I didn’t blog about the Gleick/Heartland stuff initially because, well, I didn’t think there was a lot of “there” there. The people who are clued into what front groups like Heartland do have documented their activities in the past, and frankly, I was only vaguely aware of who Gleick was. I believe the only time Gleick as a person or subject was really on my radar screen prior was him commenting on a post of mine. That’s not to disparage Gleick out of some ex post facto embarrassment, it’s just the facts.
I remarked when the controversy erupted that the whole affair would have essentially zero impact on the larger issue of mitigation (and would rather reinforce per-existing worldviews partisans but pass unnoticed by the general public). I later commented that I heard Roger Pielke Jr. make a similar prediction on public radio.
Shortly after these comments, I was informed of an amateur analysis of the language used in the documents in question that pointed to Bast rather than Gleick as being the author of the disputed “memo”. I asked why such an analysis (relative to the entrail-reading being done by obvious partisans on either side) wasn’t bigger news. No real answer there.
But now the person who designed the software used for this analysis performed one on his own and found (ignoring the possibility that anyone other than Bast or Gleick wrote the memo) Gleick was more likely than not the author of the memo relative to Bast.
This of course doesn’t “prove” anything one way or another, but it is obviously a bit more credible than the amateur pass that I initially highlighted, and so I think it’s well worth mentioning. My position from the start has been, and will continue to be this: the entire affair is irrelevant to the reality of anthropogenic climate change, mitigation efforts to lessen the impact thereof, etc. Groups like Heartland act as fronts for industries at risk of regulation and routinely try to obfuscate the scientific evidence that suggests such regulation is beneficial to the public. Gleick may be an award-winning scientist, but he was basically not on my radar screen prior to this and certainly plays no part in the fundamental body of evidence demonstrating the reality and attribution of present and future climatic change to humankind. Lastly, but not least importantly, if Gleick did fabricate the document, I think that he should be prosecuted for whatever laws he may have broken and should obviously receive repudiation from the scientific community for those actions.
I think it only fair that if I made a passing comment about the potential for his innocence, I note evidence in favor of his culpability. The case for stabilizing anthropogenic greenhouse emissions to reduce our perturbation of the climate system is strong enough without embellishment. Any illegal activity should be roundly condemned as such.