The past week a great deal of ink has been spilt and bytes used covering the theft (through fraud) and release of private documents from the Heartland Institute. Some of the documents were real, but the main document was evidently fabricated – yet this is the document that sparked an acclaimed climate researcher, a strong voice for the argument that humans are causing global warming, to commit fraud to obtain further documents and then release them to the public. The Heartland Institute has responded well and I need not defend them.
Sadly (for him), Peter Gleick, the researcher at issue, could have obtained a good deal of the information he sought through a request for Heartland’s 990, a tax document that non-profits have to provide to any who request it. Rather than going through legitimate channels to obtain what information he could or, better still, questioning the veracity of the initial document he received — and there were many reasons to question that document, among them the fact that it was delivered to him anonymously — using someone else’s name, a Heartland board member — he requested internal documents. Despite all the sound and fury surrounding this episode over the last week, really, nothing new was learned in the memos. As Time Magazine summed it up: “The alleged memos seem to confirm that the Heartland Institute is trying to push it’s highly skeptical view of climate science into the public sphere, which is only surprising if you’ve paid exactly zero attention to the climate debate over the past decade.”
Gleick admits that his actions were wrong and apologized but said he did it out of “frustration.”
One has to ask, frustration over what? Is he perhaps frustrated with the fact that he and his fellow climate alarmists have, as of yet, been unable to convince Americans that the scientific case for climate action is settled and stampede them into calling for policies that forcibly restrict energy use? Daily polls show more American’s are coming to doubt the argument that human actions are causing a warming that would result in catastrophic climate change. Or perhaps he is frustrated with the fact that an increasing number of scientists – scientists with as good or better credentials and reputations as those who argue that humans are causing warming — continue to highlight the weakness, discrepancies and contradictions that continue to plague global warming theory and demonstrate that the case in far from closed. Perhaps Glieck and his ilk are frustrated because they constantly bray that scientists and think tanks that show skepticism concerning one or another critical point of global warming theory are exceedingly well-funded; when the reality is, and Gleick knows it, these scientist and think tanks are very modestly funded when compared to the billions that are spent to on climate research, politics and on politically favored technologies by governments, billionaires and corporations who will benefit from climate policies, and the non-profit foundations and think tanks that want to use fear of global warming to reshape the Western economic system into what they believe would be a more humane, equitable (socialist), global version of society. A society where international bodies, with bureaucracies staffed by “experts” beyond the reach of crass democratic politics and mass opinion will steer the ship of global-state in the direction of the “true” public good.
Time magazine notes that if anything, the Heartland memos debunk the idea of a well-funded “. . . vast right-wing conspiracy,” behind global warming skepticism.
Who says the Progressive era has passed?
For follow-ups on this see:
Romm’s Rage Shtick: http://davidappell.blogspot.com/2012/02/romms-rage-shtick-now-playing-in.html