A Heartland Institute statement raises questions about "climate strategy" memo's origin

According to Peter Gleick, he was moved to impersonate a Heartland Institute board member by a memo he received in the mail, the details of which he wanted to verify. Since the publication of both the memo and the internal Heartland documents, however, there have been many questions and claims about the source of that “climate strategy” memo, with The Heartland Institute claiming it was fabricated and Heartland’s allies claiming that Gleick must have written it himself. However, one oddly specific paragraph in a recent Heartland statement, written by Heartland communications director Jim Lakely, raises a number of questions about Heartland’s prior claims of innocence with respect to the authorship of the memo.

The paragraph in question is reproduced below:

An internal investigation by The Heartland Institute has confirmed that the “climate strategy” memo was not written by a staff member, did not originate in The Heartland Institute’s offices, and was not one of the stolen documents. We are still waiting for the report of a forensic investigation firm.

This is what Heartland probably wants you to think after you read this paragraph. They want you to believe that an internal investigation cleared everyone associated with the Heartland Institute of having written the climate strategy memo and that it wasn’t sent to Peter Gleick from any of Heartland’s offices, and that an external investigation into the memo’s source is ongoing. And maybe this is exactly what Heartland means. But to paraphrase Inigo Montoya from The Princess Bride, that paragraph doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means. Let’s look closer at the actual language to understand what it does say.

First, what does The Heartland Institute mean by “staff member?” Heartland wants you to think that it means anyone associated with Heartland – board members, staff, consultants, everyone. But a little looking at the About page on The Heartland Institute’s website may indicate that “staff member” has a very specific meaning at Heartland, instead of the general meaning you might think. If the left sidebar is accurate, then Heartland separates “staff members” from “senior fellows” from “policy advisors” from “board members.” So did a board member or senior fellow write the “climate strategy” memo? Technically, the paragraph has nothing to say on the matter.

Similarly, the paragraph doesn’t address third-party contractors or former employees of Heartland who might have had access to the documents and had an axe to grind against his or her former employer. I emailed Lakely yesterday asking specifically for clarification on the “staff member” question, but he has not yet responded.

Second, what does The Heartland Institute mean by “originate?” According to Merriam-Webster online, “originate” means either “to give rise to; initiate” or “to take or have origin; begin.” More simply, the Heartland statement specifically means that the memo was not created in Heartland’s offices. What it doesn’t mean is “came from,” which is probably what most people will think when the read that paragraph .

Third, why the focus on “The Heartland Institute’s offices?” I don’t know about anyone else, but I work from home and telecommute sometimes, but I don’t consider my home as part of my employer’s offices. Similarly, if I’m reading my work email remotely from a hotel while I’m on travel, I don’t consider my hotel room to be part of my employer’s office either. So the paragraph in question doesn’t really say anything about those possibilities either.

Combined, saying that the memo “did not originate in The Heartland Institute’s offices” means only that the memo was not written in the official offices and physical building(s) of The Heartland Institute.

Fourth, the sentence about the “forensics investigation firm” implies that the Heartland is having their internal investigation validated by an external firm, and that looks good. But simply saying that Heartland is waiting for an external report doesn’t mean that the report is actually on the source of the memo.

Finally, what exactly did the “internal investigation” entail? Was it an in-depth audit involving interviews with employees, searching through fax and copier records, and double-checking email “sent mail” folders? Or was it a cursory email sent out to Heartland employees (or possibly even just the official “staff members”) asking “Hey, did any of you write this memo?” There’s no way to know without Heartland explaining what the investigation actually entailed, and to date they have not done so.

So, with these four observations in mind, let’s look at that paragraph again:

An internal investigation by The Heartland Institute has confirmed that the “climate strategy” memo was not written by a staff member, did not originate in The Heartland Institute’s offices, and was not one of the stolen documents. We are still waiting for the report of a forensic investigation firm.

It’s possible that this paragraph could mean that the memo wasn’t fabricated by anyone working for Heartland, and Heartland did a thorough investigation before deducing that. That’s almost certainly what Lakely and Heartland want you to think it means. But it could also mean something very different.

It could mean Heartland looked deep enough into outgoing emails to verify that the “climate strategy” memo wasn’t included in the batch of documents that were ultimately leaked to ThinkProgress, DeSmogBlog, and others. It could mean that Heartland did no more than email some questions to their official “staff members” and that none of them admitted to having written the memo. It could mean that Heartland consciously chose not to ask anyone other than official staff (most of whom were unlikely to have had access to the memo at all) for reasons of plausible deniability.

It could mean that Heartland learned that a Board member or consultant or irate former employee did write the memo at home or in a hotel but didn’t want the PR blowback that would come with admitting that the memo was authentic. It could mean that the memo’s author claims not to have leaked it, but that Heartland isn’t sure of that and has hired the “forensics investigation firm” to determine if a printout was left on a printer and run polygraph tests on anyone who had access to the memo. And it could mean that, after learning this, Lakely and his PR staff carefully crafted a sentence that was 100% factual and utterly dishonest at the same time.

Just to be clear, I have no inside knowledge of how thorough Heartland’s internal investigation was, where the memo did or did not come from, who wrote it, or where. After all, Lakely didn’t respond to my request for clarification. And I’ll admit that The Heartland Institute’s long history of institutional hypocrisy, deceptive behavior, and dishonesty could have biased me against their possibly benign statement. So I asked S&R’s resident public relations expert, Samuel Smith, to comment on my analysis. He said “The more meticulously crafted the official statement is, the harder I look at it,” and he confirmed my analyses of the possible meanings of “staff member” and “did not originate,” saying of the latter that it meant only that “the first draft was composed off-site, which could be anywhere from a board member’s home office to the Starbucks across the street.”

Smith also wanted to know more about the forensics firm, wondering if they are independent or likely to say whatever their customer wants them to. He was of the opinion that “when you’re that careful about your actual words, it means that you’re trying to keep the reader away from what isn’t being said.” Finally, while Smith couldn’t assume that the author of the paragraph was corrupt, he said “by the time I wade through the rest of the smoke and mirrors in that paragraph I have every reason in the world to be on guard.”

We don’t know who wrote the “climate strategy” memo, when it was written, where it was written, why it was written, or how it came to be mailed by postal service to Peter Gleick. And contrary to The Heartland Institute’s written statements, they have offered no proof that it wasn’t someone associated with The Heartland Institute. Given the oddly specific language in Heartland’s most recent statement about the “climate strategy” memo, it’s safe to say that the memo’s story won’t be finished until we know a great deal more about it’s lineage than we do now.

Image Credit: Climatecrocks.com

59 replies »

  1. Really good analysis, Brian. And let me elaborate just a tad. I’m always up-front about the fact that I work in the world of corporate marketing and communication. I have in the past worked for some enterprises that I don’t feel great about, and the truth is that I have accumulated some skills along the way that I’m not proud of.

    This is one of them – the ability to leave the audience hearing something that you did not say because you CANNOT say it without lying. The thing to understand is that if you can say something, you SAY it. If your product is ranked #1, you SAY it’s ranked #1. If you need the audience to believe your product is ranked #1 when it’s ranked #6, then you wind up with mealy-mouthed language like this Heartland release. What they want you to believe is that these docs aren’t theirs. But they don’t say that. Which means they CAN’T say it. Which means that the docs ARE theirs.

    The good thing about my dark side communication skills is that I can smell a smoke-and-mirrors job a mile away. And this one stinks to high heaven.

  2. A question for journalists:

    Did any of you ask the same followup questions?

    I over and over hear spokespeople say things in interviews along the lines of “I would like to tell you X” — and nobody ever seems to assume that’s literally the truth and follow up.

    • It’s hard for me to ask followups when I can’t even get a response at all. But yes, I tend to ask followups. Whether they get answered or not is a totally different issue.

  3. Er, no. They assert it is fake, a fraud. They are stating publicly that they will engage in litigation and file criminal complaints with those who promulgate the idea that it is in fact real. So all you “analysis” is just straining for something that isn’t there. You’d like to think it’s real so it must be real. It’s not. It was so fake in fact that (as the Atlantic has reported) people immediately were able to identify and call out the forger; Peter Gleick.

  4. @ Holly Stick

    That desmogblog article is terrible. Doesn’t really show anything. It was fine (even good or great!) for them to release the docs but much of their reporting since has been full of spin.

    As it stands now we have no good evidence showing that the memo is real. And since I don’t really trust Heartland I don’t know if it is fake (I wont take their word for it). But that doesn’t change the fact that Heartland has very good plausible deniability here. It certainly is plausible that the memo is fake.

    The point is that we simply don’t know who wrote that memo and unless we get more information we can’t know.

  5. This sounds plausible, but I’m still not convinced one way or the other. Operations like Heartland seem to make it their business to sound all lawyery even if they really have nothing to hide 😉

    What would be more likely to settle it, would be an independent forensic investigation of Gleick’s computer(s), printer(s) and memo hard copy. I wonder how likely that is to happen.

  6. The reason Peter Gleick was “outed” is very specifically because of how the faked memo was written. Compare his comments on amazon.com, his writing on Forbes.com and then compare it to the text of the faked memo. This is the *only* reason that fingers were almost immediately pointed in his direction. It is laughably obvious. I had never heard of the guy before Feb 14th. But in comparing writing so many things literally just jump out at you.

    Only one of two things is possible:

    1) Heartland double faked out Peter Gleick and suckered him into committing a crime

    2) Peter Gleick wrote the document himself, and scanned it in to eliminate meta data that would have shown it was written on his computer

    If someone could actually look at his computer we could forensically determine if it was printed on his printer. Likely temp files would still exist in the print buffer, in his text editor program etc. If it goes criminal this will be done. If it goes legal it might get done. If Peter Gleick tries to get rid of his computer or otherwise format his drive etc, it will look awfully bad.

    The take home question is this: If all of these bloggers have been so easily fooled by Peter Gleick on this document, which to any thinking person is so obviously written by him, are they also so easily fooled about the subject of global warming?

    When, not if, but when we find out that it was Peter Gleick who authored the memo, will all of you CAGW supporters be willing to re-think your assumptions and at lest entertain the idea that people are out there actively misleading you?

    Are all of these bloggers willing to admit that there is a valid scientific debate going on in the scientific literature right now in regards to the causes of the recent warming? That the science is not yet settled?

    To anyone who is willing to really thing about this, more points to ponder:

    If Peter really had this “2012 Climate Strategy” memo first, why not go to bat with just that? It is by far the most incriminating document. It is where all the money quotes are that are appearing in the press.

    Next: The person who faked up the memo clearly did not understand Heartland’s keying system for types of donations. The donations from Koch had nothing to do with Global Warming. They were for healthcare. Look at the memo again that shows $25,000 from Koch and next to it you see a coding for health care. Ditto with the $200K that they were hoping to get in 2012. For healthcare. Not global warming.

    The writer of that faked document did not know this. Hardly the work of an insider writing a confidential memo. Also not consistent with item # 1 above unless these guys are absolutely Karl Rovian, Machiavellian brilliant about the double fake out. How would they know in advance that Peter Gleick would come back weeks later and commit crimes in an attempt to get more information? They could not have known that. It is too implausible. Following this line of “logic”, if Heartland planted the document on purpose, all they succeeded in doing was revealing a lot of inside information, written in the worst light possible.

    If this is the logic you all employ in your efforts to understand the subject of global warming, I can understand why you are so convinced about CAGW. You are easily fooled.

    The writing style, the over-use of hypens, using the term “anti-climate” and “anti-science.” Peter Gleicks forbes blog alone he used “anti-climate” and “anti-science” over 20 times.

    Peter Gleick’s fingerprint is all over this faked document.

    The more reasonable scenario (occam’s razor), is that he got the documents from Heartland, which is not at dispute, and they were not good enough. He wrote the faked document to put the worst possible spin on the other documents he obtained from Heartland.

    Why follow tortured logic when it is so simple and so obvious? Like CAGW, if you torture the data enough, it confesses. But it isn’t the truth.


    • Kozlowski, you’re missing the point. I’m not asking who wrote the memo, because I don’t know who wrote it. I’m asking if Heartland’s statement that they didn’t is acceptable on it’s face, and based on my analysis of the very careful wording of the paragraph I discuss in the OP, I say that it’s not. Any PR expert or lawyer can run rings around the truth

      As for your specific points, your “only one of two things is possible” claim is a false dichotomy/black and white fallacy. Have you analyzed the writing patterns of everyone who had access to that to all the other documents that the memo references? Anyone with access to those documents could have written the memo. That would be the entire Board and all their administrative assistants at a minimum. Without applying the same stylistic analysis that has been applied to Gleick’s writing to all of their writing styles too, you can’t say for sure that the style ONLY matches Gleick’s.

      Not only that, but your rejecting the possibility of the memo being the result of an accidental release. There’s a reason that corporate emails have disclaimers about confidential data and “if you have received this information in error, please delete this email.” Imagine for a moment the following hypothetical situation: Someone with access to the documents prints them out in the business center of a hotel but, running late for a meeting or power lunch, leaves them on the printer accidentally. The memo’s author comes along to print his or her own stuff, but notices that someone left some pages on the printer. The memo author picks them up, recognizes the official logo, and knows enough about The Heartland Institute and human-caused climate disruption to recognize their value to an activist. Fearing that the person will come back for the printouts at any moment, the memo author leafs through the document fast and grabs what looks to be like the juiciest bits, throws them into a memo, and then puts the printouts back on the printer before they’re discovered missing. Later, the memo author does some googling to determine who to send the memo to and discovers that Gleick’s name has been in the news recently. The memo author drops the memo in the mail to Gleick, and the rest we know from there.

      Any number of similar scenarios are also plausible – an office cleaner found the original documents on a Heartland printer while cleaning overnight and, not knowing what was important, snagged what looked interesting. Or an employee who had access to the documents was laid off after the January Board meeting and was pissed off enough about it to snag a bunch of bits and pieces from the document, and then send them to Gleick via postal mail so it would be harder to backtrack.

      Each scenario has it’s problems, of course, but so does the Gleick scenario. Remember, Gleick knows so much about Koch, Heartland, and climate that it’s unlikely that he would have mistakenly included Koch health care funding in a climate strategy memo. And I suspect that, psychologically speaking, there’s a world of difference between the mental state required to forge a document and the mental state required to lie about ones identity over the phone.

      And let’s not forget either that Gleick had enough integrity to own his ethical lapse and admit it publicly. That’s a level of integrity that very, very few of his critics have. Heartland doesn’t. Watts doesn’t. Montford doesn’t. McIntyre doesn’t.

      And if you’ve ever trumpeted the illegal publication of the CRU emails but have decried the allegedly illegal acquisition of the Heartland documents, that would be an ethical lapse on your part. Would you have the integrity to admit it?

  7. @Dan Moutal

    We also have no good evidence showing the memo is forged, unless you trust the Heartland Institute.

    The memo is highly correlated with authentic documents that originated at the Heartland Institute. I say it is real until proven otherwise. You know, looks like a duck, walks like a duck, is a duck.

  8. This article reminds me of the birthers. Sure, we just got our answer, but if we ask is there a hidden meaning behind each individual word in a sentence, can’t we convince ourselves of the opposite?
    Seriously, show a bit of credibility.

  9. If you really want to know if the document is genuine, ask Gleick. Does he still have the physical document? Where did he scan it, on the printer in his office? Ask him. We may be able to verify as well if it was originally printed on the same printer. Ask him.

    More likely that he will say that the document was destroyed long ago. Which would make no sense if he actually got it in the mail.

  10. “The writing style, the over-use of hypens”

    “Over-use” would be an overuse of hyphens, so I suggest Kozlowski is a prime suspect based on Kozlowski’s own logic. I also don’t see overuse of hyphens in the strategy document.

    I also suggest that using Mosher’s parenthesis logic, which he described as the “most damning”, would point to whoever wrote the authentic fundraising plan document as being the writer of the alleged forged climate strategy document. Look closely at that one. The style fits.

    Kozlowski also asserts the terms “anti-science” and “anti-climate” are evidence. First, “anti-science” appears nowhere in the strategy document. Second, “anti-climate” appears there, but on the Forbes blog, PG uses “anti-climate science” (sometimes with a 2nd dash) in every case as far as I can tell. If there’s a case or two that uses just “anti-climate”, maybe it’s in the comments section. One could speculate that it’s been abbreviated due to the informality of blog comments, a bit of laziness perhaps, less likely to happen if someone was taking any real crack at forging a document.

    Then we have the “evidence” that because Gleick is named in the document, he must have wrote it to elevate himself, which is supremely bizarre. On the contrary, that’s the last thing he’d want to do if forging a document and doing the leak – bringing himself in as a prime suspect. Gleick being named in the document fits his version of the events better.

    There are some concerted efforts to claim the doc is a forgery and implicate PG, but they aren’t convincing, and the same or better rationale implicates HI. No one with any objectivity or real skepticism is forming hard conclusions at the moment.

    The email exchanges might be useful. My guess is that for HI, it’s about plausible deniability at this point.

  11. Kozlowski, you’re missing the point. I’m not asking who wrote the memo, because I don’t know who wrote it. I’m asking if Heartland’s statement that they didn’t is acceptable on it’s face, and based on my analysis of the very careful wording of the paragraph I discuss in the OP, I say that it’s not. Any PR expert or lawyer can run rings around the truth

    Except in the analysis, you forgot to parse one, important phrase:

    and was not one of the stolen documents

    How can it be more clear that the memo was not from Heartland if it was not (according to them) part of the document package sent to Gleick?

    • TJ, I didn’t dive into that phrase because Gleick and Heartland both agree on that one. I didn’t feel that there was any need to parse that phrase for that reason.

      It doesn’t follow, however, that the memo couldn’t have been from someone at Heartland given it wasn’t in the package with all the others. As an example of this, let’s say you send an email to a coworker with an attachment that’s a distillation of key points from 10 other documents in your possession. Your coworker then goes asks to see the originals, and you respond with the 10 originals. Clearly both came from you, just at different times. Something similar, possibly including an unknown third party, could have happened here.

      We don’t know enough details to say what really happened at this point, and unless someone admits to being the author of the memo, we may not know enough details for a very long time.

    • TJ: This is actually the one part of that paragraph that’s a bit odd. At a glance, it does look like the conclusive statement you take it to be. As a corporate communications pro, here are the questions I’m considering. First, if the truth is that THIS IS NOT OUR DOCUMENT, then why don’t they say that. Trust me, in this kind of environment, you make full use of every scrap of straight up fact you have at your disposal. You ONLY resort to weasel language when you can’t say it straight up. So the thing I take away is that they very expressly do not deny authorship or ownership of the document.

      Second, as I note in my earlier comment, I look hard at the context. This paragraph is infested by weasel language. This establishes a context of bob-and-weave and signals to the reader that something is up.

      Third, placement. Let’s say that I’m the Heartland PR hack here. And say, hypothetically, that this particular doc is, in fact, not ours. That it is a forgery. And further, that the rest of the docs in question are ours. So what I have to work with is one solid piece of evidence on my side and several other things that I need to distract the audience from.

      The smart way to handle that situation is to lead with the forgery. It’s the first item in the paragraph and I hit hard with clear, simple, unambiguous language. THIS IS NOT A HEARTLAND DOCUMENT. IT IS A FORGERY. Then I use the directness and the credibility of tone that I establish there to provide cover for the tap-dancing that follows. I use the fact to create an illusion of credibility that makes my specious smoke-and-mirrors seem more likely.

      Instead, they bury this item behind lots of obvious bullshit.

      So as I see it, you either have what Brian and I are suggesting – that the doc is somehow legit, although it isn’t clear what path it followed to Gleick. And we can speculate as to these other paths, but for now let’s wait and see. Or you have Heartland placing its very life in the hands of a PR hack who, quite simply, has no idea what he or she is doing. The wording and structure of the graf makes this hard to believe. It’s not as good a job as I or some of my former colleagues would have done, but it is still professionally done.

      I fully acknowledge that I have no first-hand information before me. But this is my world and what I’m offering is an informed opinion that results from 25+ years of experience. In the end, the facts are still being sorted out and we’ll probably know for sure, at some point, whether I’m right, wrong, or a bit of both.

  12. It will be interesting to see Heartland’s response to the questions raised here. How long should it take?
    Writing style? Have you compared Joe Bast’s? Is he a “staff member”?

    • Pete: Shawn Lawrence Otto has done a quick writing style check himself using the same software Watts recommended at WUWT yesterday. Otto writes about what he found, albeit with a very small sample size, here. His conclusions – the memo more closely matches that of Joe Bast, Heartland’s president, than it does Gleick. But again, that’s with a REALLY small sample size.

      It’ll be interesting to see how this one plays out as the sample size grows and if it turns into a more controlled analysis.

  13. ” No one with any objectivity or real skepticism is forming hard conclusions at the moment.”


    “How can it be more clear that the memo was not from Heartland if it was not (according to them) part of the document package sent to Gleick?”

    No one is claiming it was part of that package. Gleick himself said that memo was sent to him first via snail mail.

  14. Each scenario has it’s problems, of course, but so does the Gleick scenario. Remember, Gleick knows so much about Koch, Heartland, and climate that it’s unlikely that he would have mistakenly included Koch health care funding in a climate strategy memo.

    Using that logic, you also exonerate everybody at Heartland.

  15. It doesn’t follow, however, that the memo couldn’t have been from someone at Heartland given it wasn’t in the package with all the others.

    Then why does Gleick claim it was in the document package with every other document?

    • TJ, Gleick didn’t claim it was in the document package with all the other docs. He sent it to DeSmogBlog, ThinkProgress, and whoever got the email in with all the others, but in his statement he says he got the memo first, via postal mail, and it was in the process of trying to verify the memo’s contents that he lied about his identity to Heartland:

      At the beginning of 2012, I received an anonymous document in the mail describing what appeared to be details of the Heartland Institute’s climate program strategy. (source)

      You don’t have to believe him, of course, but that’s still what he says.

  16. Instead, they bury this item behind lots of obvious bullshit.

    This is the first paragraph from Heartland’s statement:

    Yesterday afternoon, two advocacy groups posted online several documents they claimed were The Heartland Institute’s 2012 budget, fundraising, and strategy plans. Some of these documents were stolen from Heartland, at least one is a fake, and some may have been altered.

    I find it hard to call that “buried”.

  17. If the faked memo was posted to Gleick, I sure hope he kept the envelope

    Could help his defence and maybe even help show who the faker is, be that Gleick himself or even HI

  18. @Kozlowski

    > This is the *only* reason that fingers were almost immediately pointed in his direction.

    You are a liar or an idiot. Gleick was fingered as author because his name appears in the document. This is a well-documented chain of events. All the circumstantial evidence against Gleick has come after that initial supposition.

    “Anti-science” is a common phrase, and “anti-climate” appears once on Gleick’s Forbes blog, in August last year.

    Weak, seriously weak.

  19. First, if the truth is that THIS IS NOT OUR DOCUMENT, then why don’t they say that.

    They did. This is from their 2-15 statement:

    One document, titled “Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy,” is a total fake apparently intended to defame and discredit The Heartland Institute. It was not written by anyone associated with The Heartland Institute. It does not express Heartland’s goals, plans, or tactics. It contains several obvious and gross misstatements of fact.

    That is about as unequivocal as you can get.

    • TJ: This is called “walking it back.” If you say something unequivocally one day and then a few days later you’re equivocating like crazy, it suggests that something has changed. This isn’t at all uncommon. In fact, it’s the sort of thing I’d expect when crisis strikes an organization that has no onboard crisis expertise. Early comments are usually a case study in how to do it wrong. Then they go out and get help, and those people handle it from there on out.

      I don’t know that this is what has happened here, but the equivocation arriving a few days after a reflex unequivocal denial is actually MORE evidence that something is up.

      Look, I’m not invested in this. I was asked by Brian, who knows what I do for a living, what I made of the statement. It’s just that – trying to figure out what’s going on given the PR evidence. If it turns out that the statement is a forgery, fine. My question then becomes a professional one – how does whoever wrote that statement actually have a job? Because what they did is make their client look more guilty, not less.

    • It’s true that the 2/15 statement is unequivocal, but at that point they likely hadn’t had time to run their internal investigation. The analysis I posted yesterday is on their statement AFTER they ran that investigation, and as I point out, their language is quite a bit different.

      I’m considering looking at Heartland’s various public statements and seeing how they trend with respect to vagueness, forcefulness, etc. These two data points potentially tell two very different stories, however.

  20. From 2-20, the same day as your “walking-back”, from the Heartland Institute:

    “An additional document Gleick represented as coming from The Heartland Institute, a forged memo purporting to set out our strategies on global warming, has been extensively cited by newspapers and in news releases and articles posted on Web sites and blogs around the world. It has caused major and permanent damage to the reputations of The Heartland Institute and many of the scientists, policy experts, and organizations we work with.

    “Gleick also claims he did not write the forged memo, but only stole the documents to confirm the content of the memo he received from an anonymous source. This too is unbelievable. Many independent commentators already have concluded the memo was most likely written by Gleick.

    Still want to hang your hat on “walking-back”? By accusing Gleick of authorship of the memo, they are putting the issue on the “front-burner”, no?


    • TJ, that later comment is quoted from Joe Bast, president of The Heartland Institute. The paragraph I analyzed was written by Heartland’s PR people, as was the 2/15 statement. So it looks like the PR experts may be trying to walk it back, but Bast clearly can’t without losing his credibility.

      What Heartland is doing is trying to distract people from the contents of the documents by focusing on the man who obtained them. That’s why they now have the domain “fakegate.org” (which my employer’s IT security system warned me was not secure with respect to grabbing identifying information off my computer – interesting, that….) – the more they keep people focused on Gleick and the supposedly fake memo, the more they control the messaging.

      Thankfully, there are a lot of people who aren’t going to be diverted. Me, I’m interested in Heartland’s ongoing deception, dishonesty, and institutional hypocrisy, and Denialgate/Heartlandgate is a treasure trove of evidence that they continue to be deceptive, dishonest, and hypocritical.

  21. Brian,

    I don’t really disagree with what you are saying. Most press releases are word smithed to the nth degree. The Heartland press release does leave a lot of wiggle room. I too wonder why it was worded so specifically like that. Words in press releases are not chosen by accident – so insofar as that goes, agreed – it is odd.

    But the other side of the equation, presuming that Heartland had a hand it’s its authoring doesn’t add up for me.

    I personally, having been a hacker in a previous life, have the personal belief that all information should be free. I support Wikileaks, I support FOIA with the climategate leaks. I am glad the Heartland documents are out there. Please give us more !!

    I wish investigative journalism was more aggressive. The seem to have been reduced in recent decades to regurgitating press releases. Very few things ought to secret. Sunshine is the best disinfectant. All this whinging about double standards is just background noise.

    I am still quite confident in my personal belief that Peter Gleick will be forced to admit that yes, he personally authored the faked document.

    Just like with global warming, and the lack of solid empiric evidence that humans are the cause, so too here, the evidence which is available to us points in the direction of Peter Gleick as being the author.

    I will eventually be proven right on both points. No CAGW, and Peter Gleick wrote “2012 Confidential Strategy”

    If and when I am proven right on these two points, will you be willing to revisit your assumptions about the strength of the evidence supporting CAGW? There is plenty of peer-reviewed data out there, hundreds of papers, which offer alternative theories for the recent warming as well as theories which question the degree to which humans may or may not be responsible.

    The evidence against CAGW is out there.

    The evidence that Peter Gleick is the author of the faked memo is out there.

    You can do the research and comparisons your self.

    Brian: What is your best theory as to the provenience of the memo as of right now, with all that you currently know? Who had the motive and opportunity?

    For me the answer is so obvious so I am a bit baffled why anyone still thinks that Peter Gleick did not write the memo.

  22. IOW…

    I think you are willing yourself to be deceived on both counts (CAGW & Gleick) based more on ideology than on the weight of the evidence.

    I’m certain you would disagree and counter that I am the one who is guilty of just the same.

    So there we are.

    I know we do not agree, but thank you for disagreeing without being disagreeable 🙂 and letting my comments through.


  23. Kozlowski: “…There is plenty of peer-reviewed data out there, hundreds of papers, which offer alternative theories for the recent warming as well as theories which question the degree to which humans may or may not be responsible…”

    Where, exactly? Peer-reviewed? Really?

  24. Something else to consider that could be more evidence, albeit more of the circumstantial variety, that Gleick’s account of events is correct, and ironically, this comes from 2 pieces of information that deniers think boosts their case (remember that we’re dealing with a group that builds a narrative first then spins everything into fitting that narrative, right or wrong). Readers here can verify this and provide their thoughts.

    First, note that Gleick indicated he received the memo at the beginning of 2012. This doesn’t necessarily mean Jan. 1st, but let’s assume this implies within the first 10 days. HI indicated the leaks (they indicated multiple ones) occurred earlier in February.

    HI recently sent to Anthony Watts email correspondence between Gleick and an HI spokesperson regarding invitations to HI events. See his blog for that. PG’s replies are dated on the 16th of January, and one later in the month of January. HI sends out such invites to real scientists each year, hoping it will boost their stature. In both cases, Gleick declined the invitations, greatly emphasizing HI’s lack of funding transparency as a key reason. Obviously, if PG received the strategy memo that targets him and mentions anonymous donors (without much further detail), he would be especially concerned and inquisitive shortly afterwards.

    In another instance, deniers brought up duel with Forbes’ Taylor as “evidence” of the faked memo. HI lawyer James Taylor has a Forbes piece within a few days of their first invite to Gleick, filled with all sorts of anti-science nonsense. Gleick responded (normally he doesn’t comment on Taylor’s posts), spends a brief bit of time on the problems with the science, refers Taylor to another commenter’s more detailed rebuttal, then to a greater extent emphasizes once again HI’s lack of tranparency, and asks Taylor where HI gets its funding from, noting that the Pacific Institute is open about such things.

    All of this evidence might cause one to suspect Gleick would be a suspect in the leak, but we know that much. But it also supports the notion that Gleick did indeed receive the memo, in that it was a catalyst for his ramped-up concern over HI’s funding.

    Now I’m sure over the years one might find comments from Gleick on funding of “think tanks”, which would be an argument against this being good evidence for Gleick’s account, but the sudden specificity with HI, tenacity, timeliness, and multitude of public comments on the issue seems to support his account.

  25. Well, I still maintain that if you do a text analysis on Peter Gleick’s Amazon.com reviews, his blog on Forbes.com and compare that to the writing style in the faked memo the parallels are so obvious they just jump out a scream at you.

    There is no question that Gleick lifted some words and sentences from other documents. Of course he would do that. But the ones that offer the spin, the sentences that offer a framework for understanding the other documents are the ones that stand out.

    What anti-CAGW person is going to refer to themselves as “anti-climate” ??

    Here are examples of his writing on Amazon.com .


    Here is his Forbes.com blog:


    Do your own comparison.

    – He over hyphenates words that most of us mere mortals would never hyphenate. He is obsessive about hyphens.

    – He uses the very odd turn of phrase “anti-climate” repeatedly.

    The only question remaining is how long will it take Gleick to ‘fees up that he is also the author of the faked document?

    He is putting his followers through hell. The mental gymnastics required to be a Gleick supporter these days must be exhausting and about to get worse. How do you walk back from that? Defending him after he admits to the final bit of fraud? Wow.

    He has discredited his entire cause. This bothers me greatly because his group has also conflated the teaching of creationism with the teaching of climate skepticism. THere is no relationship between the two. Evolution is a robust set of theories that has been tested by time. Any thinking person would agree. Climate science is in it’s infancy, it’s predictions have failed to materialize and the high mandarins have done great disservice to their “cause” by claiming that all things are known and there is no more debate to be had.

    Unfortunately there never was a debate. When did it happen? It was simply pronounced as fact, we were all told we need to decarbonize our economies and that was it. No national debate, no discussion of other means of coping if in fact it was true. Problem, solution, crammed down our throats. Pardon me for gagging.

  26. Lotharsson,

    I cannot believe that so many people can be fooled like this. Think about it! The faked memo was written by Gleick, lifting whole sentences from actual Heartland source documents. There was added editorializing and it is ONLY this additional part which can be fairly compared to Gleick.

    Using software to analyze the entire document is useless unless you tell the software that Gleick lifted entire sections from Heartland documents. Isolate out those areas of the text and you might actually get a “signal.” Of course the text is going to match Heartland because it was primarily lifted from Heartland documents. Doh!

    I’m just floored that you guys really believe this stuff. I do not doubt your sincerity – I really do not. What I don’t get is why is this so obvious to me and not to you?

    The parallels between this issue and CAGW are stunning. With CAGW us “realists” are basically saying that you cannot tease a signal of human cause out of the data. There is too much “noise.”

    WIth this brewing scandal here, we have the same issue. People on one side are trying to torture logic until it comes to the conclusion they want. You don’t even realize how absurd your theories are to a rational person.

    Occams razor. What is the more logical thing to have happened? Heartland purposefully (or not) leaking a document which was inaccurate? Or Gleick misunderstanding what he was reading in the source documents when he crafted the faked one. Gleick made an error when he missed the coding that showed Koch donating for Healthcare and not for Global Warming. This is Gleick’s error. If someone at Heartland created the document they most certainly would not have made this error. LOOK AT THE DOCUMENTS! Koch is coded for healthcare! Why did Gleick put Koch in the climate studies section? Because he misread the documents that’s why!

    The faked document is so obviously a spin. I see that spin in the media daily. But I guess because you guys all buy the spin I guess you don’t see it for what it is.

    When will you wake up? Is it even possible?

  27. #42 Shawn Otto accounted for this:

    One possible flaw not considered in the above methodology is that the program could be attributing too close of an authorship match to Joe Bast and Heartland Staff because the strategy memo contains a sentence that also appears in the authentic Fundraising Plan: “Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective.”

    I next crontrolled for this possibility by deleting the sentence in question from the climate strategy document, which I resaved as Climate Strategy Memo 2 (docx) and reran the same three analyses, using the original, full strategy document as one of the possible known authors, and got the following results:

  28. Dan,

    Doh! My bad. I didn’t read his article and I should have. I only read the summary discussed by others. Lesson: Go to the source documents before opening your mouth 😉


  29. I’m just floored that you guys really believe this stuff.

    I’m just “floored” that you misread my comment badly enough to come to that conclusion – and by your similar unsubstantiated but confidently stated assertions about this document (not to mention various off-topic assertions including your false claims about the science which render some of your claims moot, and your use of the non-scientific undefined term CAGW).

    But there you go.

    If someone at Heartland created the document they most certainly would not have made this error.

    Your faith in Heartland staff’s inerrancy is touching (especially given their well-documented penchant for publishing errant claims about science) as is your faith in your ability to conceive of all possible explanations for the available evidence and thereby proceed by elimination.

    Ever considered how well the elimination process works if you have unknowingly failed to conceive of another explanation? (Hint: there are several floating around the blogs…)

    So, back to the document. I think it would be valuable to analyse a wider selection of source material and see if there is a better method for handling the issue that chunks of the document may have been cut and paste from elsewhere. But not having analysed them for cut-and-paste myself, does anyone know if are other identical chunks have been identified or was that sentence that Otto excised in his second analysis the only one?

  30. The “2012 Climate Strategy” letter has all the earmarks of having been written by someone who is pro-CAGW. Someone who is on the other side does not think or write like this. However someone like Gleick probably does presume that we do think and write like this.

    The paragraph regarding efforts in classrooms has this odd sentence:

    “… two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.”

    Of course that is fantastic spin and makes great headlines. Trying to get teachers to not teach science! Wow – shocking! But the reality is that Heartland is trying to get teachers to teach that there is a debate and to discuss both sides. Science of both sides will be used. No one would ever write a sentence like that in a legitimate context. It is patently absurd.

    This next paragraph has a lot of very curious things in it.

    “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. This influential audience has usually been reliably anti-climate and it is important to keep opposing voices out. Efforts might also include cultivating more neutral voices with big audiences (such as Revkin at DotEarth/NYTimes, who has a well-known antipathy for some of the more extreme AGW communicators such as Rornm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters).”

    Gleick is high profile? Really? I had never heard of the guy until this scandal broke. Forbes an influential audience and reliably “anti-climate”? Why would someone who disagrees with CAGW call themselves “anti-climate”? That term is a favorite of Peter Gleick and is denigrating. Why would Heartland call themselves “anti-climate”, using the same word that Gleick uses as a pejorative.

    “…it is important to keep opposing voices out.”

    Then why invite Peter Gleick to your conference to speak? Heartland wants open debate and discussion. That is the goal and point of their efforts.

    There have been several well known dustups between Judith Curry and Peter Gleick on Curry’s blog Climate Etc. Here Gleick implies that Curry and Revkin can be “cultivated.” Seems like a bit of revenge on his part, slandering Curry and Revkin amongst the faithful followers.

    Peter Gleick is not high-profile as the faked memo claims. Only in his mind. There are lots of other high profile writers out there that I can think of. Revkin certainly comes to mind.

    Charles Koch is of course the bogeyman who is guaranteed to get press. The faked memo specifically mentions Koch and says (erroneously) that they had *already* contributed $200K in 2011 when in fact the document named “2012 Fundraising Plan” shows that it was a hoped for amount for 2012, not an actual amount for 2011 as the faked memo states:

    “We will also pursue additional support from the Charles G. Koch Foundation. They returned as a Heartland donor in 2011 with a contribution of $200,000.”

    Would Heartland make a mistake about $200,000 that they never actually got and the year in which they never got it?

    Very key to this is the coding Heartland uses internally for the type of donation. Heartland deals with several different causes and donors give money for specific causes.

    This is how they code – from the document “2012 Fundraising Plan.pdf”, (Page 24 has the reference to Koch and the details.)


    One can make educated guesses as to what they mean, but Koch actually told us so we know that HCN means Health Care.

    This is the quote from Koch regarding this incident:

    “documents say that the Charles Koch Charitable Foundation contributed $25,000 last year and was expected to contribute $200,000 this year.” That is not true. As stated in a public statement released yesterday, the $25,000 grant that the Charles Koch Foundation gave Heartland last year was specifically directed to a healthcare research program and has nothing whatever to do with the climate research program at issue. The statement also made clear that the Foundation has made no further commitments of funding to Heartland.


    So Heartland and Koch both state that the donation of $25,000 was for Healthcare. However Gleick would not have known, or if he did know he chose to spin it so he could associate Koch, red meat for anyone on the left, with his “anti-climate” agenda.

    This statement is from the fundraising document and Heartland confirms it is real:

    “Heartland pays a team of scientists approximately $300,000 a year to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered,”

    This is how Gleick rewrote it for spin:

    “At present we sponsor the NIPCC to undermine the official United Nation’s IPCC reports and paid a team of writers $388,000 in 2011 to work on a series of editions of Climate Change Reconsidered.”

    Notice how “scientists” becomes “writers.” It is denigration pure and simple.

    Another big red flag is the use of the word “undermine.” No one would use such a word, even in a private internal document. But it sure got quoted in the news and blogged about and tweeted!

  31. @ Kozlowski

    At this point all you are doing is speculating. Could the memo be a fake? Yes it could. Could it be real? Yes it could.

    We simply don’t have enough information. Your reasoning doesn’t change that basic reality.

  32. “Gleick is high profile? Really? I had never heard of the guy until this scandal broke. ”

    I find that hard to believe. Most deniers are familiar with him, as he’s an active communicator, also libeled around various blogs. He’s certainly considered high profile among the denial crowd, as he’s one of only “dozens” of scientists HI has extended invites to over the years and most recently last month, according to James Taylor (an HI representative and also Forbes voice).

  33. Dan,

    Yep, it is speculation, there is no proof as of yet either way. It should be pretty interesting these next few weeks to see what comes of this.

    Ultimately science always self-corrects. It is inherent in the scientific method. However in the short term it is highly subject to the whims of “the consensus” and politics. Never more than with climate science. However I have seen the same thing in other fields. Archaeology, high energy physics, immunology. The same type of name calling, ad hominem attacks, being anti-science, saying that this is high school level science that everyone knows etc.

    The fact is that there is debate, but it is being suppressed by the media, by bloggers and by very vocal politicized scientists who desire a certain outcome more than they desire to get at elemental truths. I find that very sad.

  34. Kozlowski,

    You have created a very conceivable scenario. You make numerous assumptions that you take to be almost self evident. Things like Gleick changing “scientists: to “writers”, that No-one would use “undermine”, and other specifics that you maintain make it almost impossible for anyone else to have perpetrated this.
    It is a quality I have found in arguments with denier about climate change. they are SURE about their assumptions, and sure about people’s motivations, and sure that those that disagree with them are being foolish ( I am usually called much worse for being skeptical of sunsupported speculation).
    Now I actually consider your scenario a fairly possible one, so I will not be shocked if you are right. And I am certainly disturbed by what he has already admitted he has done. And not knowing him, I considr it quite within the realm of possibilty that he is capable of what you say.

    A couple of things, that to me, point against your scenario that I don’t think have been brought up. If he DID forge the document, he had to be extremely confident that it would NOT be discovered, especially if he put his own name into it prominently. He would ALSO have to be either very confident or delusional that the source can’t be found now, even though ALL attention is focused on him and the real possibility that he wrote it. If he DID write it and is shown to have written it, he will not only have totally destroyed his career, but also seriously damaged ACC science possibly as much as climate-gate. He would again either be aware of the damage and the tremendous loss of respect from everyone except the most ardent alarmists or be delusional. There is nothing in his writings that indicate, to me at least, that he is a deranged ideologue with no concern at all for the actual effect that such a continued deception would cause. Someone like Moncton, it is pretty clear, is so caught up in his superiority, that he would happily bring down anyone with him. Gleick knows how much he has lost already. Is he willing to pretty much ruin his entire life for this? After all much of his work has been around ethics, and forging a document and then lying about it AFTER admitting to unethical behavior would cement his name as infamous and iconic as such for years to come.
    Also I find it interesting the Heartland, or at least Bast, was willing to threaten so many people with legal actions, even just ordinary citizens who wrote him angry letters, as well as the rather ridiculous attempt to make all the blogs remove the offending documents. After all, they have trumpeted climate gate for several years over and over again, and in this case it was someone from Heartland who released the information. Whether a crime has been committed or not isn’t completely clear as far as I can tell. The idea that their internal security for confidential documents is that bad is pretty silly and embarrassing, and the exposure of this information might be causing Heartland some serious PR and financial problems. That possibility makes it likely to me that Bast is pretty pissed off and unable to control his reactions. He might be in serious trouble because of this. Whereas Gleick, and least in the little seen from his responses does not seem to be acting irrationally or out of control. If he WAS an ideologue it is possible that he would have been trying to spin this with him as a hero, doing necessary dirty work to expose the evil Heartland – willing to go to jail for the true cause. It is therefore odd that he has expressed remorse. Of course it is possible that he only admitted this because he was going to be found out anyway (as was starting to happen), but that itself argues for his not being irrationally arrogant about thinking he could get away with the forgery. I also think it strange that none of the people working with him would have clues about this type of personality disorder.
    Also you are assuming that major figures in Heartland are all genuine and honest, and would not be party to any cynical tactics. That seems like a big assumption. they also believe CAGW advocates are the enemy, and it does not seem outlandish that someone there would not be an ideologue with rather irrational views which they would not express in public, but might in an internal document, even in ways that you might think make no sense.
    What I find interesting in all of this is that the climate-gate emails revealed scientists quite open about their feelings and exposing negative characteristics, and behaviors. But these were all focused at known enemies. people who had a history of attacking them, their work and promoting what they believed to be not only flawed science but enemies promoting inaction against a potentially devastating problem. Yet deniers do not acknowledge this, nor do deniers denounce those that have repeatedly lied and distorted that reality of what the emails actually say. I have seen some people glorify Gleicks deceptions but the vast majority of “alarmists” have either condemned him or expressed very mixed responses. Again Heartland had no qualms about the clearly illegal hacking of CRU (or if you insist the illegal “release” of documents), As I recall no alarmists tried to put the genie back in the bottle by saying denier sites shoud be prosecuted for publishing. The sites pretty much just got attacked for distorting and taking things purposefully out of context. So far I have not seen much taking out of context in this case, just attributing motives that may or may not be accurate.
    Finally your analogy to evolution seems absolutely ridiculous to me. It makes me think you have no idea of the degree of argument that has been going on in evolutionary theory pretty much non stop since Darwin. Even the advent of the modern synthesis had Evolutionary biologists arguing sometimes viscously about almost every single detail of almost every aspect of evolutionary theory. I actually dropped out of evolutionary biology as an undergraduate in the late 70’s because I couldn’t handle the confusion of all the varying sub-theories and the infighting about such tiny details. Have you not head about sociobiology? About Evolutionary psychology? About Punctuated Equilibrium? About Evo Devo? That science is MUCH more in disarray than climate science, which much less consensus. that is because it is actually more complicated and is also an historical science, but with much less evidence available to it regarding it’s history. Yet I am quite confident that whatever changes and revolutions come to biology in 100 years, all scientists will agree that species evolved through explainable biological processes from common ancestors. in the same way, whatever mistakes or unexpected changes in climate science, I am quite sure that in a 100 years scientists will say that atmospheric CO2 causes overall increases in global temps due to forcing of h2O and the other basic factors that physics determined about the same time Darwin was on the Beagle.

  35. Is there actually a Heartland Institute coding for climate change? Even if there is, would anyone, especially the Kochs, really want to have their name directly associated with it? And are they really interested in the Health care issue? Why do you assume that the coding really reflects the aims of the donors?

  36. Kozlowski,

    Sorry about the evolution rant, it related to what someone said in another article that I conflated with your comments because they were similar.
    However I know some climate scientists and read what I can understand of the science in very diverse fields related to climate and i do not see this desire to find a certain outcome. I DO see a defensiveness and attachment to the theory as it is understood, but in no way have I seen scientists undermine their work in order to hide results they didn’t like.

  37. Tonydunc,

    Thank you for taking me seriously. Much appreciated.

    No doubt what I write is pure speculation. In the absence of facts, we have all done much speculating. It is a fascinating subject and a story beyond anything that Hollywood or a good writer might imagine. I find it sad that Gleick, who is obviously a brilliant man with great talents, has been brought low by these circumstances. No one wishes ill on their fellow man. We are all fallible.

    I am not 100% certain of my assumptions, but think they make the most sense in context with other facts that are known. Sort of like fitting in missing puzzle pieces.

    The part that is stunning to everyone is the how and why. Surely he never thought he would be caught or he never would have done it. Now he is in full spin control, with advisors telling him what to do. He has to save CAGW science and much is riding on this outcome. Which really sucks because it actually has zero to do with science yet the credibility of a whole group rests on whether he lied about making the faked memo or not.

    This is what will be said:

    If it is proven that he is the author of the memo, it will have exposed a whole lot of people as having been suckered by a climate scientist. Bloggers, scientists, writers, journalists one and all. If they are so easily fooled by Gleick, if they were so gullible to believe everything he said, even with the “proof” before their eyes, then they must also be gullible in regards to the true facts of global warming.

    Not that it is true. Not that they are even related, because they are not. Science is about true facts. But those doing the interpretation and explanation for the general public will have been exposed as buffoons.

    I have posted in another forum that the faked letter, which in my opinion was written by Peter Gleick himself, tells us far more about Peter Gleick than it does about Heartland.

    How was he so unable to write from the Heartland perspective. It was a sophomoric attempt. I have seen forum trolls who have done a far better job than the faked document.

    His attempt to hide his tracks were by printing the document and then scanning it in again. His lack of technical skills are evident. There are so many forensic means by which to match documents to specific printers, scanners and computers. But he did make an attempt to hide the metadata by printing and scanning the document.

    On the spectrum of true believers, I have to put Monckton and Gleick in the same camp, although at extreme opposing ends of that range. Monckton writes with a bizarre sense of superiority that I find repulsive. Gleick is demeaning to those who disagree with him. In the end, both are arrogant in the extreme. Derangement? Possibly so. Time will tell.

    My own personal position is that the science is simply not settled. Svensmark questions how much the sun has to do with climate. Nucleation studies at CERN are ongoing, investigating the process of cloud formation. Read up on how hard it was for Svensmark just to get CERN to do the studies, how it was delayed year after year, and you wonder why so many hurdles are put in front of scientists who want to study anything that might refute the current compendia of “received wisdom.”

    “If he WAS an ideologue it is possible that he would have been trying to spin this with him as a hero, doing necessary dirty work to expose the evil Heartland – willing to go to jail for the true cause.”

    He is doing exactly that. His spin masters, high powered lawyer & PR men, formerly in the employ of Al Gore are doing that for him as are the blogs that support him.

    I believe that a whole lot of people are about to be very severely disappointed. He may be able to keep up the pretense of only being half-guilty for a little while. But eventually the truth always comes out and we will either have another stunning confession or we will have proof of his authorship of the faked document.

    The only question is about what will Heartland do. If they can get the FBI to pursue the case criminally then Gleick is toast and we will know everything. If they cannot and only have civil remedies available and follow through with a lawsuit, then perhaps we will know more but not all.

    I suspect that Gleick is hoping it will not go criminal, that he can keep his head down and hope for the best in a civil court case. His mea culpa was less of an abject apology than yet more spin, which he is very good at and now he has the high powered help too.

    Many people have speculated that Heartland cannot possibly sue Gleick because discovery will allow Gleick’s lawyers to go on a fishing expedition. Having been personally involved in many multimillion dollar lawsuits (unfortunately), I can tell you that discovery is always limited in scope and documents can be sealed, available for review by litigants but not to the general public. So Heartland might not be as gun shy about suing Gleick and others (DeSmog, Pacific, etc) as you might think.

    There are many public statements which will draw DeSmogBlog into this lawsuit, which will draw the Pacific Institute into it, as well as Revkin, and a few other bloggers which claimed to have first hand knowledge of sources or methods or contacts (various claims at various times with clear implications.) They will get sued if Heartland follows through. Discovery will show the connections and the story will be put together. Any competent lawyer can do this sort of thing and the truth always emerges. Even with people deleting files, shredding documents etc, the story always emerges.

    Truthfully I had never heard of Peter Gleick before this happened, and I had barely heard of Heartland and most definitely had never heard of Joe Bast. I know know of Heartland tangentially because I self identify as libertarian. I’ve never seen their website or any publications. I do read Realclimate, Climate ETC and WUWT regularly so I’m familiar with the debate. WUWT linked to Desmog so I started reading that blog and somewhere along the line someone linked here so I started reading this blog as well. I would like to think there are some pretty reasonable people here and the fact that you are conversing with me give me hope that you do not think I am totally deranged, just that we disagree. And that is okay. I would not be writing this epic post (I mean in length, not brilliance 😉 if I thought it would be ignored.

    Heartland certainly could have made the faked document and mailed it to Gleick. But doing so would have been far more damning because they would have tipped their hand. Gleick would have gone to press with just that document alone. The other documents really say very little. Truly it makes them look pretty bad the way it was written.

    I’ve heard of punctuated equilibrium, read the theory and it certainly makes sense to me. Not sure if it is true, but there is a logical basis for it. The same is true for so much of science. You have to be able to hold multiple theories and sub theories in your head and weight them as to probability and accept that they may all be true, none true or some true and that newer data will lead you. There is a lot of debate within evolution , and I for one cannot even fathom how inert matter forms into DNA and how that evolves etc. But my lack of ability to imagine how it is possible does not mean it didn’t happen. Comparing the debate between evolution and creationists to the debate between CAGWers and “deniers” I think is a mistake.

    In my mind there is no rational debate one can have between someone who says that god made everything, we were created, vs. someone who follows science and accepts that evolution is our best guess as to the truth. Details within the study of evolution will be refuted, clarified and modified over time as we learn more. It goes in fits and starts, sometimes backwards, but inexorably over time science does move forwards.

    In climate science, it is my belief that CAGWers have hijacked the subject, proclaimed that debate is no longer acceptable, that anyone seeking debate is a “denier” and anti-science. It is profoundly troubling for me to read and hear people say that. Peter Gleick is one of the most vocal proponents of the “denier” meme. Is he unbalanced? Perhaps so. Why call someone like me a denier? It is denigrating to those who died in the Holocaust and it cheapens the word. Questioning science is our right. It must be done. I am thankful for the brave scientists who have stood up for the truth all of this time. For Judith Curry, for Roger Pielke (Jr & Sr) for Svensmark and the many others who are still working diligently on the actual science.

    In recent years we have found out that the cloud cover has lowered. This is very strange and so far is not anticipated in CAGW theories. We have seen recent global cooling. Is it a natural cycle? Is it due to sulphates and pollution particulates from China? We have had new science which shows we might have underestimated the effect of solar geomagnetic activity effecting cosmic rays hitting our atmosphere, creating cascades of particles which nucleate in the process of cloud formation. How much does our underestimation of this variable factor into the models for global warming?

    This is new science which is ongoing. It needs to continue. Blocking theories or denying debate is not the answer.

    There is no question we are putting an awful lot of CO2 in the air. The consequences of this are unknown. I would support any reasonable actions to prevent this pollution from happening. Clean coal, more nuclear, natural gas. But let it be market supported and not driven by big government action. I would probably be more radical than most environmentalists. I think we ought to remove humans from the natural world’s food chain and just produce our own food, much as we already do with cattle, chicken etc we need to do with fish, so we can stop depleting fisheries. We need to do a better job of managing our aquifers, which we drain to grow cheap corn which is not sustainable for more than a few more decades. Those are real environmental problems we need to be addressing. CAGW has stolen all of the air from the room. We are fighting a monster that does not exist. Manbearpig.


  38. “Turboblocke, February 25, 2012 at 5:57 am :
    Is there actually a Heartland Institute coding for climate change? Even if there is, would anyone, especially the Kochs, really want to have their name directly associated with it? And are they really interested in the Health care issue? Why do you assume that the coding really reflects the aims of the donors?”

    In the document 2012 Fundraising Plan.pdf, available here:

    Click to access (1-15-2012)%202012%20Fundraising%20Plan.pdf

    You can see under the column “Project”, various designations. FIRE, BTN, HCN, GO, ITTN, SRN, etc…

    It would stand to reason that the HCN next to the “Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation” stands for Health Care “N” something or other.

    – Koch has publicly stated they gave only $25,000 to Heartland for Healthcare
    – Heartland has confirmed that this document is real
    – The document came from Heartland due to Gleick’s phishing.

    Just look at Page 22 of the above document. Pretty obvious. Not sure why no one is reporting on this in the MSM, but that’s what they do. The actual facts, of $25,000 from Koch for healthcare are far less salacious than being able to link Koch to Heartland and global warming and funding etc. Its all spin though.

    I do find it rather remarkable that Koch does not fund Heartland for global warming. I would have expected it actually. $25K is like a 1% tip. I think Koch is insulting them 🙂

    $25K pays for one (temp) person for 20 hours a week, or maybe some mailing expenses. Not much really. The electric bill? Anyhow, donors generally do tell non profits what they want their donation to go towards. In this case it is obvious that the measly $25K was for health care.


  39. Just curious, it seems a little odd that Microsoft having generously given a high value of its software products free to HI that the PDF documents HI has said are authentic (not the scanned one) were originated as WordPerfect docs* which is not a Microsoft Word product. It would appear that the PDFs from Bast were created from Wordperfect while most if not all of the PCs at HI were running Microsoft Word.

    *from metadata in the PDFs i,e, C:(1-15-2012) 2012 Fundraising Plan.wpd

    This file was converted to PDF in Acrobat 8.1 Distiller from a Wordperfect file on the Root Directory of the author’s Windows based PC. While the Binder PDF came from

    P:JBastBoard Meetings20121-17-2012 MeetingNotice of January 17 Meeting.wpd, Acrobat 8.0 Distiller, located on a totally different PC at HI.

  40. Acrobat 8 Pro has a built in utility that converts files to PDF in a very efficient manner than other PDF converters. Acro Pro 8 was a very expensive product not likely found on more than a few PCs in this type of office. The difference in the Distillers 8.1 and 8.0 means that on one PC Acro 8 was upgraded to version 8.1 and on the other Acro 8 remained at version 8.0. That said, the PC location of the Binder at drive P: at several folder levels down suggests a remote PC on an intranet where access to the .wpd could be made available to other users. I question why someone would locate files on their root directory unless they were at the top of the organization. There is no thought of conspiracy here, just a curiosity of how docs are managed at HI. Perhaps the Senior staff all have Wordperfect and the lesser mortals may be using the incompatible but free Microsoft Office.

  41. Kozlowski,
    First off I am appreciate your response. it actually addressed many of my points and you are willing to clearly expand upon your position. That is rather refreshing. Also I tend to speak off the top of my head, so sometimes I make statements that could sound absolute but given contrary information I am unaware of I am happy to adjust my view. Am also glad that you acknowledge the speculative nature of some of your assertions.

    I do not see this as nearly important regarding the issue of how ACC is going to play out on the grand stage. Surely he did not expect to be “caught” but to me this indicates something more akin to impulsiveness than ideological zealotry. he does not have to save CAGW science becuase it stands by itself quite easily, so in the long run not much rides on this outcome, and aside from the isolated world of competing climate blogs, will have little influence outside the short term. That is unless some new info comes out pointing to a larger conspiracy with numerous other CAGW advocates and/or scientists. Your whole contention that if bloggers were fooled by Gleick’s fraud about Heartland, then they would be fooled by the science is again neither a valid correlation or something that will be believed by anyone except the denier blogosphere and people like Curry, who pretends to be mediating.It will have little bearing on how the public at large views the issue. Also you are ignoring the actual response of ACC supportive blogs, who have to a large degree condemned Gleick’s actions and had an actual back and forth about the morality of this sort of thing. As you surely recall there was absolutely NO denier blogs that condemned the release of the climate-gate papers, which were thousands of documents of private correspondence and were a purely illegal hacking, whereas, at least regarding the actual documents papers released by heartland under false pretenses, a significantly different distinction.
    Again your assumption of having written the “forged” document makes senes and is plausible, but his expalantion of events and motivations is, in my view at least as plausible. I agree that we will find out what actually occurred in the next few months I imagine. Especially if Gleick IS the culprit.
    I see almost no comparison between moncton and Gleick. Moncton lies and misrepresents science with an abandon that is only shocking if one is unaware of his arrogant royal sense of superiority. I just went over Moncton’s replies to Abraham in his contention that Abraham had slandered him. I stopped after the first 70 points because, even as a non scientist, I was able to quickly determine that 90% of what he wrote was either an outright lie., a total distortion of facts, or omitted information easily available, He has no interest in the truth and all he cares about is that his adoring fans bolster his ego. He is a egomaniac by my understanding of the term. Gleick on the other hand is a partisan alarmist. he will distort some info and certainly ignore or try to undermine facts that do not support his case, but he for the most part knows that actual science and is not closed off to reality. He points out serious mistakes that deniers have made in promoting the idea of the myth of ACC. I see nothing in any of Gleick’s writings (haven’t read a lot, I admit) that give any credence to the idea of derangement.
    Will stop here so my post isn’t so long and start another

  42. part 2
    I have read about Svensmark’s difficulties and other apparent instances of censorship. I do not doubt there is some credence to these instances, but there is no way that that actual science can be suppressed. If they are valid questions the issue will be explored, unless republicans in the US manage to cut funding for research on these issues. I know a few climate scientists and have read an awful lot from various scientific sources and the claim that there is a concerted attempt to prevent ANY relevant research from being conducted is ludicrous to me. The loss of two recent climate satellites was met by real sadness among climate scientists. every time a new tool comes into place there is excitement, NOT trepidation.

    I have just read about the issue of cloud cover lowering, and understand that it can have a mitigating effect on the radiative balance. there are many other factors that have a net negative effect on warming. Aerosols, biotic factors, various bio-chemical-geological factors that sequester CO2. Decreasing solar radiation. Orbital changes, Increasing albedo from snow, certain cloud impacts, etc. Some of these are well known, some of them are very unclear. I have seen absolutely no compelling consistent theory that undermines the basic theory of ACC or shows these factors countering CO2 except for the short term. CO2 is a forcing and one that is consistent and increasing. there is a strong, not fully understood paleo-hoistory that indicates CO2 is a crucial factor, often over millennia on global temp changes. We are no experiencing a century scale effect, and we are really at the beginning of that effect. this is just basic science. the science doesn’t need to be settled in every aspect to be confident of some results.
    UNfortunately I use the word denier because i have had so many ionteractions with “skeptics” who can only accept information that disproves GW, and absolutely refuse to be rational about critiques of that information. As well as being unable to critique mutually exclusive arguments. For example if one accepts that the earth HAS been warming, then one cannot at the same time pojnt to lack of sea level rise as an argument against climate change. I see that one constantly. One cannot also trumpet the fact the last year the sea ice extent in the arctic was not a record low as more proof that ACC is wrong. One cannot point to Grace data that the himalayas are not losing as much ice as thought without acknowledging that they show massive ice loss in almost every other part of the world. There is a very very long list of “facts: that deniers use to attack ACC that are either wrong or that they abandon and then pick up later when people have forgotten it was wrong. I am very careful to look at the responses to facts claimed by one side or the other before coming to tentative conclusions on my won.
    The other factor is that yes climate science is very complicated and there ARE going to be adjustments int he theory., Is Snow fall increases somewhere and some scientist predicted it wouldn’t that only means that scientist is wrong. nature doesn’t care about ideology on either side of the issue. Most Deniers incorrectly use popper’s “falsifiability” in this way to claim that any inaccuracy is a proof the theory is wrong. When actually there can be many specifics that change without making the theory invalid, or the general consequences of the theory.
    Almsot every climate scientist I have seen DOES question aspects of the theory and revise their assessment and acknowledge uncertainty; I see those qualities very clearly in the actual scientific discussions, though it often gets lost in the political cat fight that most people see in the media and parts of the blogosphere.
    As for the Pilke’s and Curry. I don’t consider them deniers, sicne I do think they all accept ACC theory. Sr. from what i have read is selective in his understanding of the science and I would kjust call him biased. Jr. I think just likes to be a rebel. he is one fo the few “leftists” to argue against aspects of ACC, and while I do think he presents important information, especially regarding the issues he is expert on like storms, form reading his wrok he has a bizarre understanding of the politics of the situation which render most of his analysis of what is actually going on to be rather worthless. Curry I used to have some respect for, but recently she seems only interested in promoting controversy with ridiculously one sided interpretation of both the science and the politics. it is funny because I have more respect for Sr, and rather hold Curry in contempt because i think she knowingly is playing devils advocate, whie pretending to be above the fray and trying to promote “dialogues”. there are thousands of scientists working on the actual science and publishing their work in journals and networking with others in related fields and increasing our understanding of all the various elements that effect climate.There is no way that anything has been “hijacked” that will cause those people to manipulate their results to fit the theory. Interpretation can vary and be influenced by ideological factors. And I am sure that that happens, but we are dealing with very concrete physical criteria and results that do not support ACC will become obvious to the vast majority of scientists before they can possibly be hidden or undermined by any that don;t want to accept the truth.
    No one is blocking theories or debate about real science. If “denier blogs would stop promulgating false science and lies and distortion then I would stop calling them “denier”