A prominent environmental researcher, activist and blogger from Oakland admitted Monday night that he had deceitfully obtained and distributed confidential internal materials from the Heartland Institute, a libertarian group based in Chicago devoted in part to questioning the reality of global warming.
Peter Gleick, founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment and Security, wrote in a statement published on The Huffington Post that he had posed as someone else to get the materials, which include fundraising and strategy documents intended only for the board and top executives of the group.
Gleick distributed the documents to several well-known bloggers and activists who support the work of mainstream climate scientists and who have denounced the Heartland Institute as a center of climate change denial. The document release was cast by some bloggers as the work of a whistle-blowing Heartland employee or ex-employee, when it was in fact orchestrated by Gleick, a Yale- and Berkeley-trained scientist and environmental activist who claims that he was frustrated with Heartland's anti-climate-change programs.
Gleick denied authorship of the most explosive of the documents, a supposed strategy paper that laid out the institute's efforts to raise money to question climate change and get schools to adjust their science curricula to include alternative theories of warming.
The institute asserted that the document was a fake but implicitly acknowledged that others were legitimate and vowed to legally pursue those who stole and published them.