the Air Vent

Because the world needs another opinion

Peter Gleick – Confessions of an Activist

Posted by Jeff Id on February 20, 2012

Lucia’s thread is particularly interesting on the matter.


UPDATE, WUWT — Heartland replies to Gleick and calls him out.

Gleicks story that he received the primary note first and then was able to get into Heartland’s highest levels to receive more is a little bit incredible.  Kind of like the Guardian supporting his insane actions:

A leading defender of climate change admitted tricking the libertarian Heartland Institute into turning over confidential documents detailing its plans to discredit the teaching of science to school children in last week’s sensational expose.

Truly unbelievable.  Climategate – not real – Gleick – hero!  While other opinions are given in the Guardian article, the vast majority of opinions come from left-wing groups and activists. Does anyone wonder why circulation is down?  The Heartland institute seems to have a little more information than Gleick is comfortable with or I doubt they would make a statement this strong. ( My bold):

Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source. This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.

We hope Gleick will make a more complete confession in the next few days.

Ouch!!  It looks like there is more to come.


During the followup to the Heartland institute document release, some bloggers had deduced that government funded activist Peter Gleick had a hand in the mess.  His 501C is powered by government taxpayer cash, which is fine, except that he is an activist which uses the money to fund political messages in complete violation of IRS code.  Today at Dot Earth, Gleick shed his pseudo-science cloak.

Andy Revkin, fellow activist, has posted Gleick’s admission of his malfeasance.

The Origin of the Heartland Documents

Peter Gleick

Since the release in mid-February of a series of documents related to the internal strategy of the Heartland Institute to cast doubt on climate science, there has been extensive speculation about the origin of the documents and intense discussion about what they reveal. Given the need for reliance on facts in the public climate debate, I am issuing the following statement.

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.

I will not comment on the substance or implications of the materials; others have and are doing so. I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed. 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.

Now a bigger activist than Gleick is hard to come by, Tamino is in his category but only just.

I am completely baffled as to why these people receive credibility while reasonable scientists don’t.   This guy is so far over the top that nothing he writes, thinks, expresses or publishes should be taken without serious context placement.  Yet he is a ‘premier’ voice in environmental science.

So, the leftist version of climategate has spun into the ground with all the grace of an acrobatic aerial penguin team.  I’m sure that the media will issue few if any retractions as new stories based on the faked heartland document have continued to surface. We know which side owns the airwaves.

Steve McIntyre has an excellent and detailed breakdown of the Heartland documents which like Climategate, again exposes the false arguments of the politically motivated press.  If you want your climate news with honesty, blogging has become the premier source. – By default.

39 Responses to “Peter Gleick – Confessions of an Activist”

  1. M. Simon said


    CPI used 2 key scientific exhibits in its Motion to Intervene: A 321-page “Climate Depot Special Report” compiled by Marc Morano and The Heartland Institute’s “Nature, Not Human Activity, Rules the Climate” edited by S. Fred Singer.

    Maybe that explains the recent “attack” on Heartland.

    Cross posted from the comments at:

  2. Check this out:

    Actually, Peter’s memo has a serious logic flaw.

    “I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy”

    “an” — A single document released.

    “I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name.”

    Multiple documents released.

    Yet what are the dates?

    Feb 13 for the single fake document originally hypothesized to be Gleickian.
    Jan 16 for the rest

    You have the right to remain silent.

    Anything you say can and will be used ……

    Innocent until proven guilty, but I sure would like to see this guy’s harddrive.

  3. stan said

    Gleick is like Mikey Mann. Anyone reading their lunatic ravings can see that they’ve gone off the deep end. What is more interesting I think is why the Andy Revkin types and all the rest continue to put their trust in obvious nutballs. Especially after their support for the hockey team blew up in their faces several times already.

    Steve Mc nails them for their weak excuses in trying to go with the ‘fake but accurate’ meme. In the end, it will be all the willing cheerleaders whose credibility suffers the longest. Revkin has been bleeding credibility for years. He’s about out at this point. And he’s in better shape than a bunch of the others!

    What wine(whine) best complements a heaping serving of roasted credibility? [With a special side of mountain oysters perhaps.]

  4. Roger Caiazza said

    I would argue with your description “all the grace of an acrobatic aerial penguin team”. I think it is more like Les Nesman’s turkey drop.

  5. rum said

    didnt andy swear not to be fooled again after the release of the emails? (which i recall so clearly the night i was reading tav when they were released and the discussion was if they could possibly be real. what a night!)

  6. Drewski said

    Michael Mann is very lucid and very compelling to all those who are able to understand science — like the National Academy of Sciences for example. Mann’s latest book BTW is excellent — about as far from extreme as Anthony Watts is from a college degree.

  7. D J Cotton said

    Gleick can’t help but put in his bit about AGW. The AGW conjecture is basd on the concept of “backradiation” from the atmosphere somehow increasing the rate of warming of the surface in the morning and decreasing the rate of cooling in the evening. Each would require the addition of thermal energy which would be the equivalent of a heat transfer from cold to hot.

    Does the energy in radiation from a cooler layer of the atmosphere get converted to thermal energy when it strikes a warmer point on the surface which is already being warmed by the Sun at, say, 11am somewhere?

    If it does, then this means there is a heat transfer from that cooler layer to that warmer point on the surface at that time, thus violating the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

    If it doesn’t (as I say) then the Second Law is not violated and there is absolutely no radiative Greenhouse effect because there is no way in which such radiation can affect the temperature of the surface unless it is converted to thermal energy.

    This really is fairly elementary physics well covered in upper levels of undergraduate courses throughout the world.


  8. Drewski,

    I would love to discuss the finer points of Mannian mathmagic sometime, but Gleick has just crashed the Hindenburg.

  9. GregO said

    Image what he did – he picked the phone up and committed a base, vulgar, fraud. He flat out lied to Heartland and admitted as much. Pathetic doesn’t even come close to describing his actions. I don’t know the law that well, but I think he should be contacting an attorney.

  10. Andrew Russell said

    Re: Roger Caiazza (11:24 pm)

    Dang, you beat me to the better reference!

    But I can still see the heads of NAS, AGU, and all the other promoters of CAGW sounding like The Big Guy: “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly”/

  11. How sad it is that government funds were used for deception.

    This will probably end plans by the UN’s IPCC, the UK’s RS, the US NAS and all of the research agencies they control (NASA, DOE, etc) to ride out the Climategate storm!

    However this breaking news may mark the beginning of the restoration of integrity to government science, the return of civil rights under constitutional government, and the restoration of public control over political leaders.

    Thank you, thank you, thank you to all of those who helped produce this breaking news!

    With kind regards,
    Oliver K. Manuel
    Former NASA Principal
    Investigator for Apollo

  12. Greg F said

    I am completely baffled as to why these people receive credibility while reasonable scientists don’t. This guy is so far over the top that nothing he writes, thinks, expresses or publishes should be taken without serious context placement. Yet he is a ‘premier’ voice in environmental science.

    I have thought the same about Paul Ehrlich for years. You are looking for a rational reason where none exists.

  13. Bob said

    ” If you want your climate news with honesty, blogging has become the premier source.”

    Jeff, don’t underestimate the power of several thousand bloggers. All of you guys have audiences, members of which turn around and propagate your posts in some form. Blogs may well be the most important publishing innovation since the Gutenberg press.

  14. Drewski said

    “Jeff, don’t underestimate the power of several thousand bloggers. All of you guys have audiences, members of which turn around and propagate your posts in some form. Blogs may well be the most important publishing innovation since the Gutenberg press.”

    Will they stop temperatures from rising and ice from melting or will this horde produce a single paper to explain why both occurred during the longest and lowest solar minimum in the historical record?

  15. PaddikJ said

    Drewski said (twice!)

    You’re joking, right?

  16. TerryS said

    Drewski is the troll who has been assigned the task of diverting this thread away from Gleick. If (s)he wishes to talk about ice loss, temperature changes, solar minimums or Mannian mathematics then there are plenty of threads on other articles that (s)he can post to.

    To get back on topic.
    If the “document in the mail” is the faked memo then it went through the US Postal System, was handled (probably quite a lot) by Gleick for several weeks and was finally scanned in on 13th Feb. For a document that supposedly went through so much it doesn’t appear to have a single fold, bend or smudge on it. In fact, it looks almost as if it was printed out immediately before being scanned…

  17. steveta_uk said

    Bob Ward has his spiel in today’s Guardian about the “leak”.

    The artcile header says this:

    The documents show how groups play up controversy to undermine confidence in well-established scientific findings

    So leading with something from the “fake” document – have they no shame?

  18. Chris said

    Apologies if this rambles, I’m catching up.

    I’m still confused a little by PG’s “confession” – “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.” So is this the one he “scanned”, or is the scanned document made up of parts of that document, or has he re-written bits of it and scanned it to mask who wrote it (badly as it seems his style was recognised). Is he denying (eh ?) writing any of it – it seems so.

    If he still has the original document then that would be evidence of a crime and surely US Plod (aka Police) would be interested in taking a close look at it, assuming HI have reported a crime ? Which leads onto a seperate thread going on in my head – before it was “social engineering” now there is someone leaking documents, aka a Whistleblower.

    Except as I understand it Whistleblower defences tend to rest on whether the material leaked is evidence of wrongdoing or illegality which this case isn’t at all – Climategate did provide that evidence, avoidance of FOI which the ICO would have taken action on if the time limit hadn’t come into play.

    Just wondering. I expect after a lot of bluff and bluster on both sides this will die down – another thing generating more heat than light.

  19. Why didn’t Gleick ask the trusting contact at HI for a copy of the spicy fake document, since it was the only one he admitted being privy to before committing the crime? He stated it as the primary goal, the reason for committing identity fraud, to confirm this one document.
    So why didn’t he ask for it?

    Nice catch Simon @ #1.

  20. Gary said

    Time to spin up a half dozen or so “independent” “investigations” of Gleick’s action and declare him “innocent” of any “wrong doing.” Just to certify them as permissible, y’know.

  21. David Jay said

    The AGU has scrubbed Gleick’s name and position from their website this morning, sometime before 10:15 Eastern.

    He was Chairman of their “Task Force on Scientific Ethics”

  22. JimB said

    Gleick is in the toils of the law, now. His files will be discoverable, his deposition under oath beckons, and the legal costs ($$$) will continue to mount.

    As a long-retired lawyer, I see this as one more example that honesty IS the best policy.

  23. Layman Lurker said

    Hey Jeff, I came accross this postfrom reading through the discussion thread at Judith Curry’s and thoroughly enjoyed it. Speaking for myself, I have grown tired of the endless (and never changing) political bickering in the climate blogosphere and have shifted more focus to the empirical and statistical issues of climate science which I feel comfortable exploring. In my view it is the technical side of the climate blogosphere that underlies a growing skeptical movement which is why I found this essay refreshing.

  24. […] Peter Gleick – Confessions of an Activist ( […]

  25. I simply fail to understand why all this matters.

    No matter that Heartland has an agenda. It isn’t like the IPCC doesn’t have one, nor all the other pro-AGW funding sources. Big deal. That is what Hearland does, for heaven’s sake.

    And that they have a wish list of class outlines? That is all it is – a wish list.

    But even more so, from what I have seen Hearltand’s money (a drop in the bucket compared to what is going on on the other side) hasn’t had any tangible effect on the debate. Yes, they host their annual conference. But does that specifically DO anything to move the skeptical side of the debate forward?


    What HAS moved the debate forward on the skeptical side is:

    1.) Climategate 1
    2.) Climategate 1
    3.) Climategate 1
    4.) What’s Up With That
    5.) Climate Audit
    6.) Climategate 2

    And none of those have anything to do with Heartland money or being tied in with Heartland’s agenda.

    I could be wrong, but I haven’t seen one thing they’ve spent money on that has moved us forward an inch. It is perhaps nice that they are around, but they certainly are not a major player. And at least Heartland doesn’t have its conferences in Bora Bora or Tahiti or Bali. (at least so far!)

    If Gleick wanted to muckrake, he’d have done better finding that Anthony Watts or Steve McIntyre were paid slaves to the oil industry – but of course, he couldn’t, because they aren’t.

    This is all a tempest in a teacup, and missing the entire point: Heartland doesn’t matter in this debate.

    Steve Garcia

  26. TerryS said

    You missed:
    7.) Lack of recent warming
    8.) Lack of accelerating sea level rise
    9.) Missing ocean heat content.

  27. Gleick is one of those bearded save-the-worlders who drives a tiny Toyota pick-up with the smallest possible engines, and who drives with a feather on the gas pedal so he doesn’t emit one gram of exhaust more than he absolutely HAS to. The kind I hate to see on the road ahead of me, as he watches everyone pass him, and he smugly looks down their nose at.

    His whole agenda is to bring down western industry, and in the process, western civilization, because he hates homo sapiens sapiens and wishes he was born a slug whose only exhaust is ultra-nutritious slime.

    He is the exact clone of any and all who’ve gone into environmental science. Is it any wonder that they have ‘discovered’ something negative about the way humans organize themselves into a civilization?

    He is a non-entity, and this is his Lee Harvey Oswald moment, and he wanted to make sure he got the credit. Big deal.

    He saw a chance (in his mind) to get even for Climategate, and he thinks he has.

    But this all doesn’t even matter. It’s not like Heartland is a puppetmaster of any of what WUWT or CA or Air Vent do. Heartland is a wannabe organization, conservatives who want to have an effect, but so far they have not. Money? Whoop de freakin’ do. None of that is making a difference at ALL. If anything, Gleick’s actions may PUT Heartland on the map. Nothing else they’ve done has really had any effect.

    Steve Garcia

  28. Frank K. said

    feet2thefire said
    February 21, 2012 at 4:43 pm

    Steve – I kinda agree with you. Why would someone like Gleick go after a relatively obscure advocacy group whose annual budget is $6 million? Doesn’t make any sense to me, except that this is an election year, and the Heartland Institute will be advocating for their policy positions among the available candidates for high office (from governors and congress people, to the president). Plus, I’m sure he REALLY wanted to get Anthony Watts name dragged through the mud in a feeble attempt to discredit WUWT.

    However, the manic and desperate mindset of people in the CAGW camp like Gleick do NOT surprise me anymore. Just look at Jim Hansen at NASA…

  29. […] Jeff Condon said of The Guardian’s […]

  30. M. Simon said

    Feet 2,

    If anything, Gleick’s actions may PUT Heartland on the map. Nothing else they’ve done has really had any effect.

    Au contraire. Follow the link at #1 to see what a hurt they have put on the AGW industry.

  31. […] your so-called apology, and the continued insistence by your supporters that your actions were justifiable given the […]

  32. gallopingcamel said

    When Mother Nature refuses to cooperate with their phantasies, the Hockey team and its creatures (e.g. Glieck) get desparate.

    Their desperation will get worse unless the temperature starts rising again.

  33. From a historical perspective, it was intriguing to read AGU’s President Michael McPhaden announcement of Dr. Peter Gleick’s resignation as

    “Chair of AGU’s Task Force on Scientific Integrity”

    Thirty six years earlier (in Jan 1976) the late Dr. Dwarka Das Sabu and I first publicly announced the Sun is the nuclear furnace that made our elements in:

    a.) An abstract* submitted for presentation at the National AGU Meeting in April of 1976, and

    b.) A comment submitted for publication in Science. The comment was first rejected, but eventually published in Jan 1977

    Click to access StrangeXenon.pdf

    [By a strange coincidence, Dr. Raymond Bisplinghoff was at that time Chancellor of the University of Missouri-Rolla, a member of the National Science Foundation Board, the National Academy of Engineers, and a personal friend.]

    It is intriguing that thirty six years later [2012-1976 = 36], AGU is still involved in the drama of AGW and Climategate: Pseudo-science built on the false Bilderberg model of the Sun:

    Click to access Climategate_Roots.pdf

    *The scheduled time for presentation of the paper at the AGU meeting was changed when we arrived at the meeting in April 1976 and a Harvard professor with no abstract was inserted into the program to speak ahead of us on the supernova trigger for the formation of the solar system. The Harvard idea was falsified by data that showed all primordial He was initially labeled with “strange Xe” – Xe-2:

  34. Neil said

    Heartland President talks to WSJ about Gleick

  35. Mark T said

    Is it any wonder that they have ‘discovered’ something negative about the way humans organize themselves into a civilization?

    Indeed. When all you look for are the problems with society, you can hardly be surprised that is exactly what you find.


  36. […] Peter Gleick – Confessions of an Activist ( […]

  37. M. Simon said

    Gleick has made Time:

    If he could make Space he would be….

  38. Anonymous said

    FBI has been called. I blogged to create a thread. I confess to having no particular insights on this.

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