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Climate scientists debate: is Heartland leaker a hero or villain?

Is a scientist who adopts a fake identity in order to get information from a group that actively works to discredit the science a hero or a villain? That’s the question facing the scientific community, after the Heartland Institute leaked documents scandal took a surprising turn when well-known climate scientist Peter H Gleick admitted he passed the documents to journalists.

While Australian scientists want him seen as acting alone, one told Crikey today his actions demonstrate the frustration around the mainstream media’s failure to prosecute the case on climate science.

Gleick revealed his surprising story yesterday. He was anonymously sent a Heartland climate strategy memo a few weeks ago. In order to authenticate the document, he set up a fake email address pretending to be someone who works at Heartland and convinced the institute to send him a number of confidential documents outlining major donors and scientists on the payroll. Gleick then anonymously forwarded those documents and the climate strategy memo to journalists.

The scientist called his actions “a serious lapse of my own and professional judgment and ethics”: “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, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.”

Heartland President Joseph Bast responded in a statement: ”A mere apology is not enough to undo the damage.”

In his confession, Gleick also confirmed that apart from the climate strategy memo — which Heartland declared a fake from the start, and questions remain over who wrote the document and sent it to Gleick — the rest of the documents republished by DeSmogBlog and others were in exactly the form that he received them from Heartland.

Heartland began pursuing legal action against bloggers and journalists who had reported on the documents earlier this week, claiming it had been unable to verify the authenticity of all the documents.

Repercussions for Gleick’s actions came swiftly from the scientific and environment journalist community. Andrew Revkin, the Dot Earth blogger for The New York Times, wrote a scathing article on Gleick’s announcement, saying: “One way or the other, Gleick’s use of deception in pursuit of his cause after years of calling out climate deception has destroyed his credibility and harmed others.

At The Guardian, Scott Mandia, a professor of physical sciences and the founder of the Climate Science Legal Defense Fund, hailed Gleick’s actions: “Heartland has been subverting well-understood science for years. Peter Gleick, a scientist who is also a journalist just used the same tricks that any investigative reporter uses to uncover the truth. He is the hero and Heartland remains the villain. He will have many people lining up to support him.”

A Grist article captured the question: “Peter Gleick: hero or moral moron?

Reactions were mixed in Australia. Ken Baldwin, deputy director of the Climate Change Institute, was quick to differentiate Gleick’s actions from the science.

Certainly he needs to be seen as having acted as an individual rather than as a scientist,” Baldwin told Crikey. “The rest of the scientific community would view his actions in that way and not in any sense as representing the broader scientific community.”

But the University of Western Australia’s Stephan Lewandowsky, a cognitive scientist that studies how people process climate-related information, views Gleick’s actions as “something akin to a whistleblower”. Lewandowsky says many scientists have taken on a more journalistic role in recent years as the mainstream media’s investigative journalism departments have shrunk.

By and large owing to cutbacks and the funding crisis there just isn’t investigative journalism and in many ways scientists are now doing that,” he said. ”Some people will agree that Peter went too far, others will say ‘who cares?’ I don’t have a firm opinion either way. Certainly when it comes to the Pentagon papers, most people will view Ellsberg as a hero rather than a villain.”

Lewandowsky says the impact on the broader climate science community remains unclear. But he expects it will intensify the “war” between climate scientists and various ideologues and think tanks.

Rumours abounded before his confession that Gleick may have been the Heartland leaker. He’d been notably absent from his Twitter account and his Huffington Post blog. Jim Lakely, the communications director at Heartland, tweeted accusations about Gleick on Sunday:

I emailed invite to @PeterGleick to Heartland climate debate. He indignantly refused. Why? Disclose ur donors, he said. Hmm. #fakegate”

1st debate invite to @petergleick from me 1/13. Last “no,” disclose donors email 1/28. Email fraud to Heartland began 2/3. Hmm. #fakegate”

Crikey asked Lakely if he knew before Gleick’s confession whether he had been the leaker and whether Heartland had put any pressure on him to come forward. He replied: “Interesting questions … But you’ve seen our statement. Go with that. And may I suggest it’s time for Peter Gleick to answer some questions. Have you reached out to him? Can I expect some exclusive interview at your site in the near future? I’m sure he agrees with the ideological bent of your site, so he can trust you to be fair, right?”

Gleick has been contacted by Crikey but is yet to respond.

44
  • 1
    PeterY
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 1:32 pm | Permalink

    Hmm. Hero or villain? If you unmask a conspiracy by telling a lie does that make you bad? Do I care? No, not really.

    We’re on the brink of some godawful bad global karma here guys and we’re asking if he was bad for teasing out proof of an organised attack on the evidence. Phht.

    Verdict: Hero.

  • 2
    Hegemaniac
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 1:44 pm | Permalink

    There is no debate. Hero.

    This is double standards of the highest order from the Media, when the University of Bumcrack was hacked the sole focus was on the conduct of the scientists rather than the hackers. Have those hackers come out and apologised for unethical behaviour? Don’t think so.

    So, why focus on the leaker now instead of the story?

    I’ll re-iterate.

    Hero.

  • 3
    2dogs
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 1:55 pm | Permalink

    Yes it is amusing when phrases taken out of context from thousands of hacked emails to discredit the science make global news and are dissected for months on end as “proof” to a scam, yet “the rest of the documents republished by DeSmogBlog and others were in exactly the form that he received them from Heartland.” are viewed as the work of villainy.

    Hero!

  • 4
    Merve
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The none too humble Bob Carter, in reference to himself. ”The idea that a professional scientist - and a particularly distinguished scientist, if I may say - gives an opinion which has been paid for, is offensive.”

    Read more: http://www.smh.com.au/environment/climate-change/web-leak-shows-trail-of-climate-sceptic-funding-20120217-1tegk.html#ixzz1n4kl7upZ

  • 5
    James K
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    If a police officer gets a confession by lying in the interview, and offering up data that is not true… (all part of the clever game to get the confession) - does that make the confession invalid? No.

    If a journalist pretends to be someone else on the phone and gets information that way, is the information wrong? No.

    I dont see this as significantly different.

    I am not sure I like any of the three scenarios I just described. But lets be consistent here. It happens all the time.

    If you have things to hide and they come out… well,… there you go….

  • 6
    Michael James
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 2:14 pm | Permalink

    @ Petery Hmm. Hero or villain? If you unmask a conspiracy by telling a lie does that make you bad? Do I care? No, not really.

    We’re on the brink of some godawful bad global karma here guys and we’re asking if he was bad for teasing out proof of an organised attack on the evidence. Phht.

    Verdict: Hero.

    Sounds like exactly the same case could be made, using exactly the same words, for whoever exposed the ‘Climategate’ emails, which most people here on Crikey consider wrong.

    Gleick obtained material belonging to another, private organisation using deception and there is a strong care that he faked the supposed ‘Climate Change Strategy’ document.

    Both are not the actions of someone who is acting truthfully, so Gleick can be honesty categorised as a villain.

  • 7
    calyptorhynchus
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Hero, obviously, because he’s on the right side.

  • 8
    Altakoi
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    On the Villain side you have the ethics of having lied to a person about his identity to get them to divulge incriminating information - see undercover police, journalists, lobbyists, debt collectors, my local video library and thats just the ones working professionally.

    On the Hero side we have revealing information that would otherwise have remained secret outlining a deliberate strategy of misinformation which could influence decisions that affect the lives of billions of people.

    So minor subterfuge versus deliberate subversion of intellectual content and governmental process for financial gain? Is it even a question?

  • 9
    Hegemaniac
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

    @Michael James

    Nice job of trying to create a false equivalency and there is also no “strong case” that he faked anything except for the word of the Heartland Institute (who themselves seem very confused).

    I would personally classify Gleick as a whistleblower because he has thrown a light onto the inner workings of an organisation which undermines public safety issues (don’t forget tobacco) based on undisclosed vested interests.

    Whereas the bumcrack hackers were simply out to try to back up their own opinions on what they think is a global conspiracy amongst scientists (which was dissected thoroughly and found not to be the case).

  • 10
    Scott
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

    He crossed the line from Scientist to Activist. That is a big line to cross. How are people going to take his research seriously after this? He has been now tagged as a fanatic. Most of his professional collegues will be running away from him so their research doesn’t get tarnished by association.

    He was a guy who prided himself on his scientific ethics (indeed, he testified to congress about scientific ethics) and yet has decided to throw it all away to attack an private institute that even if he shut it down, would be replaced in a matter of weeks.

    Do the ends always justify the means? Or should someone on the side of “right” be beyond reproach?

    His career is down the toilet regardless.

    Verdict: Villain

  • 11
    SBH
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 3:11 pm | Permalink

    Both are not…’ Michael James?

    Neither are… perhaps.

  • 12
    Socratease
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

    Heartland President Joseph Blast

    LOL, Amber. Make that Joseph L Bast.

  • 13
    floorer
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    Task Force on Scientific Ethics / American Geophysical Union

    Chair
    Peter Gleick, Pacific Institute, Oakland, California / not any more Task Force on Scientific Ethics

    Chair
    Linda Gundersen, USGS, Reston, Virginia. See I’m a sceptic and when I see stuff like this it just reinforces my scepticism,for good or bad.Btw,a bit of basic googling an I ended up reading an article on the Atlantic ,have a look,bit more information than here.

  • 14
    Microseris
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 4:14 pm | Permalink

    This info should have been exposed by the mainstream media, who seem to be too busy facilitating doubt.

  • 15
    JamesH
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    I doubt the content of the documents is going to change anyone’s mind one way or the other, since it confirms what “the reality-based community” already strongly suspected (e.g. John Mashey produced another voluminous report on Heartland funding which drew much the same conclusions from entirely public sources about a week before Gleick’s Big Reveal) and the inactivists long ago achieved complete epistemic closure. Given that there will be few real consequences, neither “Hero” nor “Villain” seems appropriate.

    In order to achieve a temper-fuelled, short-term PR victory Gleick has damaged his own reputation for ethical behaviour. He’s won the flamewar but lost the battle. I don’t believe that public figures have to be faultless ethical paragon in all ways at all times, especially in areas unrelated to their public-figure status. Everyone’s human and Gleick has now done the decent thing by owning up and apologising (would that the ClimateGate hackers and spreaders would do the same). He’s had to resign from various boards and bodies, which strikes me as an appropriate slap on the wrist for this sort of misdemeanour.

    The real danger is if this incident is used to discredit trust in Gleick and his colleagues’ sterling work on threats to the world’s aquifers, drinking water supply, the potential disruption of the hydrocycle by climate change, and so on

    Verdict: Human, all too human.

  • 16
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 4:28 pm | Permalink

    @Socratease ah! thank you, updated.

  • 17
    fredex
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Now try asking essentially [from the headline to this article] the same question about Heartland.

    Climate debate [sic], is Heartland hero or villain?”

    Well lets firstly note that when the shoe was on the other foot, namelywhen a clearly illegal act of hacking private e-mails which were them taken out of context and misrepresented occurred, Heartland were loud in their praise of the perpetrator.
    They have changed their tune when they are the target.

    Secondly lets note that the so-called climategate e-mails showed that the scientists concerned were acting ethically and responsibly, but that, as noted by someone above, Heartland and others, including our media, did not have the honesty to acknowledge such.
    Then or since [Ok some made a brief passing mention which pales into insignificance when compared to the loud hoo har at the time].

    Thirdly what do these revelations show about Heartland?
    Note that the authenticity of the documents has been admitted by Heartland.
    Sure they have attempted to direct focus elsewhere but the material within the documents has been admitted both within Heartland statements and elsewhere [eg Watts admission he is paid by Heartland].

    Well they are funded [anonymously until now] by big tobacco and big oil and extreme rightists.
    That they fund other groups and persons around the world including one group within Australia most of whose funding comes from them.
    That they have a clear aim of political and ideological [not scientific] obfuscation and deliberate misinformation aimed at the public, school children and politicians et al.
    They are a lobby group for big polluters.
    Their status as a charity is problematic.

    There’s more, but that will do.

    Verdict?

  • 18
    David McRae
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Hero

    Detectives and journalists use deception and subterfuge against criminals and against people who are dishonest in order to get information that would be impossible or next to impossible otherwise to via honest means.

    The key test is lying to whom. Lying to a liar is permissible if it is to gain justice or informing the public. Lying to public is bad.

    The CRU mail hackers would also be heros too if indeed that had unmasked a conspiracy to distort science as Heartland dishonestly claims it does.

    So Heartland is dishonest (check out their website for smoking is not unhealthy rot) and thus justifiable to use subterfuge as the only probable way to inform the public.

    Gleik did a great bit of investigative journalism here. Shame our paid journalists give equal footing to these political lobbyists as they do actual published researchers.

  • 19
    Matt Hardin
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 6:08 pm | Permalink

    So he lied to get the documents but not about the documents or their contents? If an Australian journalist did this, they would get a Walkley. Why are there even articles like this? Could it be pressure from the plutocracy?

    Like many others posting here, I don’t remember a lot of similar articles after the theft of the CRU emails and the subsequent hatchet job.

    Verdict: Hero.

  • 20
    floorer
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

    Climategate scientists were working at a public university ,the e-mails were subject to FOI.They didn’t want to release their findings.Someone did it for them.

  • 21
    AR
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 8:07 pm | Permalink

    HERO! He’ll be excoriated by the sanctimonious, the corrupt & the self righteous with bulging closets of skeltetons.
    Would that there were more such people, willing to suffer opprobrium from the servants of darkness to do the right thing.

  • 22
    heavylambs
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 8:21 pm | Permalink

    The climategate email cache was not being sought under FOI,Floorer…it was hacked and distributed anonymously.

    What was actually being sought under FOI was data used in several papers and some processed and raw temperature data. UEA CRU stalled and denied requests according to the discretion granted them,but that data is now available….and none of the seekers have done anything with it analytically:no papers,no reconstructions.So I’d conclude that UEA CRUs instincts about the sincerity of requests was pretty good.

    My view of Gleick is that he has been rash-it’s well known that Heartland are bottom-feeders,and he’s damaged his career,but he’s my kind of fool.

  • 23
    James K
    Posted Wednesday, 22 February 2012 at 9:01 pm | Permalink

    My attempt to post this was stopped to be mod…ated. I will try again by changing one word. The Name of a famous bad man who caused the second world w__.

    let me try again, and my apologies when this comes up the second time:
    ……

    What a self righteous lot - those who think he was a villan. They must never tell a lie. Never do anything unethical!

    To lie to uncover truth… is that evil? To lie to save a life? To contribute to saving millions of lives?

    Were the folk who hid Jews from H____ - were they villians when they lied and said “no one living in my house!”?

    Were the midwives evil for lying to Pharoah when they said “the kids are born before we get there, sorry no time or opportunity to kill them”?

    To lie is to be human. To lie for a good cause is to be a good human.

    Ideally: lets never lie and just spread truth and good vibes everywhere we go. (Now go out and watch that very clever movie called “the invention of lying”).

    But if we must lie, then lie for a good cause, not an evil one.

  • 24
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    This isn’t the story. Heartland is the story. Who bankrolls the AGW deniers is the story and why. Don’t be distracted by the bluster and dust.

    They operate in secrecy … bit like the Crikey astroturfers and Menzies House. It is deeply sinister and subversive. And dumb.

    Anything that brings these cockroaches into view is heroic.

  • 25
    Suzanne Blake
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Where is Cash for Comments Flannery now Sydney dams are practically full, where he said they would be dry by 2009?

    That is a scandal, we have a huge energy hungry de-sal plant that will rust after its mandatory trial period ends on June 15.

  • 26
    floorer
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    HEAVYLAMBS,your point doesn’t change my basic point.They were keeping stuff to themselves,someone (they still don’t who) decided they needed a hurry up. Public institution not private. If you haven’t been already I suggest you read something from outside OZ or outside Crikey. The view is at the very least broader.

  • 27
    floorer
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    New York Times / Andrew Revkin. The Atlantic / Megan McCardle. For those that are interested.

  • 28
    DMX PRIME
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    The thing is Floorer, nothing was revealed. There was a kerfuffle about a “fudge factor” in the code, which actually was not a secret at all, since the “fudge factor” (which is computer geek talk for “calibration”) was already the subject of a public research paper by the guy who supplied the algorithm for the code.

    And beyond that there was some data which was under a non-disclosure-agreement because it was comercially purchased by the lab and thus releasing it would have been illegal (However the CRU had the decency later to negotiate its release), and some scientists shit-talking about pseudoscience cranks who had been harrasing them with FOIs.

    *MULTIPLE* inquiries where launched, and *EVERY SINGLE ONE* found the scientists innocent of all misdemeanors, except they where told to be a bit more careful slagging people off in email. At least one of the inquiries actually complemented the scientists on conduct.

    So the end result of “cimategate”? total non-event except in the paranoid imaginations of the denialists.

  • 29
    heavylambs
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

    Floorer,the distinction between what was sought from UEA CRU under FOI and what was indiscriminately thieved is important, and you’re not the first person I’ve read getting this wrong. The data sought could be used to do science — if it was used professionally and transparently. The emails stolen have been filtered and used to damage individuals and institutions. Big difference.

    Public institutions are subject to conditional FOI. Private ones are not. Private lobbyists attempt to influence public policy for their clients gain and I see no ethical reason why their corporate donors should be allowed anonymity. The document theft has revealed that some of their contractors are liars,thinking them safe behind the poor disclosure standards that protect too many private businesses. What the hell rights does ‘private’ entitle you to if you are seeking to play on the global commons and the public purse?

    As you saw in the twitter comments from Jim Lakely,Gleick is said to have demanded Heartland disclose their donors as a condition to accept an invitation to talk at one of their ‘climate debates’. People with expertise in the fields that Heartland claims to ‘research’ know that they mishandle,cherry-pick and misdirect.

  • 30
    AaronH
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 11:40 am | Permalink

    Regardless of your position, one thing is certain.

    If you think Peter Gleick was a villain for leaking the Heartland documents, you probably think the WikiLeakers who released the University of East Anglia “Climategate” emails were heroes.

    If you think Gleick was a hero for uncovering the motivations behind Heartland, then you probably think the hackers who broke into the University of East Anglia were criminals.

    Personally, I don’t think he’s quite a hero, but I sympathise with him. He can’t really be called a hero, because it was no secret that Heartland had an agenda, and that most of the “sceptics” that are active in the media are on the payroll of “Independent” thinktanks (often the same ones who bankrolled the “smoking is good for you” campaign of misinformation). We also largely had an idea who their donors were before this leak.

    He didn’t really release anything new or unexpected. There haven’t been any real revelations here. All he did is drum up some media coverage, which has now quickly devolved into “meta-news” about whether his actions should be celebrated or castigated.

    On the other hand, the University of East Anglia leaks uncovered absolutely nothing of value, other than the fact that academics can be grumpy and don’t like criticism of their work. Anyone who has stepped inside a University knows that. All the “dynamite quotes” from the Climategate leaks were basically just journalists taking things out of context. There was literally nothing of value in those emails.

    Let’s hope the next time someone obtains documents via deceptive or criminal means, they at least make sure there is something insightful in there before they release them.

  • 31
    heavylambs
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 12:36 pm | Permalink

    AaronH,the documents that Gleick obtained DID provide MUCH INSIGHT into Heartland’s activities: they gave us names of backers,including Koch Industries,oil interests and a couple of tobacco firms. They told us who was on retainer and payroll for work on the the fake-science NIPCC report,putting previous public claims in an ‘interesting’ light,to say the least. One fellow seems to have been in breach of his employment conditions in accepting Heartland’s cash. Another has simply lied when he stated he did not receive funding from fossil-fuel interests.

    They tell us that Heartland has commissioned a US K10-12 high school education disinformation campaign more sophisticated than their last attempts to spike the curriculum,and who has been hired to do it.

    They tell us that they are funding some of Anthony Watts’ activities,and that they have sent money to disinformation groups in Australia and NZ.Information that suggest a breach of the charitable-status conditions.

    Heartland’s response is to inject squid ink into the water: fixate on one document,insist it is fake and contains ‘obvious and gross mistatements of fact’,carry on accusatorily about illegalities,and hope like hell people don’t peruse the rest of the material..which actually confirms that the info in the alleged fake is genuine.

    Meanwhile they call in ideological mates to attack Gleick with rhetorical charges,while coming up with nauseating stuff like “Heartland is an oasis of independent thinking in a desert of close-mindedness”….visit their website and keep a barf-bag handy.

  • 32
    heavylambs
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Gleick is not really a ‘well-known climate scientist’,though a user of climate studies.His basic degree is in engineering and applied science — I expect hydrology or the like — and he’s known for his water use issues and policy/risk assessment work.

  • 33
    AaronH
    Posted Thursday, 23 February 2012 at 9:50 pm | Permalink

    HeavyLambs:

    All that has been well known for a long time. For example, it has been an open secret for years that several notable Australian sceptics have been funded by certain US thinktanks, including one very prominent one by Heartland. None of that is news.

    Yes, the documents “confirm” what we already knew, but nothing will come of that confirmation, partly due to the way the documents were released, and partly because funding by vested interests has become so common in academia that it is no longer considered noteworthy.

  • 34
    Girma
    Posted Friday, 24 February 2012 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    Global warming is cyclic with an overall warming trend of only 0.06 deg C per decade => http://bit.ly/Aei4Nd

    The overall warming since 1850 is due to the uniform decrease in the length of solar cycle => http://bit.ly/ww4hWd

    The oscillation in global mean temperature is due to ocean cycles => http://bit.ly/xsDETW and http://bit.ly/nfQr92

    Man made global warming is not supported by the data.

    AGW is not science. It is pseudo science.

  • 35
    Fran Barlow
    Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 at 8:39 am | Permalink

    Hero in my book, for all the reasons given above.

  • 36
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Girma -

    So all these observations - including the ones listed by Pete above such as the Wall Street Journal article that show a pattern of sustained and rising rates of warming and consequent biological effects are fibs? Some sort of global conspiracy of boffins run by the UN to establish world socialism? Aliens? What?

    Have a read of the graph Pete sent … what it shows is that there is an overall rising trend in observations. And that the three models used for predicting the complex chaotic outcome are getting closer to the measured trend line. We are getting better at explaining observable fact.

    Anything else is just wishful thinking Girma. Like it or not, the place is getting hotter.

  • 37
    heavylambs
    Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Girma,none of your links can be extrapolated to your claims for them. Your first is output from parameter torture.

    Humlum and friends are overreaching:too little data,area is too small,:we have a ‘correlation’ therefore we have causation=crap.

    Latif is being fitted up by self-declared rejectionist Gosselin,as well Gosselin misdirects on IPCC attributions over last century and a half. Typical blog bullshit.

  • 38
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 at 10:18 am | Permalink

    Heavylambs,

    Was just about to say that meself!

    The sun-spot piece is actually quite interesting… not at all what Girma thinks it is.
    Quite clever really looking at lagged effects of solar activity on the earth’s temperature but a HUGE degree of statistical massaging … interesting model if tiny and will be of some use to short term weather forecasters.

    The interesting thing is the consistent pattern of warming evident in all the data from all centres over the course of the study. Have a look at the little site specific graphs… all nice (heavily smoothed) slopes to the right.

    The rest of the stuff … as you say - blog rants.

  • 39
    Mike Flanagan
    Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 at 4:46 pm | Permalink

    I fail to see how we can crucify Dr Gliek without addressing the problem that many of our privately funded Think Tanks and Foundations present. It seems the The Heartland Foundation can refuse to identify who their major annual funder is while Dr Gliek is expected to wear considerable public approbrium for making efforts on the publics behalf to expose their funders that influence their opinions. Whilst these foundations are able to hide their sources of funds we are not able to assess their truth and credibity attached to their arguments and agitations
    We see it in our own midst, with the Cato Institute, often able to access our ABC on the Drum. Whilst most people would not realise the Cato Institute is an USA foudation established by Francis Koch. So what credibity have they on social issues let alone the Climate Change debate.
    These institutes and Think Tanks should be forced to identify their funders on a public register and it should be the practise of journalists and media producers that this information is presented on each and every occasion where they are interviewed or quoted
    It is also time that all journalists attending press conferences or doorstops identify who they are and who they work for when askinfg questions, as they do at the National Press Club.

  • 40
    floorer
    Posted Saturday, 25 February 2012 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    This is about the high ground. The message. Gleick has added to the scr_wing of that. Everybody reading this knows as well as I do they need to bring the population along ‘cause they vote. What do you think the ratio believers versus sceptics is in the US (still the largest emitter?) and how will this help? An if people don’t know who he is that can be rectified. One more nail.

  • 41
    heavylambs
    Posted Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

    Floorer,It’s pretty difficult to see how anyone can argue that the high ground belongs to Heartland. Lobby groups with poor/no disclosure of donors basically white-ant democracy,unless you believe that simple wealth entitles people to better access to our politicians and a bigger say on legislation. Heartland is part of ALEC, an invitation-only corporately funded forum in which conservative legislators and companies draft legislation to be taken to congress,out of sight of the US electorate.

    Don’t fall for the message from the useful idiots mobilising their disinformation networks . The frantic focussing on a claim that Dr Gleick ‘faked’ a document [amongst the many that they concede are genuine] is a classical squid ink tactic.Even if Gleick did ‘fake’ it,it’s clear that the information within it is taken from the uncontended material. It’s clear Heartland protesteth too much,and it’s also clear that they are posturing,because they have much to lose through disclosure in a court battle.

    The ‘Institute’ is by any fair assessment breaching its charitable status rules,as it is clearly lobbying politically,and the ‘educational’ materials it produces are simply nonsense,without the endorsement of any of the US’ educational and academic bodies. We now know some donor names: tobacco and oil companies feature [remember that Heartland was pushing against tobacco regulation for years…another area where vested interst triumphed over reality for years].

    Heartland and its Orwellian-handled ilk have been ‘screwing the message’/dumbing America on behalf of anonymous donors for years,and has been helping create the unreal state of US politics that allows people like Rick Santorum to attack science relatively unchallenged. They have the upper hand in the political arena,but they can’t buy the laws of physics.

  • 42
    Peter Ormonde
    Posted Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    Heavylambs,

    Would that Heartland were restricting their dumbing down to the US… seems they are on a global mission.

    As for these laws of physics, these guys can afford the best lawyers in town - never had a legal problem that couldn’t be fixed (if you know what I mean).

    Anyway, if it gets too hot they’ll just relocate to the ski-lodge at Aspen or buy Alaska or somesuch. No biggie.

  • 43
    floorer
    Posted Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    I don’t know Heartland from a bar of soap, I’m only talking about Gleick & co. I have no problems believing Heartland is a front for fossil fuel etc, although I did read Microsoft was a contributor,don’t know what’s in it for them. http://thinkprogress.org/green/2012/02/17/428111/exposed-the-19-public-corporations-funding-the-climate-denier-think-tank-heartland-institute/

  • 44
    floorer
    Posted Sunday, 26 February 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

    Crikey your mod rules are beyond a joke.

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