Peter Gleick Admits to Stealing Heartland Documents

I have an updated article at Forbes.  A small excerpt

In a written statementPeter Gleick of the Pacific Institute, and vocal advocate of catastrophic man-made global warming theory, has admitted to obtaining certain Heartland Institute internal documents under false premises, and then forwarding these documents to bloggers who were eager to publish them.

Gleick (also a writer on these pages at Forbes) frequently styles himself a defender of scientific integrity (for example), generally equating any criticism of his work or scientific positions with lack of integrity (the logic being that since certain scientists like himself have declared the science to be settled beyond question, laymen or even other scientists who dispute them must be ethically-challenged).

In equating disagreement with lack of integrity, he offers a prime example of what is broken in the climate debate, with folks on both sides working from an assumption that their opponents have deeply flawed, even evil motives.  Gleick frequently led the charge to shift the debate away from science, which he claimed was settled and unassailable, to the funding and motives of his critics.  Note that with this action, Gleick has essentially said that the way to get a more rational debate on climate, which he often says is his number one goal, was not to simplify or better present the scientific arguments but to steal and publish details on a think tank’s donors….

Hit the link to read it all.

  • netdr

    In equating disagreement with lack of integrity, he offers a prime example of what is broken in the climate debate, with folks on both sides working from an assumption that their opponents have deeply flawed, even evil motives.

    To me attacking other people’s motives just means that you can not attack their data or conclusions.

    It is an admission of failure. The alarmists knee jerk response to any careful rebuttal of their position is to call the person doing it a tool of big oil.

    Skeptics are also guilty in that they point out that the professional alarmists wouldn’t get paid if warming were natural.

  • TomT

    An interesting aspect is what he very carefully dances around and avoids saying in his confession. Note once does he state that he didn’t write the fake memo. He does spin a tale about receiving a document in early January and based on that feeling he just had to rush out and confirm it driven so far by that nameless document as to steal the evidence he needed.

    Funny thing is he never states that that nameless document was the strategy document. Though he leaves you with that impression. He also never states that the only thing he emailed on was the Heartland documents. He does state that he didn’t alter the Heartland documents. But nowhere in that confession does he address the claims that he faked the strategy memo.

    I find that interesting because the confession was clearly written by a lawyer to protect him as much as it could and if he was not the author of the strategy memo the confession would have made that absolutely clear.

  • pauld


    I agree that he dances around the interesting questions.

    From the state of the evidence it is clear that the strategy memo is a fake. If one has any lingering questions about this one should read Megan McCardles posts at the Atlantic Monthly to remove any reasonable doubts. One compelling bit of evidence is that the memo assumes that contributions made by the Kochs brothers were for climate related efforts. In fact, their donations were for medical issues advocacy as confirmed by Heartland and the Koch brothers. Such a mistake is not one that would be made in a memo to the board. There is additional evidence that McCardle marshalls if more is needed.

    A second significant bit of evidence is that even prior to confession, many people suspected that Gleick was the source of the fake document based on match between his writing style and the memo, his excessive use of commas that is evident in the memo and his other writings and the somewhat unusual focus on his writings at Forbes. The evidence is not conclusive, but it is very suggestive.

    Third, the evidence strongly suggests that whoever generated the fake memo had possession of the other documents when he created the fake strategy memo. The fake memo references many relatively innocent facts that are contained in the supporting documents,but puts a negative spin on them, which would be highly unusual for Heartland to do. Obviously, someone from Heartland would want to convey uncontested facts in a positive manner for a letter to the Board. They would not spin facts in the manner one would expect of Heartland’s opponents.

    This third fact makes Gleiks story highly suspicious–that he received the strategy memo from someone else and then sought confirming evidence. Again, this is suggestive, not conclusive evidence.

    I suspect that in the next several weeks Gliek’s story will either unravel or he will be confirmed as the originator of the fake document. The next several weeks should prove to be interesting.