Peter Gleick, an Oakland, Calif., climate scientist and activists confirmed late last night that, as suspected, he was the source of documents purporting to reveal the budget and strategy of the Heartland Institute, a conservative and libertarian public policy think tank. A few weeks ago, Glieck had anonymously sent to reporters some budget documents he'd obtained under false pretenses from the Chicago-based group along with a doctored document that someone else had created purporting to show the group's strategy. The latter was an obvious fake, having been written almost as a parody of those who critique climate alarmism (and personally going after people whose work didn't support Glieck's activism). But many media outlets reported on these documents. Andrew Revkin of the New York Times now writes:
Peter H. Gleick, a water and climate analyst who has been studying aspects of global warming for more than two decades, in recent years became an aggressive critic of organizations and individuals casting doubt on the seriousness of greenhouse-driven climate change. He used blogs, congressional testimony, group letters and other means to make his case.
Now, Gleick has admitted to an act that leaves his reputation in ruins and threatens to undercut the cause he spent so much time pursuing. ...
One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others. (Some of the released documents contain information about Heartland employees that has no bearing on the climate fight.) That is his personal tragedy and shame (and I’m sure devastating for his colleagues, friends and family).
The broader tragedy is that his decision to go to such extremes in his fight with Heartland has greatly set back any prospects of the country having the “rational public debate” that he wrote — correctly — is so desperately needed.
Coming just a few years after the leak of the East Anglia Cimate Research Unit emails, which showed climate scientists discussing how to manipulate information to the benefit of their activism, this is not a good thing for climate alarmists.
Now that Glieck has admitted at least part of his role in this deception and fabrication controversy, he won't be able to speak on the topic in the future. It's a good reminder of the temptation to lie on behalf of what you perceive is a good cause, as well as why you shouldn't succumb to that temptation.