong" or even "johnson" ...

  14. Anyone who is simplistic (and naïve) enough to reduce climate change down to CO2 is a threat to the planet and only massive government intervention can save the planet is certainly simplistic (and naïve) enough to reduce the debate -- in every example -- down to:

    Alarmist (on EVERY front) = PURELY GOOD.
    Skeptic (on ANY front) = PURELY EVIL.

    These are the people for whom environmentalism is a “totalitarian, political religion” whose creed and moral code -- in toto -- can never be questioned. It does not matter how rigorous the evidence is against it. The religious creed trumps all.

    In those religious circles, Roger is perceived to have committed the cardinal sin of questioning that aspect of the religious creed which deals with the relationship between global warming and hurricanes.

    And so, Roger -- a true believer (as I see it) -- has been excommunicated from the church of AGW extremists. Okay, I have no evidence to indicate Roger ever actually belonged to that particular church. In the religious analogy, I see Roger as being more like a Methodist rather than a doomsday cultist. But, Roger has certainly been demonized by the AGW doomsday cult.

    It’s clear that what we have here is the latest example of religious intolerance from a doomsday cult whose Mecca is located in Berkeley.

  15. As an economist myself, I used to enjoy Brad de Long's writing. He is not the only economist who has professional objectivity in his own field of expertise fallen foul of his political urgings.

    It really is sad.

  16. I emailed DeLong again this morning, here is what I sent:


    I see that you have refused to post my comment on your blog. If you make strong accusations about a professional colleague it would seem appropriate to back that up. I await your reply which I'll prominently feature on my blog.

    All best from Boulder,

    Roger Pielke, Jr., Professor
    Environmental Studies
    University of Colorado"

  17. "Who knew that the denier club was so easy to get into."

    If instead of recommending books by avowed socialists like Mike Hulme, you would take you father's recommendations, you could have read, on Climate of Extremes page 7-8 "As Steven Hayward and Ken Green of the American Enterprise Institute have written, "Anyone who does not sign up 100 percent behind the catastrophic scenario is deemed a 'climate change denier'""

  18. May I just say that Roger Pielke is simply insane? I have not refused to post his comment on my weblog. My default is that everyone's comments are automatically published. (I do prune them later, if I think they are actively misleading. But I don't refuse to post.)

  19. Unbelievable -- "brad" on this thread is indeed Brad DeLong at Berkeley, confirmed now by email.

  20. -20-Roger,


    Come on Roger -- it's The People's Totalitarian Socialist Republic of BERKELEY!

    This is "normal" for them.

  21. It would be truly shocking if the brad here is Brad DeLong. I'm still not sure I believe it.

    Nonetheless, whether or not this brad is a sock puppet, the fact remains that the real Brad has failed justify his characterization or otherwise substantively address any of your body of work.

    It is difficult to take his own claims (that the Freakonomics boys failed to act with proper diligence) seriously, when he himself is so careless with words.

    BTW, I can confirm that his blog preemptively moderates comments, not after the fact as comment #19 suggests.

    I had thought that my expectations of intellectual honesty from the academic community were sufficiently low, that I could no longer be surprised by indiscretions. Apparently, I was wrong.

  22. Dr. Pielke,

    A) I just attempted to post a comment (found below) on Delong’s blog. It did not appear and there was no indication that it was awaiting moderation.

    That said, I found other blog entries from Delong where comments are present. So, either he moderates his comments (without any notice to that effect) or -- perhaps -- he has disabled comments on that particular blog entry. Who knows?

    By the way, Delong has just updated his blog entry. It might interest you.

    B) Below, find the comment which I attempted to post at Delong’s blog (with two minor typos corrected).

    DeLong describes:

    “the [purported] elementary misconception that CO2 hasn't historically driven temperature increases”

    1) As I document here, EVERY peer reviewed ice core study EVER published confirms that CO2 has historically elevated hundreds of years AFTER temperature elevates.

    Sure, there is a theoretical basis for regarding CO2 as an extremely minor secondary forcing factor. But, clearly, Milankovitch cycles are the primary driver behind glacial and interglacial cycles.

    Milankovitch cycles elevate temperatures and HUNDREDS of years later, elevated temperatures release CO2 from the southern oceans.

    Conversely, Milankovitch cycles decrease temperatures and THOUSANDS of years later, CO2 levels drop (as the CO2 is reabsorbed into the southern oceans).

    2) As I document here, it is only in the relatively recent past that we have seen ANY correlation between CO2 and temperature.

    3) If you believe that the science is on your side, you should have no problem refuting my brief overview which uses directly cited peer reviewed science to debunk your climate change hysteria.

    4) I harbor no illusions that you will publish this comment (or, as the case may be, allow it to stand). And so, I will cross post it at the blog of an honest broker - The Roger Pielke Jr. blog.

  23. -23-SBVOR

    Thanks for the pointer to DeLong's update:


    Is he intentionally playing dumb? I see that he still doesn't address the main point of my request to him. What a fellow.

  24. Roger,

    On climate change, DeLong is clearly the worst sort of propagandist.

    We now have three accounts -- you, me and Jason S -- confirming his failure (one way or another) to publish opposing evidence/opinion on his blog.

    We also see his overt endorsement of what I consider to be actionable slander against you.

    I have no idea how credible DeLong may or may not be within his own discipline of Economics. But, based upon what I have observed in this dust up, I have no interest in exploring anything else he has to say on any topic.

    I think it is safe to say that you and I probably disagree more than we agree. But, you are -- indeed -- an “Honest Broker” in the debate. And, for that (and more), you have my respect. DeLong never will.

  25. Well, I just tried posting a comment to no effect. I sent Brad a polite email suggesting he check his software.

  26. Brad DeLong is a former Clinton Admin Treasury Dept official who is a decent economist--he's co-authored papers with Larry Summers--who, unfortunately, is politically two years old.

    He used to have the best econ blog on the internet, because it allowed people of different persuasions to offer their opinions. DeLong even used to admit when one of his adversaries was right. Sych as this from 2002 regarding Paul Krugman's NY Times slander of Army Sec'y Thomas White:

    October 03, 2002

    Kudos to Patrick Sullivan

    In Army Secretary Tom White: Archive Entry From Brad DeLong’s Semi-Daily Journal, Patrick Sullivan wrote: “So Krugman is back on the Sec’y White trail. Up to this point virtually everything he’s said about the guy has turned out to be either wrong or grossly distorted. I’m betting that when the context of these e-mails comes out this will also be so. ”

    Looks like Patrick wins his bet…

    Posted by DeLong at October 03, 2002 09:48 PM | Trackback

    But, apparently one can only lose so many arguments. It wasn't long afterward that the new DeLong policy became, 'I delete anything that makes me look bad.' This episode is somewhat legendary in the econosphere.

  27. When you die and go see St. Peter, you hang your head as he judges you. Were you intent on uncovering the truth? Or on stroking your ego and boosting your pet theories? Were you an inquirer or a fraud? If you were after the truth, then you are allowed to go through the gates. If you were a fraud, then you are consigned for eternity to reading Brad DeLong articles.

  28. The headline seems misleading -- DeLong didn't call Pielke "wrong and dishonest" -- he published a comment from someone else doing so.