Understanding Climate Risk

Science, policy and decision-making

Gleick admits to deception and leaking Heartland documents

with one comment

In mid February several documents detailing the Heartland Institute‘s funding sources, plans for teaching school students pseudo-climate science and other campaigns were leaked to journalists. Of the documents leaked, one was claimed to be fake and the others confidential. Details of the documents can be found on Desmogblog and are discussed (minus the possibly faked document) on Deep Climate.

Now, climate scientist, Peter H Gleick of the Pacific Institute has provided a statement posted at Huffington Post, admitting to being the source of the documents, of obtaining all but one by deception:

At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy. It contained information about their funders and the Institute’s apparent efforts to muddy public understanding about climate science and policy. I do not know the source of that original document but assumed it was sent to me because of my past exchanges with Heartland and because I was named in it.

Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. The materials the Heartland Institute sent to me confirmed many of the facts in the original document, including especially their 2012 fundraising strategy and budget. I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues. I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.

Gleick has apologised, saying:

My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.

As reported by Teh Grauniad, this is likely to turn the climate wars up a notch. Amongst the funding details were what are claimed to be ex gratia payments of US$1,667 per month to Australia and New Zealand’s own Bob Carter. Actually the payments are for the production of the NIPCC (not the IPCC) report detailing the non-science of climate change. The budget over three years is US$1,593,000. This is an effort to develop a “scientifically credible” alternative to the IPCC reports. Fat chance. Carter’s efforts in using statistics to try and prove climate change is not happening would fail a first year climatology exam.

Update: Crikey’s Amber Jamieson is Heartland leaker a hero or villain? A good summary of different views and some of the fallout.

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Written by Roger Jones

February 22, 2012 at 12:36 am

One Response

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  1. Peter H. Gleick has confessed to deceiving the Heartland Institute to gain some of their documents:

    “Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name. ”

    I had just asked a question a few days ago where I mention blogger Steve Mosher had suspected Gleick of being the author of the fake Heartland Document. Gleick doesn’t mention this anywhere in his confession but overall to this point, it can’t look good.

    Is this another “move along, nothing to see here” moment?

    (Note: For those who don’t know, Gleick is a climate scientist.)

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    February 22, 2012 at 9:52 am


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