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« The IPCC's private portals | Main | Politicians notice Fakegate »
Friday
Feb242012

More Fakegate bits and pieces

Mark Fischetti, writing at Scientific American, interviews Gavin Schmidt, "a climate scientist who has been a consistently moderate voice at the center of the climate and ethics debate" about Gleick's activities. Fischetti seems to think that "Deniers are well funded and politically motivated." I guess he didn't actually read the Heartland documents then.

Meanwhile, Anthony Watts has a copy of Gleick's blagging email here.

 

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Reader Comments (55)

I'm shocked!

"Gavin Schmidt" and "consistently moderate voice" in the same sentence?

Feb 24, 2012 at 7:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Looking at the email exchanges at fake gate.org, I am puzzled by one thing. Why weren't the emails cc'd to the real email address of the person Gleick was supposedly impersonating? This is fairly standard practice.

Feb 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAndy scrase

Gleick and Taylor were 'fighting' each other in compteing Forbes articles....

Peter Glieck leading scientist coming out with rubbish like this(in Taylors comments):

"He says I’m upset because so few people agree with me… Hmm, 97-98% of all climate scientists (of which I am one, and James Taylor is not) agree with me — climate change is happening, and it is happening because of human activities. Maybe no one at the Heartland Institute agrees (though they are paid not to), but I like the company I keep better."


James Taylor replied

Gleick also further reveals his deceitfulness or ignorance (take your choice) by making the straw-man argument that 97-98 percent of scientists say the planet has warmed and human activity is one of the factors. Let me answer the survey questions myself:

Q1. “When compared with pre-1800s levels [i.e., the Little Ice Age], do you think that mean global temperatures have generally risen, fallen, or remained relatively constant?”

James Taylor Answer: Risen

Q2. “Do you think human activity is a significant contributing factor in changing mean global temperatures?”

James Taylor Answer: Yes

I am the 98 percent! So are nearly all of the global warming “skeptics” that Gleick rants about.

Yet these two banal questions do not even remotely address the far more important and central question of whether or not humans are causing a global warming crisis. The mere fact that humans are likely responsible for some of the warming that has lifted the earth out of the Little Ice Age does not necessarily mean that climate Armageddon is at hand. For those who believe otherwise, please do some research on the strikingly negative climate consequences of the Little Ice Age and the striking beneficial climate consequences of the Medieval Warm Period and the Roman Climate Optimum.

Gleick either knows or should know that most global warming “skeptics” believe the earth has warmed since the Little Ice Age and that human activity is a partial cause. By erroneously claiming that these two banal questions define the split between “alarmists” and “skeptics,” Gleick reveals his deceitfulness or ignorance on the core issues that divide “alarmists” and “skeptics.”
--------------------------------------

http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2012/01/12/please-global-warming-alarmists-stop-denying-climate-change-and-science/3/

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarry Woods

I have some analysis of relative funding here. My conclusion is that even though Heartland's funding was of the order of a typical university climate department big oil can gain influence in other more subtle ways. On balance it is a case of Goliath versus Goliath.

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterRon

@Andy Scrase

Agreed - I posted on the WUWT thread - the treatment of personal data by HI is shoddy at best. In fact really dumb.

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

a climate scientist who has been a consistently moderate voice at the center of the climate and ethics debate"

Is there more than 1 Gavin ????

I can only guess that Mark Fischetti would say that Obama is a "centrist" too

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:39 PM | Unregistered CommenterMatthew W

I can totally see the strategy document

!!!!

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Ron "My conclusion is that even though Heartland's funding was of the order of a typical university climate department big oil can gain influence in other more subtle ways. On balance it is a case of Goliath versus Goliath.

Comedians are posting in the thread..
Now we have assertions with no evidence because their is suspicion there might be ...evidence..vs..evidence.
One "side" gets billions..the other side a few millions.
Yep..that makes it "even"..
Stick to facts..

Feb 24, 2012 at 8:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterMike Williams

The latest details (from the WUWT link) confirm my initial suspicions about this being a setup.

"The emails reveal how Gleick “phished” the documents by stealing the identity of a Heartland board member..."

Gleick "claims he received that memo from an “anonymous source” before his theft. But the emails Heartland released today... suggesting the memo was written after, not before, he received the phished documents."

So let's say the HI caught on to this phishing while or just after it happened. What would a clever politicial operative to do then? No point crying at that stage. Much better to then feed him the fake document to blow the whole thing up.

Sure looks like the Dan Rather episode to me.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

A new Reuters piece

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/24/us-usa-climate-gleick-idUSTRE81N06520120224

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

I don't know,...but reading the emails makes my skin crawl.

How can a scientist bring himself to do this?

Barry,
Maybe this episode opened your eyes about what environmentalists are capable of doing.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Suzanne Goldenberg has an article about the blagging emails in the Graun.

Heartland's communications director, Jim Lakely, confirmed in an email that the email chain was complete and unabridged. bit.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Leopard,

Do you have a link to the article?

Regards

Mailman

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

Link to Goldenberg, if the spam filter will allow :)

http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/24/heartland-emails-peter-gleick-climate-leak?CMP=twt_gu

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Mailman, here it is.

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:55 PM | Unregistered Commentercourtesy of google

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:50 PM | Mailman

Ah! Spam filter has it :)

It's in the section -> Environment -> Climate change scepticism

Feb 24, 2012 at 9:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Edward,

I thought that Gleick's story was that the faked memo came through the post first. The emails may have been confidential and HI would rather they were not released, but weren't earth shattering.

I think a false flag trick of the sort you describe is possible but unlikely. Most people would consider it was too easy for something to go wrong and the penalties of being caught outweighed the benefits.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:13 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

"The bigger issue is that the public doesn’t understand how science works. The role of scientists as communicators is to explain how it works."

One thing our Gav is not lacking is arrogance.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:18 PM | Unregistered CommenterStacey

cosmic, if you read the 'confession' carefully you will see that Gleick states that he received an anonymous memo in the mail - As has been discussed, this may have been the strategy document or it may have just been another document... for instance it could have been a set of instructions on who to pose as and who to email within Heartland in order to carry out the scam (purely my conjecture) or indeed it could have been any anonymous communication which gave Gleick the knowledge or desire to start the whole saga.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterKnockJohn

Warmenistas learned their less from ClimateGate as evidenced by this post and the previous one.

Lie. Then Lie again and again and again and again. Keep lying until the media prints your lies and then lie some more.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

cosmic

"I thought that Gleick's story was that the faked memo came through the post first."

Yes. That was his "story." For what that is worth. It appears that his whole "story" in the aftermath of this has been a carefully constructed cover story.

"The emails may have been confidential and HI would rather they were not released, but weren't earth shattering."

Indeed. Which is why this fake memo is so critical.

"I think a false flag trick of the sort you describe is possible but unlikely. Most people would consider it was too easy for something to go wrong and the penalties of being caught outweighed the benefits."

But 'most people' are not zealous missionaries desperately trying to save their sinking ship. That's what made Gleick ( and all who eagerly jumped on this) so easy to trap. Their desperation removed their caution.

You may be right. But the trap scenario seems most likely to me. In any case, the result is the result, and it is a total disaster for the AGW project.

Feb 24, 2012 at 10:49 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

A song for Gleick,...and the whole affair

Between the iron gates of fate,
The seeds of time were sown,
And watered by the deeds of those
Who know and who are known;

Knowledge is a deadly friend
When no one sets the rules.
The fate of all mankind I see
Is in the hands of fools.

Confusion will be my epitaph.
As I crawl a cracked and broken path
If we make it we can all sit back
and laugh.
But I fear tomorrow I'll be crying,
Yes I fear tomorrow I'll be crying

(-Epitaph, King Crimson)

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:17 PM | Unregistered CommenterShub

edward,

"Yes. That was his "story." For what that is worth. It appears that his whole "story" in the aftermath of this has been a carefully constructed cover story."

I suspect there was a trail of evidence pointing his way and the confession was carefully worded by a lawyer after listening to Gleick's tale and was constructed as a damage limitation exercise. Blagging the documents is one thing and serious enough in itself. Being fingered as the author of a malicious fabrication is another load of trouble on top.

The only part I believe of the confession is that he blagged the documents from HI. The rest, receiving the documents from an anonymous source through the post, who knows?

I favour the idea that he blagged the documents, but they weren't particularly juicy, so he concocted the phoney to spice things up. His talk of an anonymous source sending the forgery through the post is a pack of lies.

Feb 24, 2012 at 11:53 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

A good Washington Times editorial

http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/23/global-warmings-desperate-caper/

Feb 25, 2012 at 12:14 AM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

...and some people felt there was nothing humorous in this whole affair. Gavin, moderate, got it!

Feb 25, 2012 at 12:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterWillR

@Andy scrase Feb 24, 2012 at 7:47 PM

I am puzzled by one thing. Why weren't the emails cc'd to the real email address of the person Gleick was supposedly impersonating? This is fairly standard practice.

Andy, under the circumstances, I wouldn't expect HI to reveal all the cards they're holding. Perhaps at some point, they smelled a rat - and bcc'd the real E-mail address.

In such circumstances, I rather think that's what I would have done!

Feb 25, 2012 at 1:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterHilary Ostrov

"consistently moderate voice"
Perhaps he meant to say that people who "consistently voice" contrary opinions will get "moderated" at the RC website?

Feb 25, 2012 at 2:58 AM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

Peter Gleick requests short-term leave of absence from Oakland's Pacific Institute

Leave granted!

Feb 25, 2012 at 3:24 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Suzanne Goldenberg again in Guardian with a new item up about Gleick

'Climate scientist on 'temporary leave of absence' while investigated over leak of Heartland Institute documents

Hmmm why's that sound familiar?

Also I think I detect the angle building up that the HI were so easily phished they were asking for it ;)

An email chain released by Heartland earlier on Friday suggested it was child's play for Gleick to obtain what the institute described as sensitive materials – once he assumed the identity of a board member.

The chain shows no indication that Gleick was ever challenged in his requests for information – not event when he asked for the email and phone numbers of board members.

Heartland would not respond to requests for comments on whether it passed the numbers to Gleick, or what sort of security procedures it had in place for materials it regards as sensitive.

Feb 25, 2012 at 3:25 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

In an open and free society it's easy to steal.
It's a lot harder to not get caught.

Feb 25, 2012 at 4:42 AM | Registered CommenterVieras

Judith Curry has an interesting update on her item Why target Heartland?

Update: Email from Joseph Bast, President of Heartland Institute, appended at the end of the post.

...

JC reflection: With virtually no effort on my part (beyond reading an email, cutting and pasting into the blog post), I have uncovered “juicier stuff” about Heartland than anything Gleick uncovered.

Feb 25, 2012 at 5:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

@Andy/Chris

Do you really think that most people are so untrusting? It's much easier to assume that people are telling the truth, and an awful lot easier to know what to do in hindsight.

Yes, the board member's original email should have been copied on these. The chances are that human nature took over, however.

Feb 25, 2012 at 5:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterElftone

The problem I have with this email exchange is the apparently low probability of it being pulled off. Gleick impersonates a HI board member. Gleick emails HI for docs.
HI respond without checking the board member via normal channels.
HI responds without cc'ing the board member on regular email. If they bcc'd as Hilary suggests, then there is a whole bigger issue.of entrapment etc.

Maybe I am overestimating other peoples business procedures, but this all seems a little unlikely to me.

Feb 25, 2012 at 6:12 AM | Unregistered Commenterandy scrase

I have to deal with Office Managers and PA's around the world on a daily basis.

It would not surprise me if say 50% of them could be tricked into doing this. Say 20% of them do not think at all, just do what they are requested. And 10% barely know how to send an email properly.

And forget the reverse conspiracy theories. Heartland did not need to take any risks. They were already 1 nil up.

Feb 25, 2012 at 6:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

One thing that is clear from the emails, is how clever Gleick thinks he is.

It just reeks of "look how clever I am".

I am 99% certain he must bragged about this to people. it is just in his personality.

He must have told others how clever he was, and how stupid HI was...

I do not believe he worked alone, but I am certain he told others.

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:11 AM | Unregistered CommenterJiminy Cricket

Checking on the WHOIS records for fakegate.org, fakegate.com etc, I see these were registered by Diane Bast on Feb 17th.

Heartland, by the looks of it, is a very small operation, run by the Basts. They have a small number of board members, and a relatively small budget.

So maybe they were tricked into handing over the docs. At the end of the day, it seems to me, they are a small operation punching above their weight.

I can imagine that this would infuriate Peter Gleick

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:15 AM | Unregistered Commenterandy scrase

A few weeks ago in RealClimate there was a thread drawing an analogy between the battle to get Copernican science accepted and that of climate science. I suggested it might also be worthwhile to study scientific ideas which were once in vogue but now discredited, mentioning phrenology and eugenics. Gavin misread my post, believed that I was a eugenicist and wrote a vituperative reply. When he realised his mistake he took down the reply and apologised.

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRon

One additional fact that makes all the CAGWarmist hysteria about Heartland so ridiculous is that only a fraction of their modest budget has anything to do with climate.

I was not familiar with them before Fakegate, (beyond simply knowing that they sponsor conferences that people like Peter Gleick get so deranged over, but perusing their budget docs it seems that their current budget items for climate related matters total well under one million US dollars. A pittance compared to the big CAGWarmist orgs.

People all over are quoting their total budget goal for 2012 but most funds are allocated for their projects related to health care, legal and market reforms, technology, educational reform (school choice, not climate issues), etc. They have had more than $1 million in some years for climate issues, but never anywhere near the $6.5 million figure that is widely quoted.

Definitely punching above their weight, and every CAGWarmist who rants about Heartland is simply showing the pitiful failings of the warmist fanatics.

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:51 AM | Unregistered CommenterSkiphil

The comments on Scientific American are on par:

I still believe that Heartland execs should be on trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity. To intentionally spread lies and cast doubt on the most likely explanation for a problem that will negatively affect everyone on the entire planet is more of a crime against humanity than anything any dictator or political party has every pulled off.

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:58 AM | Unregistered Commenterandy scrase

Andy. That SA comment is incredible. I will never understand the mentality of warmists.

Feb 25, 2012 at 8:27 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:11 AM | Jiminy Cricket

I agree Jiminy.
From what I've read he thinks he got Judith Curry to back down over the book review plus the discussion he had with Tamsin over her blog tite I think he was taking on the the role of "Peter the Sceptic Slayer".

Feb 25, 2012 at 8:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

So Gleick committed his wire fraud not once, but over a few days.
Pleading some sort of mental aberration which made him do it ought to mean he needs medical care.

Why HI went blithely along with Gleick's demands is beyond me, especially is request for the names of the other directors and their personal details.

I suspect when that particular e-mil came in, they must have known something was up, and went along to be able to follow the electronic trail - a bit like the police advising people to play along with requests by kidnappers.

Feb 25, 2012 at 9:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

andy scrase on Feb 25, 2012 at 7:58 AM
The comments on Scientific American are on par: "I still believe that Heartland execs should be on trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity. ..... "

Thanks for the update; I cancelled my subscription a while back, thankfully.

Feb 25, 2012 at 9:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

It is psychologically crucial for the Green/Left to portray themselves as the heroic little guys standing bravely up to protect Gaia from the rapacious capitalists.

Hence the oft-repeated nonsense about "well-funded denialist machines" when we all know that the incomes of groups like Greenpeace and WWF are orders of magnitude bigger than Heartland's. That's even before we talk about the billions of taxpayer dollars poured in on top.

The Green/Left will never accept this; psychologically, they cannot.

Feb 25, 2012 at 9:47 AM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Barry Woods on Feb 24, 2012 at 8:04 PM
"Gleick and Taylor were 'fighting' each other in compteing Forbes articles....
...
I am the 98 percent! So are nearly all of the global warming “skeptics” that Gleick rants about.

Yet these two banal questions do not even remotely address the far more important and central question of whether or not humans are causing a global warming crisis."


I am in the 98 percent as well!

The Scientific process requires that the person to be convinced, the questioner of the theory, is able to frame the questions and that the defender replies to each question, in the terms of each question.

Everyone is then able to judge the question and response, and ask further questions.

However, the Warmist camp has been successful in framing most of the questions themselves, as in this example! They answer questions with questions of their own: "We ask the questions around here!"

Feb 25, 2012 at 9:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterRobert Christopher

"To intentionally spread lies and cast doubt on the most likely explanation for a problem that will negatively affect everyone on the entire planet is more of a crime against humanity than anything any dictator or political party has every pulled off."
-------------------------------------------------------------------
Stand aside Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and He Who Must not be Named - the tiny Heartland Institute has just knocked you off the Top Mass Murderer perch!

These people are utterly delusional.

Feb 25, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered Commenterjohanna

"Stand aside Pol Pot, Stalin, Mao, and He Who Must not be Named - the tiny Heartland Institute has just knocked you off the Top Mass Murderer perch!"

May I propose a new law of the internet? .... as discussion on a web climate change forum grows the probability of a comparison to Heartland approaches 1. Once mentioned, the mentioner must be regarded to have lost the argument.

I think it should be called Fakewin's law. :P

Feb 25, 2012 at 2:14 PM | Unregistered Commentertimheyes

Why not just f@@kers law? :)

Regards

Mailman

Feb 25, 2012 at 5:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterMailman

My theory until now has been that this was a Dan Rather incident, with someone feeding Gleick the fake memo to let him hang himself. That was based on my assumption that Gleick could not have been stupid enough to do this himself.

After reading this I am starting to severely doubt my basic assumption. Seems, ego, hubris, arrogance, and zealous dedication to the 'cause' may have made him more than stupid enough. The fact that he is still flogging the '97% agree' fairy tale almost confirms that.

http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/02/25/what-triggered-dr-peter-gleick-to-do-identify-fraud-on-jan-27th/#comment-904147

Quite the unfolding soap opera. Almost Shakespear material.

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered Commenteredward getty

How a journalist should report this story......and HOW!

http://www.weeklystandard.com/articles/why-climate-skeptics-are-winning_631915.html?page=1

Feb 25, 2012 at 7:55 PM | Unregistered CommenterPharos

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