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Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Gleick’s Actions Don’t Excuse Heartland’s Anti-Science Campaign to promote false science in children's classrooms

Gleick’s Actions Don’t Excuse Heartland’s Anti-Science Campaign

by Kevin Knoblock, president, Union of Concerned Scientists, February 21, 2012

Peter Gleick, a climate scientist and the head of the Pacific Institute, made a public statementyesterday in which he explained his role in obtaining internal documents from the Heartland Institute.
As I said earlier, it’s wrong to obtain documents under false pretenses, just as it was wrong for hackers to have taken scientists’ emails from the University of East Anglia. There’s no excuse for fighting deception with deception and Dr. Gleick has now come forward to publicly acknowledge his responsibility in this matter. Obviously, the person or persons who took scientists’ emails have not felt a similar need to come clean.
Dr. Gleick is among many climate scientists who have been targeted by ideological groups that are eager to attack the messengers of scientific findings. And he is a strong advocate for the important role science plays in society. It’s unfortunate that the bitter, personal attacks on his colleagues and their work contributed to what he called a lapse of his own personal judgment and ethics.
Our criticism of the Heartland Institute’s strategy of spreading misinformation about climate science still stands. It is waging a cynical campaign, funded by corporate interests and anonymous individuals, to undermine the public’s understanding of climate science and introduce ideology disguised as science into our children’s classrooms. The Heartland Institute has still not confirmed the authenticity of the documents, even as independent media outlets have confirmed much of the information and activities outlined in them.
The science about climate change is clear, but the debate about how to respond to it is broken. We’ll continue to work with leaders from all perspectives to help ensure that the United States can have a rational, fact-based debate about how to respond to climate change. It’s time for our nation’s leaders on both sides of the aisle to start dealing with the realities spelled out by the body of evidence on climate science.

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