GleickGate

A brief recap: The Heartland Institute is a libertarian think tank that favors free-market approaches (including free-market environmentalism). They take the position that the science of catastrophic global warming is not “settled” — and debate about it should not be quashed. Amusingly, they had just invited catastrophist Peter Gleick to come and debate the issue. They treated the last catastrophist who took up their invitation quite cordially, I understand.

Gleick hates them; he’s made that abundantly clear. Last week, a bunch of internal private documents purportedly from the Heartland Institute were published on certain catastrophist blogs. Most of them were boring details describing the relatively small amount of money that HI uses for their purposes compared to catastrophist organizations. Nothing illegal nor immoral, nor was this privately funded organization subject to Freedom of Information Act inquiries.

One document, the “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” contained provocative words and phrases to “sex up” this story. Of course, that’s the one that gets quoted. This document was denounced as a fake rather quickly, and it was speculated (based on style, phrasing, and the build up of Peter Gleick it contains) that it was written by Peter Gleick himself (see Mosher in the comments). This would be rather ironic, as Gleick has preached endlessly about ethics, and had recently been named as head of the American Geophysical Union ethics board, the Task Force on Scientific Ethics and Integrity.[1]

Hours after the documents hit the Internet, various writers quickly established that the documents were obtained by apparent fraud: Someone posing as a board member of Heartland got a staffer to forward documents (not including this “Strategy” memo). But the memo itself had an unknown provenance.

Well, last night Peter Gleick confessed, sort of. He was the one who (based on his own statements) pulled an identity theft wire fraud on Heartland to get the documents. He claims that the Strategy memo had already been sent to him, and he was compelled to pull this stunt just to confirm what it said. His announcement is analyzed on this ClimateAudit post and elsewhere.

Reasonable people on the catastrophist side are appalled at his behavior, and don’t believe his story about the memo being “mailed” to him “anonymously.” And unreasonable people and media on the catastrophist side are hailing him as a hero.

The Heartland documents from last week certainly made one thing evident: the extent that Peter Gleick (and his Soros-funded group and friends) would go to attack his adversaries. Well, and another thing: How little, sadly, things like truth and ethics matter to many of the catastrophic global warming faith. In one rather bizarre twist, today the LA Times has put out an article in which they take the position of Adolf Hitler and quote him to criticize skeptics. That’s got to be new.

[1] (That AGU board business has been interesting all by itself. His name disappeared today from the website (commented out in the HTML code), and later it was announced that he had actually resigned last week. And (just as Gleick did in his “confession,” the AGU took the occasion of noting Gleick’s problem to take a cheap shot at their adversaries. I’m unimpressed by their ethics — but since Gleick was a major player there, I shouldn’t be surprised. The head of the group that wrote “that trust is earned by maintaining the highest standards of scientific integrity in all that we do.” is the guy that pulled this fraud.)

I made one comment on the confession:

It’s intriguing, what Gleick’s note would show:
That he got this, and opted to go
For identity fraud
That seems rather odd
To “confirm” what the doc seemed to show

Now this “they made me do it” distress
Which has led Gleick to partly confess
(Though it may be a punt)
Is because of the stunt
He then pulled having been a success

And presumably, only PG
Had received it anonymously
Whereas he thought it keen
To send to sixteen
With perhaps some self-satisfied glee

So what are the chances that one
Sent to Gleick this so-called “smoking gun”
And then waited for weeks
For results that he seeks
Sending just one piece out, and was done?

We might have seen more confession soon, but Gleick’s retaining of a top campaign-smear attorney (who’s known for this sort of thing) likely heads that off.

===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle