10 August 2009

A Public Debate with Joe Romm?

Richard Brenne, who I met a few times when he was in Boulder where he organized a number of fora to discuss climate and environmental issues, has offered to moderate a debate between Joe Romm and me on the topic of climate policy. Given Romm's continuing obsession with me and my views, I think that this is a fine idea, and have told Brenne as much. Romm has responded to Brenne saying that he doesn't "see any upside for me, CP [Climate Progress, his blog], or future generations in debating Pielke."

It is easier for Joe to "debate" me by slinging insults on his blog multiple times a week and then not allowing me to respond. A moderated debate would cut to substance pretty quickly, which I much prefer over Joe's recent efforts. Joe doesn't want to travel, so let me say that I'd be more than happy to do a moderated debate online or I am happy to travel to Joe, so that should not be an issue. Here is Richard's email to Joe asking him to consider a debate, offering very generous terms:
Joe -

Thanks for your typically eloquent reply about my suggesting a debate between you and Roger Pielke, Jr, who is a obviously a big fan of ClimateProgress because he immediately e-mailed me saying he’d gladly accept an invitation to have a public discussion that I would moderate.

While I might disagree with Roger in certain key areas, I know him personally and have always found him to be reasonable and civil in discussions. I can’t see him trying to shout you down, interrupting or using other inappropriate and unintelligent tactics.

We could host the event in Boulder and I know many NOAA, NCAR, CIRES, INSTAAR, NSIDC and NREL directors and senior scientists who would attend and support your positions. In fact my hope is that you and the process could recruit more of them to become uncharacteristically blunt scientists, something I’ve been working on helping them become for many years.

Although my career has completely shifted to helping communicate climate change and related issues, I’ve been a working, produced and award-winning screenwriter and I know what audiences like, and one of those things is (appropriate) conflict, not the agreement which unfortunately often puts audiences to sleep. I’m sure you’ve noticed how your postings involving conflicts with Roger can get hundreds of comments.

We could webcast on your website, create links for your audience, and help you get your word out however you’d like.

Of course I’d need to give Roger the same opportunities to make his points. While I’m still trying to understand your areas of conflict, in many other areas of discussion I’ve seen Roger think more creatively, completely and with more full-cost accounting than I usually see.

And as the physical science becomes better established, I think we need to hear increasingly from social scientists (Pielke, Jr. is a social scientist, his father is a physical climate scientist) also.

I think the results would be high-energy, insightful, illuminating, entertaining, and yes, funny. I’d insist the conversation be as engaging as possible without any of us resorting to name-calling, figure-pointing, personal insults or profanity.

Any number of world-class discussants could be involved in break-out sessions and we could have a truly world-class event that moves the conversation forward, as you’ve done so eloquently in your response and postings.

In addition to a Boulder event, we’d be happy to also consider D.C., New York, L.A. (where I’m planning events at Cal Tech and UCLA), etc.

I think if you did this once you’d like it – and grow your already considerable audience, which is something I’d like to see happen also.

Thanks Joe,

Richard Brenne
So yes, lets have a debate, which can only add value to the public conversation on climate change and policies now being considered. If instead of a moderated public debate, Joe wants to hide behind his heavily censored blog and lob insults, that should tell us something also.