Last week what were reported to be internal fundraising plans and strategy papers from the hard right anti-science Heartland Institute were leaked to the media.
Heartland said the documents – which seemingly reported on plans to scare teachers away teaching climate science – were stolen and/or were fakes.
Now a scientist called Peter Gleick has come forward top confirm that he obtained the documents from Heartland by deception.
Gleick has apologised for his actions and has been subject to a lot of harsh criticism from fellow scientsists. He has, however, also confirmed that the documents are genuine and rather blown Heartland’s attempt to deny that out of the water.
I am in two minds about the ethics of all this. Some years ago the Guardian newspaper brought down the career of a UK Cabinet minister, Jonathan Aitken, through the use of what they called a “cod fax”: they used deception to find out that Aitken, while minister for defence procurement, had had his hotel bill paid by an arms lobbyist. Aitken denied the whole thing, fought a defamation action, lost and ended up in jail for perjury.
Seemed to me that the Guardian’s deception was very much in the public interest. And I find it difficult to say that Gleick’s exposure of Heartland – who have had a major impact on the debate in the US – was not motivated by a similar desire to do public good. But Gleick was not a journalist and – this is pretty important – Heartland were not breaking any laws (or ministerial codes of conduct).
- Eco-fraud: Global warming crusader admits lying, stealing, smearing (michellemalkin.com)
- Peter Gleick – Confessions of an Activist (noconsensus.wordpress.com)
- Heartland Institute claim anti-science document is a fake (cartesianproduct.wordpress.com)
- You: Scientist Peter Gleick admits he lied to get climate documents (latimes.com)
- Crossing the Line as Civilization Implodes: Heartland Institute, Peter Gleick and Andrew Revkin (thinkprogress.org)
- The morality of unmasking Heartland (theconversation.edu.au)
- Peter H. Gleick: The Origin of the Heartland Documents (huffingtonpost.com)
- Heartland Institute Document Leaker Comes Forward, Maintains Documents Are Real (science.slashdot.org)
- Peter Gleick: The Origin of the Heartland Documents (littlegreenfootballs.com)
- Climate Scientists To Heartland Institute: Stop Whining (thinkprogress.org)