21 February 2012

Gleick and Heartland

A few people sent me links to the interesting story that Peter Gleick somehow lied to obtain internal documents from the Heartland Institute that showed some sort of "climate denial strategy" (I've not seen them). What do I think, then?

I left this comment on one site:
Although I've had a few "disagreements" with Peter, I don't think this bit of espionage has anything to do with his scientific work. OTOH, there are many aspects of water and climate policy that require one to make subjective decisions on how to weigh various vague elements to come to a final conclusion, a conclusion that is likely to be the only thing that the general public sees or reads. From this perspective, Peter's attempt to "even the playing field" is going to backfire, even if his opponents (they are out there, even if they do not include Heartland) present propaganda as science. No doubt, Peter cares. The trouble is that he sometimes cares too much.
A few more thoughts: I am not in Peter's high profile position, but my personal attitude towards my "opponents" in the water debates is to wear them down with ruthless logic and occasional sarcasm. I've never really thought about trying to undermine their personal beliefs, as those are often founded on a combination of self-protection, experience, selective reasoning and fear. It's for them to work their way out of that mess.
Addendum: Coyote has a good response.


  1. It seems here are the leaked documents: http://www.desmogblog.com/heartland-insider-exposes-institute-s-budget-and-strategy

    I agree with your evaluation on his case. It's very sad. I've learned a lot from his scientific work (and from the debates with you). I also believe the leak move can backfire. He is not helping to promote a rational debate on climate change...

  2. Sadly, Dr. Gleick has been nothing but a propagandist for quite some time. For example, he refuses to disclose his assumptions in his many opinion-editorials he submits to newspapers where he claims that agriculture uses 75% of all the water in California. He labels everyone who disagrees with him as a "myth maker." But the amount of water consumed by agriculture depends on whether it is a wet or dry year. And ag can shift to cheap groundwater in a dry year.

    Gleick and his Pacific Institute are lobbyists for Northern California water interests and hide behind being some sort of water think tank.

    Read my article linked below where I juxtapose Gleick's numbers versus those from the California Dept. of Water Resources:



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