Papers on Use and Misuse of Climate Scenarios


Non-technical overview: Pielke, Jr. R. (2018). Opening up the climate policy envelope. Issues in Science and Technology34(4), 30-36.

Detailed history and critique: Pielke, Jr. R. and Ritchie, J., Systemic Misuse of Scenarios in Climate Research and Assessment (April 21, 2020). Available at SSRN:

Quantitative evaluation (GDP and CO2): Burgess, M. G., Ritchie, J., Shapland, J., & Pielke, R., Jr. (2020, February 18). IPCC baseline scenarios over-project CO2 emissions and economic growth.

Quantitative evaluation (energy intensity and carbon intensity, AR5): Stevenson, S., & Pielke Jr, R. (2018). Assumptions of Spontaneous Decarbonization in the IPCC AR5 Baseline Scenarios. (PDF)

Quantitative evaluation (energy intensity and carbon intensity, AR4): Pielke, R., Wigley, T., & Green, C. (2008). Dangerous assumptions. Nature, 452(7187), 531-532. (PDF)

Case study (tropical cyclones): Pielke Jr, R. A. (2007). Future economic damage from tropical cyclones: sensitivities to societal and climate changesPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences365(1860), 2717-2729.

Case study (disaster loss projections): Pielke Jr, R. (2007). Mistreatment of the economic impacts of extreme events in the Stern Review Report on the Economics of Climate Change. Global Environmental Change, 17(3-4), 302-310.

Case study (tropical cyclones): Pielke Jr, R. A., Klein, R., & Sarewitz, D. (2000). Turning the big knob: An evaluation of the use of energy policy to modulate future climate impactsEnergy & Environment11(3), 255-275.

More general discussion: Pielke Jr, R. A. (2003). The role of models in prediction for decision. Models in ecosystem science, 111-135. (PDF)

Covid-19 Resources for Research and Teaching: Models and Forecasts

MIDAS – Online Portal for COVID-19 Modeling Research (link)

U.K.  Scientific Pandemic Influenza Group on Modelling (SPI-M) Modelling
Summary (2018 report, link) (advisory subcommittee)

Public Health Agency of Canada, 2020. COVID-19 in Canada: Using data and modelling to inform public health action: Technical Briefing for Canadians, 9 April (PDF).

Begley, S. 2020. Influential Covid-19 model uses flawed methods and shouldn’t guide U.S. policies, critics say, Stat, 17 April.

Bender, M. and R. Ballhaus, 2020. Trump’s Coronavirus Focus Shifts to Reopening Economy, Defending His Response, The Washington Post, 17 April.

Wan, W. and C. Johnson, 2020. America’s most influential coronavirus model just revised its estimates downward. But not every model agrees. The Washington Post, 8 April.

Wan, W. 2020. Experts and Trump’s advisers doubt White House’s 240,000 coronavirus deaths estimate, The Washington Post, 2 April.

Koerth et al. 2020. Why It’s So Freaking Hard To Make A Good COVID-19 Model, FiveThirtyEight, 31 March.

Wan, W. and A. Blake, 2020. Coronavirus modelers factor in new public health risk: Accusations their work is a hoax, The Washington Post, 27 March.

IHME Covid-19 Projections (link) based on: IHME COVID-19 health service utilization forecasting team. Forecasting COVID-19 impact on hospital bed-days, ICU-days, ventilator days and deaths by US state in the next 4 months. MedRxiv. 26 March 2020.

Enserink, M. and K. Kupferschmidt, 2020. Mathematics of life and death: How disease models shape national shutdowns and other pandemic policies, Science, 25 March.

Rivers, C. et al. 2020. Modernizing and Expanding Outbreak Science to Support Better Decision Making During Public Health Crises: Lessons for COVID-19 and Beyond, Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, 24 March. (PDF).

Rivers, C., Chretien, J.P., Riley, S., Pavlin, J.A., Woodward, A., Brett-Major, D., Berry, I.M., Morton, L., Jarman, R.G., Biggerstaff, M. and Johansson, M.A., 2019. Using “outbreak science” to strengthen the use of models during epidemicsNature communications10(1), pp.1-3.

Chowell, G., Sattenspiel, L., Bansal, S., & Viboud, C. (2016). Mathematical models to characterize early epidemic growth: A reviewPhysics of life reviews18, 66-97.

Glasser, J. W., Hupert, N., McCauley, M. M., & Hatchett, R. (2011). Modeling and public health emergency responses: Lessons from SARSEpidemics3(1), 32-37.

Fealty Trumps Truth


The figure above shows published estimates of “R naught” (or R0) a measure of the contagiousness of coronavirus (from Liu et al. 2020, published 13 Feb). The figure shows that 13 different estimates of R0 were published during the month of January 2020, and these estimates ranged from ~2 to >6, indicating that coronavirus was highly contagious.

Thus, when Dr. Deborah Birx said today that “it wasn’t until the beginning of March that we could all fully see how contagious this virus was” she is either lying or revealing complete incompetence. Strong words, yes, but there is no other choice. Dr. Birx is a political appointee by Donald Trump and it appears that fealty trumps truth.

See the comments of Dr. Birx below.

Did the Trump Administration Delay the WHO Emergency Declaration?


Yesterday in the White House Rose Garden, President Trump announced that the U.S. government would be suspending payments to the World Health Organization. Among the president’s complaints was this: “The delays the WHO experienced in declaring a public health emergency caused valuable time, tremendous amounts of time.”

Here I take a look at this claim, and conclude that the United States government either contributed to the delay in the WHO emergency declaration or the US government outsourced its decision to the WHO to declare a domestic emergency declaration — which occurred only after the WHO eventually declared a global emergency.

Let’s look at the facts.

Continue reading “Did the Trump Administration Delay the WHO Emergency Declaration?”

Eight Weeks Behind: Clarifying the Early U.S. Coronavirus Testing Failure


Bottom line: It is normal for the US government to develop its own disease testing under CDC. Experts in CDC are typically very good at it. But in the case of coronavirus, the US government developed a flawed test, creating lengthy delays in testing and in parallel left obstacles in place that would have shortened the delay. Meanwhile, U.S. government officials have repeatedly misled the public and policy makers. In total, more than 8 weeks were lost due to policy failure. This post explains and documents this remarkable policy failure.

Continue reading “Eight Weeks Behind: Clarifying the Early U.S. Coronavirus Testing Failure”

Covid-19 Resources for Research and Teaching: Pielke Analysis and Commentary

Podcast: COVID Knowledge, Technology, and Politics: Dispatches from Around the World (20 April)

Pielke, Jr. R. 2020. Fealty Trumps Truth, 19 April.

Pielke, Jr., R. 2020. Did the Trump Administration Delay the WHO Emergency Declaration? 15 April.

Pielke, Jr. R. 2020. Eight Weeks Behind: Clarifying the Early U.S. Coronavirus Testing Failure, 13 April.

Pielke, Jr., R. 2020. Why Isn’t the White House Using the Nation’s Pandemic Experts? Slate, 10 April.

Covid-19 Resources for Research and Teaching


This set of resources related to Coronavirus and COVID-19 is focused on science advice and policy evaluation. It is intended to support my professional research and teaching, and if you find it useful, so much the better. It is the next iteration of an earlier syllabus, that became too unwieldy due to the amount of materials.

Updated 20 April 2020

Pielke Analysis and Commentary

Current COVID-19 Information

COVID-19 Scenarios and Dynamics

Models and Forecasts

Science Advice and Emergency Situations

COVID-19 Policy Options and Evaluation

United States Pandemic Policy and Planning

Unheeded Warnings

Pandemics, Society, Politics and Policy Dynamics

Pandemics, SARS-Cov-2 and Relevant Research

Tools and Training

Covid-19 Resources for Research and Teaching: COVID-19 Policy Options and Evaluation

DeYoung, K. et al. 2020. Americans at World Health Organization transmitted real-time information about coronavirus to Trump administration, The Washington Post, 19 April.

Weaver, C. and R. Balhaus. 2020. Coronavirus Testing Hampered by Disarray, Shortages, Backlogs, The Wall Street Journal, 19 April.

Calvert, J. et al. 2020. Coronavirus: 38 days when Britain sleepwalked into disaster, The Sunday Times, 19 April. (archive)  (British government response – link)

Willman, D. 2020. Contamination at CDC lab delayed rollout of coronavirus tests, The Washington Post, 18 April.

Borger, J. 2020. Caught in a superpower struggle: the inside story of the WHO’s response to coronavirus, The Guardian, 18 April.

Rivers, C. et al. 2020. Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors, The Johns Hopkins Center for Health Security, 17 April. (PDF)

Forster, P. and M. Pooler, 2020. Muddled thinking punctures plan for British ventilator, Financial Times, 17 April. (British government response – link)

Times of Israel, 2020. US alerted Israel, NATO to disease outbreak in China in November — TV report, Times of Israel, 16 April.

Kluth, A. 2020. Meticulous and Orderly, Germany Can Handle a Pandemic, Bloomberg Opinion, 15 April.

Lipton, E. et al. 2020. He Could Have Seen What Was Coming: Behind Trump’s Failure on the Virus, The New York Times, 11 April. (Note: A scientist in the Red Dawn email discussion cited here has an interesting story: link)

Greely, H. 2020. Covid-19 ‘immunity certificates’: practical and ethical conundrums, Stat, 10 April.

Sun, L. et al. 2020. A plan to defeat coronavirus finally emerges, but it’s not from the White House, The Washington Post, 10 April.

Khamsi, R. 2020. If a coronavirus vaccine arrives, can the world make enough? Nature, 9 April.

Le, T. et al. 2020. The COVID-19 vaccine development landscape, Nature Reviews Drug Discovery, 9 April.

Ortega, B. et al. 2020. How the government delayed coronavirus testing, CNN, 9 April.

Richardson, L. 2020. Universities Fill the Void Working Across Borders to Solve the Pandemic Where International Institutions Have Failed, Foreign Policy, 9 April.

Tony Blair Institute, 2020. Covid-19 Testing in the UK: Unpicking the Lockdown, 6 April (link)

Center for Economic Policy Research, 2020. Covid Economics: Vetted and Real-Time Papers (link)

Abele-Brehm, A. et al. 2020. Making the Fight against the Coronavirus Pandemic Sustainable, ifo Institute, April.

Elliot, J. et al. 2020. How New York City’s Emergency Ventilator Stockpile Ended Up on the Auction Block, ProPublica, 6 April.

Partensky, P. 2020. To Beat the Coronavirus, Raise an Army of the Recovered, Wired, 5 April.

Balz, D. 2020. America was unprepared for a major crisis. Again., The Washington Post, 4 April.

Abutaleb, Y. et al. 2020. The U.S. was beset by denial and dysfunction as the coronavirus raged, The Washington Post, 4 April.

Roberts, J. 2020. Five things you need to know about: mRNA vaccines, Horizon: The EU Research & Innovation Magazine, 1 April.

Wallach, P. and J. Myers, 2020. The federal government’s coronavirus response—Public health timeline, Brookings Institution, 31 March.

Peeples, L. 2020. News Feature: Avoiding pitfalls in the pursuit of a COVID-19 vaccine, PNAS, 30 March.

Gottlieb, S. et al. 2020. National coronavirus response: A road map to reopening, American Enterprise Institute, 29 March.

Kissler, S. et al. 2020. Social distancing strategies for curbing the COVID-19 epidemic medRxiv 2020.03.22.20041079; doi:

Greenstone, Michael and Nigam, Vishan, Does Social Distancing Matter? (March 25, 2020). University of Chicago, Becker Friedman Institute for Economics Working Paper No. 2020-26.

Kissler, S. et al. 2020. Projecting the transmission dynamics of SARS-CoV-2 through the post-pandemic period, medRxiv, 6 March.

Prem, K. et al. 2020. The effect of control strategies to reduce social mixing on outcomes of the COVID-19 epidemic in Wuhan, China: a modelling studyThe Lancet

Oxford COVID-19 Government Response Tracker (link)

Group of Concerned Economists, 2020. The COVID-19 crisis calls for pre-emptive monitoring of production and distribution chainsVoxEU, 24 March.

Horowitz, J. 2020. In Italy, Going Back to Work May Depend on Having the Right Antibodies, New York Times, 4 April.

Van Bavel et al. 2020. Using social and behavioural science to support COVID-19 pandemic response, PsyArXiv, 24 March.

Emanuel, E. et al. 2020. Fair Allocation of Scarce Medical Resources in the Time of Covid-19New England Journal of Medicine, 23 March.

Milanovic, B. 2020. The Real Pandemic Danger Is Social Collapse As the Global Economy Comes Apart, Societies May, TooForeign Affairs, 19 March.

Kraemer, M. et al. 2020. The effect of human mobility and control measures on the COVID-19 epidemic in ChinaScience, DOI: 10.1126/science.abb4218

M. Chinazzi et al., The effect of travel restrictions on the spread of the 2019
novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreakScience 10.1126/science.aba9757 (2020).

Riou, J., & Althaus, C. L. (2020). Pattern of early human-to-human transmission of Wuhan 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV), December 2019 to January 2020Eurosurveillance, 25(4).

Rosenbaum, L. 2020. Facing Covid-19 in Italy — Ethics, Logistics, and Therapeutics on the Epidemic’s Front LineNew England Journal of Medicine, 18 March.