Anorak News | FakeGate: Heartland Institute calles Gleick a forger and a thief

FakeGate: Heartland Institute calles Gleick a forger and a thief

by | 22nd, February 2012

PETER Gleick is the conduit of the so-called FakeGate missives. Gleick, founder of the Pacific Institute, a member of the National Academy of Sciences and an expert on water resources, lied to get his hands on a documents from the Heartland Institute. He then made them public. George Monbiot was thrilled:

Shocking, fascinating, entirely unsurprising: the leaked documents, if authentic, confirm what we suspected but could not prove.

Leo Hickman frothed with excitement:

Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain,” pleaded the Wizard of Oz as Toto revealed the true identity of the man with the big, booming voice to Dorothy and her friends. But it was too late: the illusion was shattered.

The Heartland Institute, an influential rightwing thinktank based in Chicago, which has long pushed misinformation about climate change, is currently having its own Wizard of Oz moment following theleaking of internal documents which reveal the true extent of its funding and efforts to cast doubt on climate science.

Bryan Walsh sums up well:

Last week an anonymous person who called himself a “Heartland Insider” e-mailed six documents to 15 media and bloggers that purported to be internal memos from the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank that advocates highly skeptical views of climate science. The documents — which were quickly posted on sites like DeSmogBlog — contained detailed information about Heartland’s internal finances, including the names of major corporate donors like Microsoft and General Motors. The documents also outlined Heartland’s strategies, including efforts to promote school curricula that would cast doubt on the established scientific finding that man-made greenhouse gas emissions are dangerously warming the planet.

Joe Bast of the Heartland Institute tells the Wall Street Journal what he thinks of the documents:

Gleick “impersonated a board member of the Heartland Institute, stole his identity by creating a fake email address, and proceeded to use that fake email address to steal documents that were prepared for a board meeting. He read those documents, concluded that there was no smoking gun in them, and then forged a two-page memo”

So. The blagged documents are fakes?

Megan McCardle at The Atlantic:

When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths–including lying–to advance their worldview, I’d say one of the movement’s top priorities should be not proving them right. And if one rogue member of the community does something crazy that provides such proof, I’d say it is crucial that the other members of the community say “Oh, how horrible, this is so far beyond the pale that I cannot imagine how this ever could have happened!” and not, “Well, he’s apologized and I really think it’s pretty crude and opportunistic to make a fuss about something that’s so unimportant in the grand scheme of things.”

After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.

The future of mankind is all about taking sides. The Daily Kos:

Hero scientist, Peter Gleick, a water and climate analyst is the one responsible for exposing the Heartland agenda to spread misinformation and lies and subvert any real action for the climate change crisis.  He did so at considerable risk to his career and personal reputation.

Shouldn’t it about the truth and dialogue, rather than lying?

Here’s what Gleick wrote in the HuffPo:

While a huge amount of effort is put into debunking the bad science promoted by climate deniers, scientists work to correct errors in understanding about climate on all sides.

Whatever happened to fact-checking, especially unusual claims? Climate deniers, who promulgate error after error (from misreporting satellite data, to misrepresenting historical temperature records, to misinterpreting paleoclimatic data, to much more) do not do the same – they simply deny the evidence (hence the term). And they will never admit their mistakes, despite the fact that their arguments are repeatedly, soundly, proven wrong. Nothing can convince them that climate change is real because they are not real skeptics. Their minds are not open to new information or evidence. [Here is a fine summary that debunks each of the various repeated and incorrect arguments of climate deniers.] Even worse, the least ethical of them will probably claim this example to be an error of climate science when it is the exact opposite: climate scientists got it right but an NGO got it wrong, even after being called on their error by scientists.

And while all scientists (and all people) make mistakes, good ones acknowledge their mistakes, correct them, and refine our knowledge. Bad ones dig in their heels, defending a faulty paradigm to the bitter end.

Show me the science and then look at the scientist:

Matt Nisbet (via Judith Curry):

Urgent calls to escalate the war against climate skeptics may lead scientists and their organizations into a dangerous trap, fueling further political disagreement while risking public trust in science. A major transformation is needed in how scientists and their organizations engage the public and policymakers. The new direction is not to become more political and confrontational on the national stage, but to seek opportunities for greater public interaction, dialogue, and partnerships in communities across the country.

Scientists are also susceptible to the biases of their own political ideology, which surveys show leans heavily liberal. Ideology shapes how scientists evaluate policy options as well as their interpretations of who or what is to blame for policy failures. Given a liberal outlook and strong environmental values, it must be difficult for scientists to understand why so many Americans have reservations about complex policies that impose costs on consumers without offering clearly defined benefits. Compounding matters, scientists, like the rest of us, tend to gravitate toward like-minded sources in the media. Given their background, they focus on screeds from liberal commentators which reinforce a false sense of a “war” against the scientific community.

The scientists seem to believe they can prevail by explaining the basis of climate change in clearer terms, while asserting the partisan motives of “climate deniers.” This has been the strategy since the early days of the Bush administration, yet for many members of the public, a decade of claims about the “war on science” are likely ignored as just more elite rancor, reflecting an endless cycle of technical disputes and tit-for-tat name calling. What are needed are strategies that transcend the ideological divide, rather than strengthen it. Most importantly, snarling, finger-in-the-eye responses to the skeptics risk alienating the more than one-third of Americans (PDF) who remain ambivalent about climate change.

To be sure, there is a need for better, clearer explanations of the science, but it’s wrongheaded to imagine that researchers and their organizations could ever compete effectively, in the long term, in a political debate with climate skeptics and their allies at the Chamber of Commerce and Fox News. Instead of exaggerating the problem of an allegedly hostile American public, scientists need to wake up to the fact that they continue to enjoy almost unrivaled trust and communication capital. 

It’s not him – it’s them, says Kevin Knobloch:

Gleick is among many climate scientists who have been targeted by ideological groups that are eager to attack the messengers of scientific findings. And he is a strong advocate for the important role science plays in society. It’s unfortunate that the bitter, personal attacks on his colleagues and their work contributed to what he called a lapse of his own personal judgment and ethics.

It’s s shit-stom. If the gases could be ahrvest, the experts could liight a small tien. The last word must be with Gleick, who added his name to an open letter called…”CLIMATE CHANGE AND THE INTEGRITY OF SCIENCE”.

Pass the oxygen…

Posted: 22nd, February 2012 | In: Key Posts Comment | TrackBack | Permalink