Why Did Nate Silver Hire Climate Change Skeptic To Cover Environment?

Roger Pielke Jr. Earns Howls of Protests on New Blog

Warming to Task: Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight blog aims to use data to address thorny public issues. Is hiring a skeptic of climate change to cover the environment sending the right message?
Warming to Task: Nate Silver’s new FiveThirtyEight blog aims to use data to address thorny public issues. Is hiring a skeptic of climate change to cover the environment sending the right message?

By J.J. Goldberg

Published March 27, 2014, issue of April 04, 2014.
  • Print
  • Share Share
  • Single Page

(page 2 of 3)

Ice melt in Greenland, by contrast, adds new water to the oceans. That raises sea levels, threatening shorelines. The new study indicates that the northeastern Greenland glacier lost stability around 2003 and has been losing some 10 million tons of ice per year since then.

Sea levels worldwide have risen about eight inches since 1900. The rate of rise began accelerating some 20 years ago, due partly to warmer water expanding and partly to melting ice. Greenland melt is believed to account for about one-sixth of the recent rise.

It was that elevated ocean surface that allowed the storm surge of Hurricane Sandy in 2012 to sweep across whole towns and pour into subway stations and electrical transformers built to withstand earlier, lower sea levels. Eight inches caused havoc.

Current projections suggest a rise of between three and six feet by 2100. What will that mean for human habitat?

As it happens, that very topic — the impact of climate change on human society — is the focus of a major report due out March 31 from the United Nation’s 195-nation Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Six years in the making, it incorporates the findings of hundreds of peer-reviewed studies by thousands of scientists in dozens of countries. It’s actually Part 2 of a three-part report that began last fall with the physical science of global warming and ends this summer with prospects for mitigating or combating the threat.

Leaked drafts of the impact report indicate that if carbon emissions continue at their current pace, rising seas will force hundreds of millions of people from homes in coastal regions around the world in coming decades.

Drought will become an ongoing crisis in some regions, as will flooding in others. Basic food crop yields will decline by an average 2% per decade, even as populations rise. The combination of food and water shortages and habitat loss will lead to hunger, mass migration and violent unrest.

One of the important points to emerge in last fall’s physical science report was that a certain amount of change and disruption is already baked into the system, even if carbon emissions were somehow reduced to zero tomorrow. The carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere over the past 150 years of industrialization will remain for centuries and drive planetary temperatures steadily upward. The critical question is whether continued emissions drive up the pace of warming past the point where the planet is no longer habitable.

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Find us on Facebook!
  • "My dear Penelope, when you accuse Israel of committing 'genocide,' do you actually know what you are talking about?"
  • What's for #Shabbat dinner? Try Molly Yeh's coconut quinoa with dates and nuts. Recipe here:
  • Can animals suffer from PTSD?
  • Is anti-Zionism the new anti-Semitism?
  • "I thought I was the only Jew on a Harley Davidson, but I was wrong." — Gil Paul, member of the Hillel's Angels. http://jd.fo/g4cjH
  • “This is a dangerous region, even for people who don’t live there and say, merely express the mildest of concern about the humanitarian tragedy of civilians who have nothing to do with the warring factions, only to catch a rash of *** (bleeped) from everyone who went to your bar mitzvah! Statute of limitations! Look, a $50 savings bond does not buy you a lifetime of criticism.”
  • That sound you hear? That's your childhood going up in smoke.
  • "My husband has been offered a terrific new job in a decent-sized Midwestern city. This is mostly great, except for the fact that we will have to leave our beloved NYC, where one can feel Jewish without trying very hard. He is half-Jewish and was raised with a fair amount of Judaism and respect for our tradition though ultimately he doesn’t feel Jewish in that Larry David sort of way like I do. So, he thinks I am nuts for hesitating to move to this new essentially Jew-less city. Oh, did I mention I am pregnant? Seesaw, this concern of mine is real, right? There is something to being surrounded by Jews, no? What should we do?"
  • "Orwell described the cliches of politics as 'packets of aspirin ready at the elbow.' Israel's 'right to defense' is a harder narcotic."
  • From Gene Simmons to Pink — Meet the Jews who rock:
  • The images, which have since been deleted, were captioned: “Israel is the last frontier of the free world."
  • As J Street backs Israel's operation in Gaza, does it risk losing grassroots support?
  • What Thomas Aquinas might say about #Hamas' tunnels:
  • The Jewish bachelorette has spoken.
  • "When it comes to Brenda Turtle, I ask you: What do you expect of a woman repressed all her life who suddenly finds herself free to explore? We can sit and pass judgment, especially when many of us just simply “got over” own sexual repression. But we are obliged to at least acknowledge that this problem is very, very real, and that complete gender segregation breeds sexual repression and unhealthy attitudes toward female sexuality."
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?

We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.