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« Another Hockey Stick broken | Main | Worstall again »

Gleick "cleared"

From the Pacific Institute:

The Pacific Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Gleick back to his position as president of the Institute. An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute. This independent investigation has further confirmed and the Pacific Institute is satisfied that none of its staff knew of or was involved in any way.

Dr. Gleick has apologized publicly for his actions, which are not condoned by the Pacific Institute and run counter to the Institute’s policies and standard of ethics over its 25-year history. The Board of Directors accepts Dr. Gleick’s apology for his lapse in judgment. We look forward to his continuing in the Pacific Institute’s ongoing and vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity.

“I am glad to be back and thank everyone for continuing their important work at the Pacific Institute during my absence,” said Dr. Gleick in a statement. “I am returning with a renewed focus and dedication to the science and research that remain at the core of the Pacific Institute’s mission.”

It appears that all details about the alleged inquiry, including who conducted it, are to be withheld. I think they had to clear him so as not to give any "fodder to the sceptics".

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Reader Comments (49)

Well...there is a surprise.

Another sleazy little hole-in-the-corner chapter in this little story.

Would it be an exaggeration to say that they have no shame?

I do not think it would....

Jun 7, 2012 at 7:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterJack Savage

It should be noted that the communications officer for PI ducked my questions about why the name of the investigating agency were not released nor the report itself. She hid behind the all encompassing "personnel matter" shield.

For all we know, it could all be made up - there's no way to verify it.

She also ducked two inquiries regarding the PI disposition of the fake memo issue, which isn't mentioned in this release at all.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:10 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

Lets see him defend his actions in a court of law.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:16 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

This line here, is very carefully worded:

"An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute."

The lack of transparency, combined with the lack of mentioning the fake memo suggests they didn't dare touch that issue.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

Wonder if the BBC will announce this 'most important' revelation.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:36 AM | Unregistered Commenterconfused

Whilst Joe Bast’s Heartland blows up in a laughably sweet and endearing way with stupid huge posters, The Pacific Institute quietly and sinisterly makes out we all should be fine with this news. It makes the Goldenberg story look voluble and informative.

How is a news reporter to report this? I suspect none can, and that the Goldenberg story remains the extant version for the faithful. No one with any claim to be a journalist could report this without at least insisting on calling up the PI to force them to flesh out the details.

I realise that leaves so many enviro-journos who will shamelessly report it and lard with all the extra goo it needs (should be fun to watch actually) but I think even some of them may feel a blush of embarrassment.

I think even your average bovine envirobot journo could imagine what they would say if the shoe was on the other foot and, hypothetically, the Heartland Institute had announced the proud return of Joe Bast after a period away in disgrace having been cleared by an un-named investigator with flying colours.

The HI had a big embarrassment which maybe they have now got over and learned from; on the other hand I predict the PI have just started to scratch a sore that is going to fester ;)


Jun 7, 2012 at 8:38 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

The Pacific Institute is a private organization, founded and led by Peter Gleick.

The Board must have reckoned that the Institute will not survive without Gleick, and may survive with him.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:39 AM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Tol

Since he has been totally cleared, it is only fair that he resumes his post as the Chair of AGU's ethics panel and that this climate scientist be allowed to keep on corrupting the reputation of rest of the scientific disciplines.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:44 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

We should not be surprised by this sham 'review'; it is just an example of post-modern ethics.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:45 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

What investigation? Without evidence PI's announcement is just hearsay.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:51 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

Good catch Anthony:

"An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute."

..."we have investigated, and our review concurs that Dr. Gleick did indeed interact with the Heartland Institute" (...or something)

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:54 AM | Unregistered CommenterSalamano

Maybe Gleick conducted the 'review' himself. He does have a track record of impersonating individuals from other organisations.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:55 AM | Registered Commenterlapogus

Strapped Press:

A review conducted by outside counsel has supported Dr. Gleick on behalf of the Institute.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterFrosty

Did anyone here see him in the UK in April? I find it hard to believe that The Question wasn't raised then.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

Richard Tol, Just seen your pithy tweet with the best summary I've seen:

Pacific Institute chooses to go down with Peter Gleick

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:02 AM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement


It just so happens I have a copy of the said secret report. Here is the concluding paragraph.

"We have investigated and found that Peter Gleick is not anti-climate, that he continues to enjoy a prominent position in the climate debate with his integrity and reputation completely untarnished, and that he definitely did not write the memo suggesting the Heartland Institute was discouraging the teaching of science in high schools."


Jun 7, 2012 at 9:04 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

The purpose of the ‘independent’ inquiry is not to convince sceptics that Peter Gleick is innocent.

The ‘innocent’ verdict is so that at a future date, when an awkward interviewer or sceptic asks him, “Professor, why did you commit wire fraud in order to smear your ideological opponents?", he will be able to point to the results of this ‘independent’ inquiry and show that he was cleared.

For the vast majority of people this will be enough.

After all, it worked for the ClimateGate inquiries.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:12 AM | Unregistered CommenterStuck-record

my guess is Richard Black is busy preparing a (tall) story on Gleick being "cleared", since his last piece on the birth of the green movement was closed for comment after 24 hours and only 26 comments

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:14 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

Bish writes:

I think they had to clear him so as not to give any "fodder to the sceptics".

And how very unfortunate for them that all their fodder fighting farces (and faux pas!) always seem to backfire!

As I mentioned in Unthreaded a few hours ago, the key may well lie in The Goldenberg Factor, as I noted in [shameless plug alert]:

Prophets of doom forecasting gloom … while Gleick re-enters his room

And as an afterthought ... the timing of this "clearance" is somewhat curious. Perhaps PI had already sprung for a non-refundable non-transferable flight to Rio for Gleick. So the Board had to confirm Goldenberg's May 21 report - just in case anyone confronted him with any, well, inconvenient questions.

He can now take wing ... and take cover - in the well-rehearsed Team tradition - by claiming, "I was completely exonerated by an independent investigation".

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:21 AM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

When paid counsel are willing to support a public statement it says nothing other than that the legal profession are prepared to support any stance on payment of the appropriate retainer.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:29 AM | Registered Commentermatthu

It would be ironic if the HI could obtain the details and release them to the press.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

Manufacturers of whitewash are delighted with the new customers for their product!

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:44 AM | Unregistered CommenterAdam Gallon


as long as nobody poses as an employee to obtain the details

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:49 AM | Registered Commentermangochutney

I didn't realise that Muir Russell had joint UK-American citizenship.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:53 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

In other news Jo 'the leg breaker' Greco informs the press that after extensive 'independent’ enquire no one from the Mafia have been found to take part in any illegal acts.

Jun 7, 2012 at 10:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterKnR


Jun 7, 2012 at 10:13 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

Even by the lamentable standards of the Pacific Institute, they cannot surely expect to get away with so transparently self-serving an excuse as this.

Jun 7, 2012 at 10:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAgouts

I am heartened by this development.

Jun 7, 2012 at 11:17 AM | Unregistered CommenterShub

Just remember your own childhood. When you wet your bed, or punched your little brother or sister, or did any one of a thousand things very young children do that they feel massive guilt and shame for, for a little while, just remember the intense need to get past it, just have it be over and not feel like a pariah in the eyes of your mother or father or other "authorities". Oh, they feel shame all right--but it is instantly, childishly, covered over with sincere cries of wounded innocence, and herd protective behavior.

They have to be dragged out in public, and soundly whipped, and made to admit their sin, before anyone and everyone can "go on". Alternatively, if you don't have the power to whip them publically, just let them know, quietly, every day in every way, that you yourself know what they have done, and you will have nothing to do with them, or with their self-insulating lies, because they are unworthy of civilized human intercourse, until they come clean to the world.

Jun 7, 2012 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Dale Huffman

Clearly Dr. Gleick has committed a number of crimes for which he should be prosecuted. If any of us did what he has done our feet would not touch the ground. Is there any sigh of criminal charges being brought ? Isn't impersonation to obtain confidential information a criminal offense in the US? At the very least the HI should have a good civil case to bring.

Jun 7, 2012 at 11:32 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoss Lea

This is not really Gleick being cleared but the Pacific Institute clearing itself of having anything to do with what Gleick has already admitted to.

Jun 7, 2012 at 12:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterGareth

"An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute."

"Independent": Who are they? If they're truly independent, why not identify them?
"Outside counsel": Paid for by whom?
"On behalf of the institute": Any bias there, perchance?
"Has supported what Dr Gleick stated": There's a surprise!
"Publicly": This is THE weasle word. What he said publicly was to deny it all. What he DID privately would appear to have been another matter entirely.

This independent observer is looking at the statement and thinking this 'Inquiry' stinks to high heaven.

Jun 7, 2012 at 1:19 PM | Unregistered CommenterCheshirered

Go time Heartland.

Maybe they where waiting for this so they can bring PI down with Glieck.

Or maybe their not that smart. That billboard of their makes one wonder.

Jun 7, 2012 at 1:20 PM | Unregistered CommenterBoobLove

Gleick is by no means “cleared” of writing the forged memo. At least, judging by the press release, the investigation made no such finding. The investigation finding with press release and subsequent email to WUWT only verifies Dr. Gleicks earlier public confession statement as not incorrect:

“The independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Pacific Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick stated publicly ...”

This is circular reasoning and does not add anything new. But ok, since the “finding” is just a reference to the original confession by Gleick, it is then interesting to go back and analyse this confession. Let us do that then.

The thing is that the public confession by Gleick was worded very carefully and in an ambiguous way so that it creates the appearance for the casual reader that Dr. Gleick denies having written the forged memo, while in fact he does no such thing.

I am a lawyer and I know weasel words when I see them… For sure, he did not formulate that “confession” all by himself. The Pacific Institute probably got som help with the press relase as well and are careful in parroting the criucial line in their email responses to follow up questions. It all reminds me of Bill Clinton’s famous statement “I did not have sex with that woman” (all depending of the definition of “sex” of course…).

The ambiguity of Gleick’s confession was commented on a number of times when the public statement was first made. I repost with some edits from the confession thread at WUWT:

“JJ says:
February 20, 2012 at 10:24 pm
Joe Bast Says:

Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, …


Look at what the man wrote, not what he wants you to read:

“At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy.”

Analysis: He says he recieved an anonymous document. He doesn’t say the “anonymous document” was the faked document. The 2012 Proposed Budget “describes what appear to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy.” The anonymous document could have been that document, or some other document that we haven’t seen.

“Given the potential impact however, I attempted to confirm the accuracy of the information in this document. In an effort to do so, and in a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received additional materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else’s name..”

Analysis: He committed wire fraud, identity theft and other crimes to get more documents.

“I forwarded, anonymously, the documents I had received to a set of journalists and experts working on climate issues.”

Analysis: He says he forwarded the documents that he received – by which he maybe taken to mean the documents he recieved from Heartland. He doesn’t say that he forwarded the “anonymous document”, nor does he deny sending documents other than those that he recieved.

“I can explicitly confirm, as can the Heartland Institute, that the documents they emailed to me are identical to the documents that have been made public. I made no changes or alterations of any kind to any of the Heartland Institute documents or to the original anonymous communication.”

Analysis: He claims he didn’t alter any of the documents sent to him. He doesnt say that the only documents he sent were the ones sent to him. He says he didn’t alter the “anonymous communication”, but he doesn’t identify it, nor does he confirm that he sent it.

Consistent with what Gleick has claimed are several scenarios that leave him the author of the faked memo – a fact he has not denied:

1) Someone sent him the Proposed Budget – that was the “anonymous communication.” He stole more documents, which may or may not have included the Budget that he already had in hand. He forwarded everything that had been sent to him, and he added to that package the “Climate Strategy Memo” that he had made up himself.

2) Someone sent him a “heads up” with a few details about the Budget in it – that was the “anonymous communication.” He stole more documents from Heartland. He kept the “anonymous communication”, forwarded everything that had been sent to him by Heartland, and he added to that package the “Climate Strategy Memo” that he had made up himself.

Even if Gleick is telling the unvarnished truth in his “confession” and half assed apology, either of those two scenarios could still be true. Keep in mind that crimate scientists are already primed to think in the “consistent with” mindset, and the fact that Gleick has lawyered up with the best sleazy democrat representation that you can’t buy, so it has to be provided to you. Every word he says from here on out is carefully chosen to be technically perjury-free, while telling the story he wants you to hear. And his lawyers have very carefully chosen for him to not claim that he didn’t write the Fake…

And of course, all of that only applies if his “confession” is entirely truthful. It remains that he could be telling more lies.”

So, Gleick is still not in any way cleared of forging the fake strategy memo, He has already admitted to the remaining crimes.

In fact, all circumstantial evidence so far points clearly at Dr. Gleick, in my opinion. To this body of evidence we can now add the fact that neither Dr. Gleick in his confession nor the investigation and subsequent press release make it clear that Dr. Gleick did not write the forged memo, despite that this is the obvious million dollar question that everyone wanted an answer to.

A clear finding of no such involvement on Gleick’s behalf would of course be of great importance and would be shouted loud and clear from the rooftops by the Pacific Institute and Dr. Gleick. Instead all we get is more ambiguity with circular reasoning – or weasel words! Why I wonder… Well not really. I think that speaks for itself.

I believe some simple but direct questions to the Pacific Institute are in order to trip up this charade. I hope our generous host or other of some standing may be interested in forwarding them:

1. Did the investigation conclude that Gleick did not write the forged memo? Please answer “Yes” or “No” and;
2. Did the investigation confirm that Gleick was not in any way involved with the production of the forged memo, directly or indirectly? Please answer “Yes” or “No”; and
3. Did the investigation confirm that Gleick had no reason to believe that the memo did not originate from Heartland? Please answer “Yes” or “No”.

Ask those questions and see what the answer is. My guess is that the Pacific Institute will weasel away from them as best they can. If so – I believe we can safely assume that we know the real answer.

Anyway, looking at the carefully worded statements, even if Dr. Gleick did forge the memo, the statements do not constitute a lie. Of course, they are misleading but not an outright lie.

No doubt the usual suspects at the Guardian, the New York Times etc. will do their job, parroting on and portraying the statement in the press release as proof of Dr. Gleick not forging the memo, forgetting to mention the other, confessed illegalities (not newsworthy anymore). Objective achieved! Gleick is cleared in the eyes of the public. This is how things work all too often in those circles.

Jun 7, 2012 at 1:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorgeGR

GeorgeGR -

Since neither the confrssion nor the PI statement makes reference to a forged document ... it is extremely unlikely that your three questions will elicit any new information from PI.


1. Did the investigation confirm that Gleick was not in any way involved with the production of any of the information he subsequently forwarded, either directly or indirectly? Please answer “Yes” or “No”.

2. Did the investigation confirm that Gleick had no reason to believe that any of the information he forwarded did not originate from Heartland? Please answer “Yes” or “No”.

Jun 7, 2012 at 2:04 PM | Registered Commentermatthu

matthu, fair point.
Substitute the words "forged memo" or "memo" with the name of the document, which I believe is “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy”, and submit the questions.

Jun 7, 2012 at 2:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorgeGR

Gleick was scraping by on $152,514 in 2010:

It will be interesting to know how Gleick's compensation was impacted (i.e. increased) by this episode.

Jun 7, 2012 at 2:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterZT

"none of its staff knew of" knew of what?

Jun 7, 2012 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commentersimon abingdon

Poor Bedwettington.
I hope he isn't going to have to stand the Pacific Institute drinks for a "blinder well played".
Could cost a packet!

Jun 7, 2012 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Jack Savage (Jun 7, 2012 at 7:56 AM)


This crowd?

Bwah-ha-ha-ha ........

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterEvil Denier

The identity of the investigators has been squirrelled out by David Appell. Apparently the Pacific Institute seem to feel more chatty with old Dave, even more than poor old Suzanne Goldenberg who has basically had to rewrite her old article shuffling the words around a bit to try and make it look like work.

Here's Who Did the Peter Gleick Investigation

Having looked through the website of the investigators it looks like that they're just a two person operation specialising in CYA for harassment and discrimination complaints for companies. Their remit is to ensure the organisation/corporation have a firewall if they ever need to defend their own position in court. So the way I read it (pure speculation obviously) is that their remit was to show that the Pacific Institute has no liability for anything which could be as seen as illegal. Which essentially means that someone could have done whatever they want at home but so long as no link can be shown to the PI that’s it, job done! ;)

Good eh?

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:11 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

Goldenberg appears to be the first to break MSM silence on PI's "Statement" - and uses it (predictably) for another hit piece on Heartland in which she recycles the myths and memes of the fake memo.

Interesting fact-free headline though:

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

Thursday 7 June 2012 17.03 BST

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:17 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

@ Leopard in the Basement says "The identity of the investigators has been squirrelled out by David Appell. "

No not the case at all, I had the same email from the PI communications director Nancy Ross at 9:20 AM, well before Appell wrote about it. The difference was that I attempted to confirm with the independent investigator rather than immediately bloviating it as Appell did.

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnthony Watts

Martin Brumby. I think you'll find it was a "blinder played" the "well" is tautology and seems to have been introduced to the phrase by a Canadian if our mutual acquaintance. ( if you don't know who 8
I'm referring to he specializes in hard sums).

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered Commentergeronimo

I wonder if the "investigation" had a restricted purview, similarly to the Muir-Russell review. If you can hire a group to conduct and investigation, then you surely can tell it what it can and cannot investigate.

"Investigate everything but whether or not he faked the memo... because he never publicly stated he faked the memo. Just concentrate on the accuracy of things he said he did do..."

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterSalamano

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:44 PM | Anthony Watts

OK fair enough, it was Appells tweet that caught my eye but I hadn't read your latest post .

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:53 PM | Registered CommenterThe Leopard In The Basement

geronimo: Interesting. And "Play it again Sam" was never said exactly that way in the film. Something about the word play? I mean the word "play" :)

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterRichard Drake

"Sure, he lied, broke the rules, acted unethically and made us all look like a convention of village idiots - but he's OUR lying weasel!"

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:08 PM | Unregistered Commentermojo

Jun 7, 2012 at 8:46 PM | Salamano

I wonder if the "investigation" had a restricted purview, [...]

Whatever their remit might have been, this two-person shop known as "Independent Investigative Counsel" clearly lacks the expertise required to ask - or answer - the questions that should have been asked.

Their expertise lies in labour law. The issues requiring investigation have nothing whatsoever to do with labour law - unless, of course, PI had begged them to find an excuse for not firing him and/or to paper over any concerns other more ethical staff might have had following disclosure of his disgraceful actions.

Although, as I just speculated at WUWT, it is not beyond the realm of possibility that IEC might have subcontracted with an ... "investigative journalist" of Godenberg's "calibre" to conduct this part of the "investigation". If this is the case, it would go some way towards explaining her now-you-see-it, now-you-don't, now-you-do post of May 21.

Jun 7, 2012 at 9:47 PM | Registered CommenterHilary Ostrov

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