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Posts Tagged Gleick

(Not So Simple) Twist Of Fate Gareth Renowden Feb 21

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Something I didn’t expect: Peter Gleick, the director of the Pacific Institute, a vocal opponent of climate denial and a highly respected scientist, turns out to have been behind the leak of the Heartland Institute board meeting documents that have been creating waves for the last week. Gleick made the admission in an article at Huffington Post earlier today (NZ). He reports that he 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.

In order to attempt to verify that document’s contents, he:

…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.

Gleick goes on to apologise for what he calls “a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics”.

As you might expect, the usual suspects are all over Gleick’s admission like a rash, but it’s important to retain some perspective here. The people so ready to decry Gleick’s actions were notably silent about the theft and release of private emails from the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia. The Heartland Institute was central to promoting discussion of those emails, and continues to paint their contents as a scandal. Their hypocrisy, and that of Watts, McIntyre and the rest of the Heartland fellow travellers, is breathtaking.

Nevertheless, Gleick should not have done what he did. However valuable the public service he performed in exposing the reality of Heartland’s climate lobbying and the roots of its funding — and that information is hugely important to any “rational discussion” of why, more than 20 years after the problem was first identified, the USA and the world remains unable to take meaningful action on emissions reductions — the means he chose were not those we would expect from a respected senior scientist.

However this plays out in the longer term, it’s clear that Peter Gleick played the role of whistleblower, bringing the attention of the world to the nefarious activities of a well-funded right wing lobby group with mysterious “anonymous donors” and zero accountability for their actions. It’s a job that any worthwhile investigative journalist would have loved to have done — and which should have been done long ago.

Together with the sterling efforts of John Mashey, the leaked documents confirm in detail what many had suspected. Heartland have made a career out of subverting the truth, the law, and the democratic process.

Gleick might pay a heavy price for his indiscretion, however laudable his goals. Heartland, its funders and the pet “scientists” on their payroll must be made to pay the higher price. Their actions have condemned future generations to far worse than any lapse of judgement or ethics. The real price of Heartland’s policies will be paid in human suffering, and for that there will be no forgiveness.

See also; The Guardian, George Monbiot on why We need to know who funds these tinktank lobbyists, Union of Concerned Scientists report on How Corporations Corrupt Science at the Public’s Expense, Josh Rosenau on parallels between Heartland’s climate “education” tactics and that of creationists, plus Peter Sinclair on Heartland’s abject pleading for tobacco money as recently as 1999 — and let’s not forget they arer still getting it today, and are happy to have a “smoker’s lounge” on their web site.

[Amongst many, I like KT Tunstall, Jeff Tweedy and Bryan Ferry, but there's also a worthy Diana Krall, and of course His Bobness when he could remember how to sing.]

Prat Watch #2: the 2011 Climate BS Awards Gareth Renowden Jan 06

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The 2011 Climate BS Awards (where BS stands for Bad Science) have just been announced by Peter Gleick and the Pacific Institute [Huff Post, Forbes]. Nominated and voted for by a crack team of climate scientists and communicators, the awards go to “particularly egregious, notorious, or well-publicized examples of bad climate science that were produced over the past 12 months and used to try to influence or confuse the public and policymakers”. Runaway winners? The Republican candidates for President of the USA. Here’s the award citation in full:

Being anti-science in general, and anti-climate science in particular, seems a requirement for nomination to lead the Republican Party. Not a single one of the Republican candidates for President has a position on climate change that is consistent with the actual science accepted by 97-98% of all climate scientists and every national academy of sciences on the planet. The choice among the current Republican candidates on the issue of climate change is scientific ignorance, distain for science, blatant misrepresentation of facts, or naked political expediency, any one of which would make the individual candidates strong contenders for the 2011 Climate B.S. Award. Combined? The group wins the 2011 Award hands down. [my emphasis]

Worthy winners, and deeply depressing for the future of the planet. Here’s the rest of the award pantheon:

  • #2: Disinformation from Fox News and Murdoch’s News Corporation
  • #3: Spencer, Braswell, and Christy
  • #4: The Koch Brothers for funding the promotion of bad climate science
  • #5: Anthony Watts for his BEST hypocrisy

Read the full awards citations (including “honourable mentions”) at Peter Gleick’s blogs or at the Pacific Institute. Readers might care to nominate worthy Australian and New Zealand contenders for a southern hemisphere award. There are plenty of prime contenders…

The Climate Show #4: Peter Gleick, the AGU, and climate sensitivity Gareth Renowden Dec 20

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Our last show for 2010, and it’s over an hour of podcast/video goodness: featuring Peter H Gleick of the Pacific Institute discussing the news from the Fall AGU conference in San Francisco last week, John Cook discussing how we work out how sensitive the climate system is to the addition of heat, plus a roundup on Cancun, how French vignerons are looking to old vines to help them adapt to a warming climate, and London’s black cabs set to go electric.

Watch The Climate Show on our Youtube channel, subscribe to the podcast via iTunes, or listen direct/download here:

The Climate Show

Follow The Climate Show on Facebook and Twitter, and (sometime soon) at The Climate Show web site.

Show notes below the fold.

Still cold in Europe: Jeff Masters on WACCy weather.

Animated global temperature history from NASA’s GISS.

2010: a record warm year? (See also NASA surface temp anomaly pic).

Cancun roundup: Guardian, Telegraph, Guardian on gap between emissions ambition and reality.

Special guest: Peter H Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, joins us from the American Geophysical Union’s Fall meeting in San Francisco. Read his excellent recent Huffington Post article here.

Lonnie Thompson’s recent paper discussed at Hot Topic here.

How rejecting market-based solutions like and cap & trade might force an increase in big government: Cockatoo Chronicles.

Debunking the skeptic with John Cook from Skeptical Science: Climate Sensitivity

Andrew Dessler’s paper on cloud feedback

Other evidence for positive feedback and high climate sensitivity:

The Scientific Guide to Global Warming Skepticism.

Solutions: Forgotten vines help wine makers fight climate change

Electric taxis for London’s cabbies. And improved batteries for a big bus.

[Gareth apologises for the intrusive phone noises!]

Thanks to our media partners: Celsias.co.nz and KiwiFM.

Theme music: A Drop In The Ocean by The Bads.