San Jose Mercury News Hangs Peter Gleick’s ‘Crimes’ Around His Neck

Published February 28, 2014

A story in the Feb. 24 edition of the San Jose Mercury News noted that the drought in California has raised the profile of Peter Gleick and his Pacific Institute.

But in what certainly came as a shock to Gleick, the liberal Bay Area paper dedicated one-quarter of its 775-word story outlining his admitted identity theft and fraud against The Heartland Institute — the scandal known asFakegate.

The story accurately quoted me about Gleick’s admitted crimes, and how Gleick’s years of advocacy about global warming have “actually decreased the public’s understanding of the climate”:

But Gleick, 57, got tripped up in heated climate politics in 2012 when he admitted to using a fake name to obtain internal documents from the libertarian Heartland Institute, an anti-regulation group that works to minimize or refute global warming. He took a four-month leave of absence and was reinstated after the Pacific Institute cleared him of wrongdoing. The incident gained national attention, and Gleick was forced to resign from the chairmanship of the American Geophysical Union’s ethics committee.

The Heartland Institute continues to push for criminal charges.

Gleick proved he “has no moral qualms about committing serious crimes to advance an ideological agenda,” said Heartland spokesman Jim Lakely. No one “should take seriously anything he has to say about the climate. To the extent he’s shaped public opinion, he’s actually decreased the public’s understanding of the climate.”

Frankly, that’s more than I expected from a MSM outlet, but I’m grateful. And it’s gotta smartGleick — and Michael Mann (also quoted in this story), and every alarmsit who is used to glowing coverage in the MSM to see those quotes in print. At the end of this post are the questions asked of me by the reporter and my emailed responses in full.

When asked about his crimes by the San Jose Mercury News, Gleick said he “is not remorseful”:

“The science of climate change is incredibly strong,” Gleick said. “There is a remaining small group of deniers who try to misuse the science but I think are really afraid of the policy debate about what to do about climate change. Like the tobacco industry, I think history will show them for what they are.”

One does not have to wait for history to see Peter Gleick’s legacy. The San Jose Mercury Newshelped its readers show Gleick for what he is now. And it’s quite rich for Gleick to suggest the scientists and policy experts Heartland works with are “really afraid of the policy debate.” Gleick began the crime spree that ruined his reputation shortly after he was invited to debate those he calls “deniers” at a Heartland Institute event. We offered to donate $5,000 to the charity of his choice. Gleick chose, instead, to commit a crime.

For the record, here’s a taste of the “horror” Gleick had in store: A cordial and informative debate between a “warmist” and a “skeptic” at one of one of Heartland’s eight international conferences on climate change. The “warmist” (for lack of a better term, to his dismay) isScott Denning, Ph.D., the Monfort Professor of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University and an editor of Journal of Climate who has given two other presentaions at Heartland’s climate conferences. The “skeptic” is Roy W. Spencer, Ph.D., principal research scientist for the University of Alabama in Huntsville and the U.S. Science Team Leader for the Advanced Microwave Scanning Radiometer (AMSR-E) on NASA’s Aqua satellite.

I’ve embedded at the end of this post the impromptu tribute the charming Scott Denning gave to Heartland and the scientists we assembled at the end of our fourth conference in Chicago in May 2010. Denning’s testimony of how welcome he felt and how intellectually stimulating he found the conference speaks for itself. (SPOILER: Denning said it was “really too bad” more of his colleagues didn’t have the good sense to attend. They’d have learned a lot, as he did. “We need public policy that’s based on facts,” Denning said, “rather than ‘facts’ that are based on a policy agenda.” BTW: Heartland is planning a ninth international conference on climate change this year … stay tuned.)

Meanwhile, click around at to get the full story of Gleick’s crimes — including a plethora of independent media analysis of his pathetic, fumbled caper. (Be sure not to missthis devastating piece of sleuthing by Megan McArdle, as well as this one by her — both published before Gleick confessed). You can also see the criminal case The Heartland Institute presented to federal prosecutors. The case is still open, because the crimes still stand.


My email correspondence with reporter Heather Somerville:

Q: How did Peter’s fraudulent actions against Heartland impact the scientific community, in the context of credibility and trust? Have you seen any long-term impacts?

A: Gleick’s fraud damaged the climate alarmists in the scientific community — especially because many of his colleagues applauded him for his crimes. The observable climate data of about the last two decades has served to disprove the computer-modeled hypothesis of man-caused global warming. That true data is what Heartland and the scientists we work with have published in two volumes of research and eight international climate conferences.

Gleick was apparently so frustrated by the inconvenient truth that he sought to take down a small, but influential organization through criminal activity. The actual effect was to generate more attention to, and more funding, for our work. Gleick damaged his side of the climate debate, not ours.

Q: How did Peter’s fraudulent actions impact his own reputation, in your view?

A: Gleick seriously harmed his reputation through his criminal actions. No serious scientist, reporter, or the public should take seriously anything he has to say about the climate.

Q: Is Heartland still seeking criminal prosecution?

A: Yes.

Q: What has been Peter’s and the Pacific Institute’s contribution to the scientific community?

A: Gleick’s greatest contribution to the scientific community is showing the world that global warming alarmists have no moral qualms about committing serious crimes to advance an ideological agenda. The Pacific Institute has also ruined its own reputation by conducting a sham investigation, reinstating Gleick as president, and not addressing any of the questions Heartland posed to them in two open letters.

Q: How do you believe his work has shaped the public’s understanding of climate and water issues?

A: Gleick is not a climate scientist. His expertise is in hydrology. To the extent he’s shaped public opinion, he’s actually decreased the public’s understanding of the climate by falsely claiming there is a man-caused crisis.

Q: What scientific research and data does Heartland draw on to formulate it’s position on climate change? (just a few examples, please)

A: Heartland has a global network of hundreds of climate scientists who write for us, participate in peer review, and speak at our international conferences. We support the efforts of more climate scientists than any other free-market think tank in the world.

The best and most comprehensive examples of their work are the “Climate Change Reconsidered” reports by the Nongovernmental International Panel on Climate Change, or NIPCC. These volumes, including a new one coming out in March, amount to more than 3,000 pages of research taken from the peer-reviewed literature that suggest the conclusions of the United Nations’ IPCC are wildly off the mark. The “Climate Change Reconsidered”series looks at the data first, then draws conclusions, rather than the other way around. The volumes have been reviewed by scores of scientists from around the world under the leadership of three main editors: Dr. S. Fred Singer, Dr. Craig Idso, and Dr. Robert Carter. More info about the series of reports can be found at the link above.

Heartland has also hosted eight International Conferences on Climate Change, with work already begun on hosting a ninth. The eight ICCCs so far have featured 350 presentations from 187 scientists, economists, and other public policy experts. Many of the hundreds of scientists that Heartland works with have presented at those conferences.

Q: Does Heartland offer any alternative solutions to the drought crisis in California, that either are similar or dissimilar to recommendations made by the Pacific institute?

A: I’m not familiar with what the Pacific Institute recommends to help alleviate the drought crisis in California. But activists like Gleick were at the forefront of the push to stop the flow of water from the Sacramento Delta to the farm country in the Central Valley in the service of “protecting” a small bait fish. Tens of billions of gallons of fresh water were instead diverted into the sea. The drought in California is as much the fault of senseless decisions by man as it is of Mother Nature.


The Scott Denning video: