Peter Gleick, a nationally known expert on water and climate issues, on Friday asked for a short-term leave of absence from the Oakland-based Pacific Institute, where he is co-founder and president.
Gleick has been embroiled in controversy since admitting this week that he used a false name to obtain confidential documents from the libertarian Heartland Institute, a pro-industry think tank known for minimizing the risks of global warming.
The Heartland Institute released a string of emails Friday that Gleick sent to Heartland earlier this year that show how Gleick pretended to be a Heartland board member to get copies of documents sent to a gmail email address. Heartland has set up a website detailing the emails at Fakegate.org.
"The emails reveal how Gleick "phished" the documents by stealing the identity of a Heartland board member, an act to which he publicly admitted in his February 20 Huffington Post confession," said the Heartland Institute. "Minor redactions have been made to the emails to protect the individual privacy of those involved."
Gleick, 55, is a well known water expert and MacArthur grant winner who has published widely and frequently testifies before Congress. But his actions have shocked the scientific community, concerned funders of the Pacific Institute and tarnished his reputation.
He was scheduled to give the keynote address Thursday at the 30th annual Water Law Conference in San Diego, sponsored by the American Bar Association, but withdrew. He also canceled plans to join the board of the National Center for Science Education in Oakland.
"Given the events of the past week, I would like, with the permission of the Board, to take a temporary, short-term leave of absence from the Institute," said Gleick in a letter released Friday. "I believe such a leave would allow the Institute staff to continue to refocus on its work, while permitting the Board to conduct a full and fair review and determine an appropriate course of action."
Contact Dana Hull at 408-920-2706. Follow her at Twitter.com/danahull.