FakeGate: Stolen and Faked Heartland Documents

Prominent climate alarmist Peter Gleick admitted on February 20 that he stole private documents from the Heartland Institute by impersonating a board member using a fake email address. Gleick sent the Heartland documents and a forged fake document to journalists. The fake document contained statements damaging to the reputation of the Heartland Institute.

Peter Gleick is head of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security; Chairman of the American Geophysical Unit (AGU) Committee on Scientific Ethics; and a director of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Gleick admitted he stole the private documents only after several investigators compiled evidence that Gleick was the likely forger of the fake document.

The PDF version of the fabricated document entitled Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy Memo  was created February 13. It contained numerous false statements that are not supported by the real Heartland documents obtained by deception by Gleick. The fake document could only be written by someone with knowledge of the information contained within the "Budget" and "Plan" of the Heartland documents which Gleick received on February 6. But Gleick's confession posted on February 20 claims he received the document anonymously in the mail "At the beginning of 2012", and he stole the Heartland documents to verify the "anonymous document".

Steve Mosher identified Peter Gleick as the likely author of the fake document only hours after it was declared to be fake.  The fake document contains Gleick's distinctive writing style and punctuation, and includes references to Gleick, prompting Steve McIntre at Climate Audit to declare Peter Gleick as "America's Dumbest Criminal" see here. The evidence against Gleick was compiled at Lucia's The Blackboard blog here.

See Fakegate.org, a Heartland website which shows the fraudulent emails.  

On February 20, 2012, the NCSE announced that Peter Gleick resigned as a Director of the NCSE, see here.

On February 21, the AGU announced that Peter Gleick resigned on February 16 as chair person of the AGU Task Force on Scientific Ethics, see here.

Gleick is well known for attacking the credibility of climate scientists who disagrees with his opinions.

On January 5, Gleick published an internet article in Forbes where he falsely claimed 2011 had an "unprecedented combinations of extreme weather events", he criticized several climate scientists and accused Koch Industries of funding "anti-climate science groups". (No climate skeptic is "anti-climate".)

On January 12, James Taylor of the Heartland Institute published a Forbes article critical of Gleick's article. Taylor asks climate alarmists to stop denying natural climate change and presenting recent climate change as unusual. He gives evidence that severe climate events are on the decline, contrary to statements in Gleick's article, see here. In comments, Gleick requests Heartland's donor's list.

On January 13, Jim Lakely of Heartland invited Peter Gleick to participate in a debate at Heartland's 28th Anniversary Benefit Dinner in August, and offered Gleick a charitable contribution of $5,000 to the charity of his choice, see here. Gleick again requests Heartland's donor list.  

On January 17, Lakely provided a list of reasons why the donor list is confidential.  

On January 27, Gleick sent an email to Heartland impersonating a Heartland Director requesting "Could you please add (or have the appropriate staff member add) this personal email address to the Board mailing list for all future Board communications?". This started a chain of emails resulting in Gleick obtaining the Heartland documents. See here.

On January 28, Gleick declined Heartland 's invitation to debate climate change.  

In Gleick's February 20 confession, he states "a rational public debate is desperately needed. My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate".

The Heartland Institute had hosted six climate conferences since 2008. They invited climate alarmists to debate climate change at these conferences.

On February 20, Heartland issued a statement here. Commenting on Gleick's remark that Heartland was preventing a debate, the statement said "This is unbelievable. Heartland has repeatedly asked for real debate on this important topic. Gleick himself was specifically invited to attend a Heartland event to debate global warming just days before he stole the documents. He turned down the invitation."  

In 2001, Peter Gleick declared "The debate is over.", see here.  

The fake document made a number of false and outrageous statements.

It falsely claimed Heartland planned a Global Warming curriculum aimed at dissuading teachers from teaching science .

It falsely claimed Koch Industries provided $200,000 in 2011 to fund Heartland's climate program. Koch actually made a $25,000 donation for health care research. See here for other false claims.

Gleick apparently believes that climate skeptic groups are well funded by the fossil fuel industry. The Heartland documents actually show that the fossil fuel industry provides insignificant funding to Heartland. Heartland receives about $7 million in annual funding and spends about one quarter of that on climate programs. Meanwhile, the World Wildlife Fund receives about $600 million and Greenpeace receives about $200 million in annual funding.

The Weekly Standard has an article on this affair "Why the Climate Skeptics Are Winning - Too many of their opponents are intellectual thugs." see here.   "That tiny Heartland, with but a single annual conference and a few phone-book-sized reports summarizing the skeptical case, can derange the climate campaign so thoroughly is an indicator of the weakness and thorough politicization of climate alarmism."

Yes, some climate alarmists are intellectual thugs, but the bigger reason that climate skeptics are winning is because the Earth is cooling. How frustrating for climate alarmists!


Ken Gregory


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