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« Climate change - not so important | Main | Gergis paper disappears »

Quote of the day

However, [For the Pacific Insitute] I suspect the penny has dropped that their public credulity regarding an obviously fishy story, and the public excuses they made for Gleick's admitted dishonest tactics, let alone his unadmitted ones, sent the message to the public that they may also be credulous and tolerant of dishonesty when it comes to climate science.

Natalie Solent ponders the reinstatement of Peter Gleick. There is a lesson here for the IPCC when they consider how to respond to the Gergis affair.

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Reader Comments (29)

She makes a pretty neat and simple point. I have often thought that given enough time and rope most charlatans become obvious to all. And boy, has climate science been given a long, free, uncritical ride in the sunlight to do this.

With a science that thrives on deliberate obscurantism and the positioning of itself more as a moral priesthood your average man in the street is deliberately left without the ability to judge it in a productive tangible way, and all that is left is the observations of the common acts of self-management and overt acts of honesty that we all can recognise when the time comes.

There is no track record to speak of in scientific technological achievement that we use daily, they constantly witter on about extreme weather as if it was included in their predictions but by then it is too late leaving people resentful of the obvious post hoc opportunism - yes people notice this. Let’s face it the climate establishment has nothing left but the humility and deportment of its self-management to impress us all, and time after time they show arrogance, hubris, and deceitfulness is their remaining easily observed defining characteristic.

What's not to like? ;)

Jun 10, 2012 at 9:11 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Cheltenham Science Festival this coming week has a few global warming hyping events, starting with Does The Sun Cause Climate Change ?

Jun 10, 2012 at 10:17 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Bish, great quote, but I think Solent is talking about Suzanne Goldenberg and those like her who have tended to try to defend Gleick, rather than the Pacific Institute itself.

Jun 10, 2012 at 10:18 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

The linked article sums things up very well. Gleick's pathetic vindication was yet another completely opaque "independent" investigation with a pre-determined outcome. Where have we seen that before? And so Gleick, still dripping with whitewash, is welcomed into the Whiter Than White Club.

Jun 10, 2012 at 10:19 AM | Unregistered CommenterDavid, UK

David: absolutely!
He should have a "wet paint" sign round his neck!!

Jun 10, 2012 at 10:34 AM | Unregistered CommenterMikeH

Richard Drake: Bish, great quote, but I think Solent is talking about Suzanne Goldenberg and those like her who have tended to try to defend Gleick, rather than the Pacific Institute itself.

indeed. But interesting to see Natalie Solent describing what looks like a significant change in Suzanne Goldenberg.

This would, if true, be a big penny dropping. OTOH it could be another Monbiot - corruption not ok but AGW still roolz.

Jun 10, 2012 at 10:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterLucy Skywalker

Lucy: I hope so. Some of the other quotes Solent lifts from the Guardian journo aren't so encouraging and to be honest I've not got time or energy to do a running evaluation. But a nice glimmer of hope the morning Hilary Ostrov accused me of being too optimistic about the possibility of journalists bringing the Gergis story to the masses. I think it was meant well :)

Jun 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

Of course my Peter did nothing wrong, and that's what my report on him said. You people are so delusional.

Jun 10, 2012 at 11:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Gleick's Mom

There is a perverse logic going on. Hearland are so evil that they are fair game for any covert tactics. Gleick is a special operative, he is allowed to waterboard the Heartland terrorists to find out their evil plans.

Jun 10, 2012 at 12:00 PM | Unregistered CommenterChairman Al

Whiter than the whitewash on the wall,
Whiter than the whitewash on the wall,
Oh, wash me in the water that you wash your dirty daughter in,
And I shall be whiter than the whitewash on the wall,

Jun 10, 2012 at 12:11 PM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute

Peter Boyer, Trustee of The Ayrshire Foundation, member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists, and Chair for Rocky Mountain Institute National Solutions Council.

Gigi Coe, former Director of Strategic Planning at the California Public Utilities Commission and former Assistant Executive Director, California Energy Commission.

Joan M. Diamond, Chairperson, Chief Operating Officer/Sr. Scenarist at The Nautilus Institute for Security and Sustainability. Consults for policy and research organizations undergoing major change.

Dr. Anne H. Ehrlich, Senior Research Associate, Department of Biological Sciences at Stanford University.

Dr. Eric Gimon, postdoctoral researcher in particle physics at the University of California, Berkeley.

Dr. Peter H. Gleick, President of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security.

Dr. Corey Goodman, Managing Director and co-founder of venBio LLC; Adjunct Professor at UCSF; Chairman of the Board of Second Genome, Oligasis, and Ossianix; member of the Board of NeuroTherapeutics and Mirna; elected member of the National Academy of Sciences; and member of the California Council on Science and Technology.

Margaret Gordon, Second Vice-President of the Board of Port of Oakland Commissioners and a founding member of the West Oakland Environmental Indicators Project.

Dr. Malo André Hutson, Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley, Department of City and Regional Planning, specializing in community and economic development, regional planning, and urban health.

Olivier J. Marie, business strategist, former Partner at Accenture and Booz Allen & Hamilton, Energy Analyst. Works with MBA students from the Haas School of Business New Sector Alliance helping non-profit organizations.

Richard Morrison, former Senior Vice President and Director of Environmental Policies & Programs, Bank of America.

Dr. Robert Stephens, founder and former President of the Multi-State Working Group on Environmental Performance (MSWG). Retired in 2004 as the Assistant Secretary for Environmental Management and Sustainability at the California Environmental Protection Agency, he is currently the Chair of the International Committee of MSWG and serves as Secretariat to the United Nations Environmental Program, Best Practices Network for Sustainable Development.

Professor Michael J. Watts, Professor, Geography Department at the University of California, Berkeley where he specializes in Third World development, forestry issues, and world geography.

Jun 10, 2012 at 12:15 PM | Unregistered CommenterOrkneygal

Major ROTFLOL at Peter's mom!
Made my day!

Jun 10, 2012 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterWijnand

Climate ‘scientist’s are a good social proxy in which we can determine the level of dishonesty and malpractice in academia.

Jun 10, 2012 at 12:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

Chairman Al
Heartland is a gift to The Guardian. It can be summed up succinctly as "American Right Wing" and hence is expected to get a knee jerk response from the stereotypical Guardian reader.
Expect to see more of what has already started to happen; the promotion of Heartland as being the enormous black spider at the centre of the web of "denialism". It's far easier to demonize a supposedly controlling organization than a nebulous scattering of sceptical scientists and bloggers.
Actually Heartland's influence has been minimal on most peoples scepticism and you could read sceptical blogs for years and barely be aware of their existence until fairly recently.
Unfortunately Heartland's attention-seeking is likely to play into the hands of the CAGW crowd. It's going to be far easier to paint all scepticism as being a political, rather than reasoned, position if virtually the only publicly visible sceptical organization is of one political bent.

Jun 10, 2012 at 1:12 PM | Unregistered Commenterartwest

I just read the Pacific Institute's statement and it seems to me to be distinctly lukewarm.

They are 'pleased' rather than 'delighted' that he is back. They emphasises that none of then had anything to do with it (he's on his own), and very carefully avoid saying anything about what Gleick may or may not have done...other than it 'runs counter to their ethics'.

I do not imagine that the corridors of the Institute were full of nubile Pacific maidens presenting Gleick with flower garlands and joyous cries of 'Welcome Back, Big Chief' in various Polynesian languages.

More likely that this is just a milestone along the road of 'separation proceedings. 'Let the guy go with some apparent dignity on condition that he doesn't blow the gaff on the rest of us'. I predict that he will be gone from view within a twelvemonth.

Jun 10, 2012 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterLatimer Alder

Jun 10, 2012 at 1:16 PM | Latimer Alder

Since Gleick was a co-founder of the institute I would expect the reverse to happen - ie in a years time only those members of the board lacking ethics will remain.

I confidently predict all will remain! The mighty dollar at work.

Jun 10, 2012 at 1:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterBilly Liar

I like this 2011 account of Scott Denning's experiences with Heartland:


“I was treated with respect and even warmth despite my vehement disagreement with most of the other presenters,” Denning wrote, expressing thanks for prominent platforms he was provided during the conference, including an hour-long keynote debate with contrarian Roy Spencer of the University of Alabama, Huntsville

Peter Gleick turned down an invitation to speak at this year's conference shortly before he pulled his ridiculous stunt. Hopefully any journalists who cover this will take the time to check the backstory.

Jun 10, 2012 at 1:49 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

artwest: I can't agree with the last paragraph. Anyone not born yesterday can tell the difference between science and politics and Heartland is avowedly political, right or wrong. Steve Mc has criticised them in the past for being overtly political in a conference they claimed was devoted to (climate) science - and that's a fair point. But life is full of compromises and, having checked no doubt that he wasn't going to be speaking against a background video of libertarian cheerleaders, replete with batons and pom-poms, Steve attended and addressed the conference at least once. I loved the question session afterwards (2010 I think) and congratulated Steve right away for being himself and saying it how he saw it. It's that integrity (bloody-mindness as it seems to those who wish him to sing their particular tune) that's made him such a formidable foe for the climate establishment.

The Guardian more than most newspapers can distinguish between the politics and the science if they wish to be fair-minded. Fred Pearce can and so can Suzanne Goldenberg if she tries. We've been alerted that the latter may just be gaining some of the wisdom of the former. Let's wait and see.

Chairman Al: brilliant and provocative, just the angle the Guardianistas need to make em think. More please.

Jun 10, 2012 at 1:53 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

He's not the Messiah! He's just a very naughty boy!

(h/t MPFC)

Jun 10, 2012 at 2:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Gleik's Other Mum

Wearing another hat, with people listening to Satish Kumar (founder of Resurgence mag) describing his walk-in-faith for peace (took no money with him, walked around the planet including "enemy" territory). I like what he did. A lady mentioned a summer camp. I wondered if I should visit it and sit and wait with a placard "Denialist Willing to be Beaten Up for my Views".

I have a feeling that might just work where Heartland's invite to Gleick didn't.

But right now I want to go back to my science work.

Jun 10, 2012 at 3:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterLucy Skywalker

Lucy: interesting: Googling for Satir I came to:

He continues to teach and run workshops on reverential ecology, holistic education and voluntary simplicity ...

I like the voluntary :) And that's not a flip comment, it's of the essence. Al Gore would be more convincing if he lived like this guy evidently does. It's the totalitarian aspirations of the CAGW fraternity (and I think aspirations is fair by now) that are the problem.

But kudos both for building bridges and the provocation of the placard (even if it turns out to be a thought experiment only). We need both aspects and we need to be radical in both. Please show me how :)

Jun 10, 2012 at 3:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

On the topic of educating the press, you may wish to build on this:

When I see a stupid “catastrophic warmist” article, I shoot off a letter to the editor.

1. I make absolutely sure that my facts are totally supportable and bullet-proof, preferably by referring to “IPCC sanctioned, peer reviewed” science and/or readily available credible public sources. Often, this is not difficult. Lately, I’ve been using this to some effect:

2. I send a copy of the letter to the editor to the writer of the article on the premise that he / she will think more seriously about writing drivel in the future; columnists don’t enjoy public criticism.

3. If the letter is not published within a few days, I send a copy to the “ombudsman” or “public editor” asking whether the paper has a formal or unwritten policy against publishing letters that question the main stream media orthodoxy on climate change. I also send a copy of this to the columnist as an unwelcome reminder that their employer is getting well argued flack .

The objectives are:

1. To make sure that the writer / columnist truly understand that they are spouting crap and that the editorial board and public editor also know it.

2. To create conversation within the editorial staff about how to manage the situation. Interestingly, if the paper has an ombudsman, or the equivalent, they do feel a need to respond and to understand the situation. My sense is that a “does the letter writer have a point” conversation takes place.

3. To make all involved a little more careful about sticking to facts in the future.

Jun 10, 2012 at 5:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Junkie

There is only a small clique in scientific circles, that masquerades as though it has common cause with a larger body of concern for the environment and nature. We don't have to 'build bridges' with the larger body because we are a part of it.

Jun 10, 2012 at 5:14 PM | Registered Commentershub

Shub, that's too beautifully said to want to quibble.

Jun 10, 2012 at 5:27 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

A recent poll of Guardian readers expressed their delight at the outcome of the Peter Gleik enquiry.
"We are both very pleased"

Jun 10, 2012 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Pesadia @7:16 PM


Jun 10, 2012 at 7:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterDisko Troop

Has anyone else noticed that the Guardian appear to have turned off all comments on the climate change CIF?

Jun 10, 2012 at 8:48 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

geronimo @ 8:48 PM

been like that for ages now, back foot springs to mind (and job protection maybe, no never)

Jun 11, 2012 at 1:25 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

Jun 10, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Richard Drake

But a nice glimmer of hope the morning Hilary Ostrov accused me of being too optimistic about the possibility of journalists bringing the Gergis story to the masses. I think it was meant well :)

Awww ... gee, Richard! Gimme a break, eh?! I didn't "accuse you" of anything - let alone "of being too optimistic"! I merely suggested that "I think you may be more of an optimist than I". The implication of your inference from my words suggests that I must believe that the ... uh ... "optimal" level of "optimism" is that which I hold!! And I would never (well, hardly ever!) be so presumptuous:-)

As for Goldenberg's "progress" ... I'm not sure I would view her June 7 piece as being indicative of any progress beyond knee-jerk MSM cheerleading of environmental activism. Her tone may have modulated slightly since her (extremely premature) May 21 piece. But her primary focus struck me as being an excuse for yet another Heartland hit piece.

She also succeeded in reading into the PI statement that which was clearly absent to anyone who'd actually read it:

Peter Gleick reinstated by Pacific Institute following Heartland exposé

Investigation finds that Gleick did not forge confidential documents he obtained from free-market Heartland Institute
The Pacific Institute indicated in the statement that it had found no evidence for Heartland's charges that Gleick had forged one of several documents he released last February.

Although I'm sure that it's entirely coincidental that the above paragraph just happens to reinforce her claim of May 21 [pls see below]

What's also interesting is that - in marked contrast to her unethical rush to publish on Feb. 14 when Gleick released his travesty - Goldenberg waited almost 24 hours before posting on PI's statement of reinstatement.

And she's certainly still keeping mum about her May 21 now-you-see-it, now-you-don't, now-you-do:

Peter Gleick cleared of forging documents in Heartland expose

Scientist who admitted to deception to obtain internal Heartland documents was found in investigation not to have faked material

In the interim - apart from the fact that she seems to have learned how to spell exposé - I haven't seen any indication that her "reporting" skills have improved. She continues her campaign of overselling Gleick's "innocence" [if not "heroism"] and her warped vision of Heartland's mission and importance.

In fact, we are still left with the questions I had posed a few days ago:

Who prematurely disclosed [Independent Employment Counsel] IEC’s “findings” to Goldenberg? Was it Gleick (he likes to leap ‘n leak)? Was it someone else aboard the sinking Pacific Institute ship? Surely it would have been highly unethical for IEC – and very damaging their “reputation” (whatever it might be) – to have made such a premature disclosure to a member of the media.

Of Goldenberg and Gleick: What did she know when … and how does she know it?

And on the Gergis front ... not surprisingly (at least not to me!), as far as I have been able to determine, Goldenberg has remained silent - as has the entire Guardian green contingent.

Jun 11, 2012 at 5:24 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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