Bay Area climate scientist named in disputed document
The climate corner of the Blogosphere exploded this week with the alleged leak of numerous documents from one of the nation’s most ardent opponents of action to slow global warming.
It started when DeSmogBlog published a series of documents that its editors said were leaked to them, revealing much of the playbook for the Heartland Institute. If authentic, the documents would validate longstanding complaints that corporate interests have been bankrolling a deliberate campaign of disinformation, aimed at casting doubt on legitimate climate science, and that Heartland has been an important channel for this campaign.
One of the documents, described as a confidential “Climate Strategy,” dated January, 2012, describes Heartland as, “leading the fight to prevent the implementation of dangerous policy actions to address the supposed risks of global warming.”
In a response posted to its website today, Heartland called that document “a total fake” and says others “may have been altered.” The statement concedes that some of the documents “were stolen from Heartland” by an unknown perpetrator posing as a board member. The statement goes on to threaten legal action against bloggers who published the documents.
The contested strategy document also takes aim at the published writings of Peter Gleick, who directs the Oakland-based Pacific Institute. Gleick has been among the most vocal scientists in condemning efforts by global warming skeptics to discredit well-established climate science.
Forbes recently posted a blistering opinion piece by Gleick, in which he assails the editors of The Wall Street Journal for publishing climate-denier propaganda while turning away guest editorials from scientists who subscribe to the prevailing view (which, once again for good measure, supports the greenhouse gas link to global warming).
In its coverage of the alleged Heartland documents, Forbes calls them “The Real Climategate,” a reference to a series of hijacked emails that were used in a 2009 attempt to discredit scientists working for the U.N.’s climate change panel. Forbes quoted the disputed strategy memo, which makes direct reference to Gleick:
“Efforts at places such as Forbes are especially important now that they have begun to allow high-profile climate scientists (such as Gleick) to post warmist science essays that counter our own,” the memo states. “This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out.”
In her piece for The Guardian newspaper, Suzanne Goldenberg provides a backgrounder on Heartland, its funders, and some of its efforts to influence how climate science is taught in American grammar schools.
The dust-up comes just a day before one of the world’s largest gathering of scientists and science educators convenes in Vancouver, BC. I’m on my way there tomorrow and expect some major buzz around this at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).