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To: Alastair McIntosh who wrote (29894)2/23/2012 11:43:21 AM
From: i-node
   of 80921
>> According to your source, fossil fuels will be supplying 81% of the world's energy in 2030. It appears that fossils fuels will supply the majority of the planet's energy for several decades after 2030. I'd bet on 2060, but by then I would be 120 years old so probably won't be able to collect.

Surely, some of the alternative energy supplies will become economically feasible by then.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (29858)2/23/2012 1:49:19 PM
From: Brumar89
3 Recommendations   of 80921
EPA Stalinizes its grants to Gleick:

EPA scrubs web site of Gleick grants?

Posted on February 23, 2012 by Steve Milloy | 7 Comments

Gleick’s grants from EPA seem to have been Stalinized.

Here’s the timeline:

Fortunately, we saved a PDF file of one of the EPA grants to Gleick. So unless gets Stalinized…

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To: i-node who wrote (29873)2/23/2012 2:03:24 PM
From: Eric
   of 80921
Germany once prided itself on being the “photovoltaic world champion,” doling out generous subsidies — totalling more than US$130-billion, according to research from Germany’s Ruhr University — to citizens to invest in solar energy. But now the German government is vowing to cut the subsidies sooner than planned, and to phase out support over the next five years. What went wrong?

According to Der Spiegel, even members of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s staff are now describing the policy as a massive money pit. Philipp Rösler, Germany’s Minister of Economics and Technology, has called the spiralling solar subsidies a “threat to the economy.”


Last time I checked subsidies were falling like a rock. The program is meeting it's long term goal way, way ahead of the planning that was spelled out over ten years ago.

Solar generated electricity is much cheaper today than it was just a few years ago.

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To: Eric who wrote (29892)2/23/2012 2:07:46 PM
From: Brumar89
1 Recommendation   of 80921
Tesla's Electric Brick problem - You need to know about this:

Tesla’s Electric “brick” problem
Posted on February 22, 2012 by Anthony Watts

Image from Tesla's website

Jalopnik reports:

“Tesla Motors’ lineup of all-electric vehicles — its existing Roadster, almost certainly its impending Model S, and possibly its future Model X — apparently suffer from a severe limitation that can largely destroy the value of the vehicle.

If the battery is ever totally discharged, the owner is left with what Tesla describes as a “brick”: a completely immobile vehicle that cannot be started or even pushed down the street.

The only known remedy is for the owner to pay Tesla approximately $40,000 to replace the entire battery. Unlike practically every other modern car problem, neither Tesla’s warranty nor typical car insurance policies provide any protection from this major financial loss. ”

The article continues:

How To Brick An Electric Car

The pA Tesla Roadster that is simply parked without being plugged in will eventually become a “brick”. The parasitic load from the car’s always-on subsystems continually drains the battery and if the battery’s charge is ever totally depleted, it is essentially destroyed. Complete discharge can happen even when the car is plugged in if it isn’t receiving sufficient current to charge, which can be caused by something as simple as using an extension cord. After battery death, the car is completely inoperable. At least in the case of the Tesla Roadster, it’s not even possible to enable tow mode, meaning the wheels will not turn and the vehicle cannot be pushed nor transported to a repair facility by traditional means.

The amount of time it takes an unplugged Tesla to die varies. Tesla’s Roadster Owners Manual [ Full Zipped PDF] states that the battery should take approximately 11 weeks of inactivity to completely discharge [Page 5-2, Column 3: PDF]. However, that is from a full 100% charge. If the car has been driven first, say to be parked at an airport for a long trip, that time can be substantially reduced. If the car is driven to nearly its maximum range and then left unplugged, it could potentially “brick” in about one week.[1] Many other scenarios are possible: for example, the car becomes unplugged by accident, or is unwittingly plugged into an extension cord that is defective or too long.

[ Leave it in an airport parking lot and you could come back to find you own an incredibly expensive brick. That would make you sh*t a brick, huh? Talk about "pay da man." ]


h/t to Popular Technology


This seems to be a problem exclusive to lithium-ion battery technology, not lead-acid systems. Seems to me that all that is needed is a master kill switch for the mains. I’d rather reprogram my radio and other gadgets than spend $40k on a new battery pack.


Willis Eschenbach says:

February 22, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Dang … seems to me they would have put in a low-charge sensor connected to a kill switch the first week. But hey, it’s greenies, I guess no one wanted to make bad vibes …


Bill says:

February 22, 2012 at 5:14 pm

When people need to buy new batteries that is $40K of STIMULUS!

(you know, just like when some punk breaks your window)


    David Falkner says:

    February 22, 2012 at 6:04 pm

    Good Lord. Fat chance the average person will buy one with that sort of guillotine hanging over their head. And who could blame them? A $40,000 battery?

    Faux Science Slayer says:

    February 22, 2012 at 6:16 pm

    Then there’s the fun event where the 400 volt wiring to the two 250 hp rear electric motors get cut in an accident. Think MEGA arc welder going off in the back seat. The Prius is no prince either. Their Nickel Hydride pack are good for 400 recharge cycles. Then the pack costs $8,000 to replace. So….you save $1,000 per year on elec home charges over gas prices on the Tesla and every eight years you got a battery bill for $40k. The Prius saves $1,000 on gas every year and you kick in 8 large every 8 years. If this is not sounding like a practicle green solution, then read “Green Prince of Darkness” and figure out the solar cell erosion trick.


    david70 says:

    February 22, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    Considering the hefty price tag of this car, I think these cars will become bricks more often than you would think. I’m guessing the typical customer for one of these things as more money than they know what to do with. If that’s the case, a Tesla will often be just one of several fancy cars in the garage. I could see a guy returning to his summer residence in Nantucket only to find his Tesla was “bricked” over the winter. At least the 40k repair won’t hurt that guy as much.


    JohnB says:

    February 22, 2012 at 7:44 pm

    The killer is that if you are in an accident with an electric car, emergency services are trained to drain the battery as an electronic fault could cause a fire thanks to the Chevy Volt. So if you get into an accident with this car not only will you be paying for any physical or mechanical repairs but you will be replacing that battery also.


    KevinK says:

    February 22, 2012 at 7:50 pm

    I once restored a small railroad locomotive that was abandoned in a field (next to a WWII shipbuilding facility) for about 3-4 decades. It had a gasoline ICE and after cleaning out all the varmint urine and replacing hoses and wires it RAN. So, now we are expected to swap things that can run after DECADES of neglect with “MODERN” designs that need attention every few days……………….

    But heck, your neighbors will subsdize you if you buy one.

    Cheers, Kevin.


    kadaka (KD Knoebel) says:

    February 22, 2012 at 11:56 pm

    Tesla Dismisses Report of ‘Bricked’ Roadsters
    February 22, 2012

    In what is sure to become another rallying cry for critics of electric vehicles, a report published by Michael Degusta of The Understatement claims fully discharging the Roadster’s massive 53-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion pack effectively kills the battery, rendering the car inoperable. This, he claims, can happen even if the car isn’t being driven.

    Degusta claimed, without offering proof, the forthcoming Model S sedan could experience the same problem. He notes in the post that he interviewed an unnamed Tesla regional service manager who identified five unnamed Roadster owners who have experienced the problem in a variety of circumstances, including using a 100-foot extension cord to charge a Roadster. One owner, Max Drucker, provided with an email he sent to Telsa Motors CEO Elon Musk saying his battery was rendered “dead and unrecoverable” after he left the unplugged car in storage for six weeks.

    “I had no idea I could be putting my car at risk,” Drucker told by phone. “This was an accident. I didn’t know.”

    Tesla Motors downplayed Degusta’s report, arguing the issue he raises isn’t a technical problem so much as an issue of properly maintaining the vehicle. The company likens the need to maintain a minimal charge to ensuring there is sufficient oil in a conventional engine.

    Drucker, first identified by Green Car Reports, took delivery of Roadster No. 340 in May 2009, more than a year after placing a $50,000 deposit for the vehicle. He said he has driven the car 13,000 miles and followed Tesla’s service guidelines. He moved into a rental house while his home was being renovated and parked his Roadster in the garage, leaving it with a 25 percent state of charge. He didn’t touch it for six weeks and found it dead when he attempted to start it earlier this month.

    “It wouldn’t do anything,” he said. “It wouldn’t even unlock. It took four guys two hours to get the car out of my garage and onto a flatbed truck. The car wouldn’t even roll.”

    He sent the car to the Tesla store in Los Angeles. Three days later, Drucker said, Tesla told him the battery must be replaced at a cost of $32,000 plus tax and labor. He said Tesla told him the warranty will not cover the repair, and his car remains at the Tesla store.

    “I’m going to sell the car for salvage,” Drucker said. “I’m done with this Roadster.”

    Tesla Motors spokesman Ricardo Reyes would not comment beyond the company’s statement, but Tesla’s point that batteries require a minimum level of maintenance by owners was echoed by EV advocates and Thilo Koslowski, an auto analyst with Gartner.

    “This isn’t all that surprising,” Koslowski said. “This is what you’d expect with batteries. The same thing will happen with the battery used by your internal combustion engine. If you don’t maintain it, it will go dead. The issue here for Tesla is the battery is of course a significant part of the drivetrain. It is very expensive, and there are liability issues.”

    Koslowski and others said the simplest solution for any EV owner is to plug the car in whenever possible, particularly if it’s going to be sitting for an extended period. This is akin to putting a trickle charger on the battery under your hood.

    Indeed, this is just what owners’ manuals suggest. Tesla, for example, warns that “over-discharge can permanently damage the battery” and “if storing for more than 15 days, it is strongly recommended that you keep it plugged in.” The Tesla manual warns that a fully charged Roadster pack will drop as much as 50 percent in the first week, then lose about 5 percent per week thereafter. Tesla says a fully charged battery would require about 11 weeks to fully discharge if the vehicle were not used.

    According to Green Car Reports, Tesla has buyers sign a document acknowledging their responsibility to maintain a charge in the pack and stating that any damage caused by failing to do so is not covered by the warranty. The Tesla Motors “Disclosures and Acknowledgements” form specifically states, “Note, your Roadster warranty as it relates to the battery does not cover damage caused by exposing an unplugged vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for over 24 hours, storing an unplugged vehicle in temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit for over seven days or leaving your vehicle unplugged where it discharges that battery to at or near zero state of charge.”

    “The company likens the need to maintain a minimal charge to ensuring there is sufficient oil in a conventional engine.”

    What are these people smoking? I know lots of people who were driving around a quart low before noticing it, myself included
    . These days with included service on new vehicles, I’d wager a lot of people do it as we’re getting trained to wait for the Check Engine light, which in my experience doesn’t come on until about two quarts down, some people can’t even find the oil dipstick to check the level, and we’re being passively dissuaded from even looking under the hood to check stuff as “that should be left to the professionals.” Plus many people who notice an oil leak, or said light, will drive the vehicle to where it can be serviced. Insufficient oil does not auto-brick an engine.

    ““This is what you’d expect with batteries. The same thing will happen with the battery used by your internal combustion engine. If you don’t maintain it, it will go dead.”

    [ Course, you can charge your battery or replace it a lot cheaper than $40K. ]

    I’ve had vehicles, like my current one, that have had the battery go dead, from annoying things like the trunk latch not closing fully thus not shutting off the trunk light switch (bring back the mercury switches!). I put the charger or booster pack on, the battery recovers, with most likely a shorter total lifespan and possibly a lower maximum charge. It does not auto-brick.

    “The Tesla manual warns that a fully charged Roadster pack will drop as much as 50 percent in the first week, then lose about 5 percent per week thereafter.”

    50%! Just how much electricity does a plugged-in Tesla waste while just being parked? I want to see that amount figured in to those otherwise-imaginary “e-mileage” figures. Who would drive a conventional vehicle that would lose half of a full tank of fuel while parked?

    “Koslowski and others said the simplest solution for any EV owner is to plug the car in whenever possible, particularly if it’s going to be sitting for an extended period. This is akin to putting a trickle charger on the battery under your hood.”

    Imagine being told that for your gasoline-powered vehicle it is recommended to plug in a “gasoline drip” whenever you park to keep the tank topped off.

    “The Tesla Motors “Disclosures and Acknowledgements” form specifically states, “Note, your Roadster warranty as it relates to the battery does not cover damage caused by exposing an unplugged vehicle to ambient temperatures above 120 degrees Fahrenheit for over 24 hours, storing an unplugged vehicle in temperatures below -40 degrees Fahrenheit for over seven days or leaving your vehicle unplugged where it discharges that battery to at or near zero state of charge.””

    Is that cumulative? 24 hours over 120°F could be two days in Texas, Nevada, etc. Heck, with a detached shut-up garage or a steel storage unit and enough summer sunlight, you might be able to hit that anywhere in the US, even Alaska. So what happens if you plug it in? Some form of air conditioning comes on to cool the battery pack, expelling the heat to the closed-in storage space?

    Is it just me, or would Tesla have been far better off designing a vehicle that kills the big lithium battery when the car is not in use, and uses a common lead-acid battery to keep the standby electronics running?


    David says:

    February 23, 2012 at 12:30 am

    GogogoStopSTOP says:
    February 22, 2012 at 6:31 pm
    Hey, you engineering marvels with $10, easy fixes. There’s one fix… CHARGE THE BATTERY

    A low “anything” sensor wouldn’t work, you must CHARGE THE BATTERY before it goes dead.

    There’s only one fix, even when you know the battery is going low… CHARGE THE BATTERY.
    Yep, thats what the CAGW enthusiast said to himself as he drove from the lot. One week later, after driving the car to the brink on a long work commute, he got home late just in time to leave with the wife on that promised vacation. He plugged the car in, took a shower, jumped into the back of the RV while his wife drove. There was a power outage in his neighborhood shortly after he left. When the power was turned on the surge tripped his breaker. He came home finding out that his trip cost him forty grand more then planned. (Murphy’s law will get you)


    Nippy says:

    February 23, 2012 at 4:51 am

    Do bear in mind that the batteries in these cars do not store electricity, they store chemicals, and these are a lot nastier than the chemicals put into the petrol tank

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To: i-node who wrote (29893)2/23/2012 2:36:40 PM
From: Eric
   of 80921
Realistically, neither wind nor solar is a solution to electricity generation, and neither contributes in a significant way to transportation of people, goods or services. But to the extent renewables can be used to generate electricity cost effectively who could have a problem with it?

Unfortunately, these sources simply aren't ready for prime time. Maybe in 20 or 50 years, but they have to be cost effective. Solar isn't even close and who knows whether it will ever be.


I'm getting the strong impression that you have never seen a PV large scale plant up close or even know how it works. FSLR's industrial scale plants now generate electricity in places like the S. California desert and Italy for prices approaching 11 cents per KwHr now.

And that's without subsidies. Zip.

My system that's powered my off grid home has generated electrons every day for the last twenty one years. That's a record no nuke or fossil fueled plant can match.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (29896)2/23/2012 2:48:26 PM
From: Brumar89
1 Recommendation   of 80921
I am very much looking forward to the court case where Gleick presents the “original” memo as evidence.

Today thanks to a nifty government program called Echelon most printers(at least those from HP, Xerox, Dell, Canon, Epson, Lexmark, amongst others now imbed microscopic code on everything they print. A Forensic Science team will be able to look at the Gleick’s memo and will be able to tell the printer it came from without much difficulty.

My money is it coming from Gleick’s very own Epson Printer, the same one he used to scan the document.


Jimbo says:

February 23, 2012 at 2:05 am

I may be way off the mark here but isn’t DeSmogBlog funded by a convicted money launderer by the name of John Lefebvre?

Two former directors and founding shareholders of NETeller Plc, a British online money transfer company, have been charged in the United States with laundering billions of dollars in illegal gambling proceeds.

Canadians Stephen Lawrence, 46, and John Lefebvre, 55, were arrested on Monday — Lawrence in the U.S. Virgin Islands and Lefebvre in Malibu, California — U.S. Attorney Michael Garcia said.”

Blog Funder Guilty of Money-Laundering

February 1, 2008

John Lefebvre, the top financial benefactor of the DeSmog Blog, is facing substantial prison time after pleading guilty to federal money-laundering charges.

The DeSmog Blog is operated by a small group of public relations people who specialize in attempting to discredit respected scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory.

Ironically, DeSmog Blog's favorite tactic is to claim scientists and policy analysts who disagree with alarmist global warming theory are funded by "dirty money."

The revelation of the blog's major source of funding as a convicted money launderer may undermine DeSmog's attempts to smear the integrity of respected, law-abiding scientists who disagree with them.

Apparently unashamed by their criminal connections, the DeSmog Blog Web site proclaims, "The DeSmogBlog team is especially grateful to our benefactor John Lefebvre. ... John has been outspoken, uncompromising, and courageous in challenging those who would muddy the climate change debate, and he has enabled and inspired the same standard on the blog."

Lefebvre, who pleaded guilty in June 2007, faces up to 20 years in a federal penitentiary.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (29900)2/23/2012 2:53:04 PM
From: Brumar89
3 Recommendations   of 80921
We have all been acting as if we have been in a fair minded debate with persons who could be convinced if they were shown conclusive evidence. Unfortunately it seems that the opinions and positions of the warmists are not based in fact at all and that no amount of proof or evidence will ever sway their opinions. Whether their positions are based on emotion, eco-fascism, politics or money gathering – our acting as if we think they are logical adults who can look at scientific facts and be swayed has been a waste of effort. Many of the people who have shown their true stripes in the past few days were never honest brokers – they simply are pretending to be.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (29901)2/23/2012 2:56:18 PM
From: Brumar89
   of 80921
RSS: temperature trend in the last 15 years is negative

We've been emphasizing for a few years that in the last decade, the global warming trend wasn't statistically significant and according to most datasets, it was actually negative: linear regression produces a cooling result.

However, aside from 10 years, there's always been an interesting discussion about the last 15 years. Some skeptics were happy when Phil Jones admitted that there was no statistically significant warming trend in the last 15 years.

Now, the times are changing. The debates about the statistical significance of the 15-year warming trend are gradually becoming irrelevant. Even when we talk about 15 years, the trend has actually been a cooling one!

Take the RSS dataset and list the anomalies in the most recent 15*12 = 180 months, from February 1997 through January 2012. Apply linear regression to these 180 datapoints. What trend will you get? Remarkably enough, you will get –0.073 °C per century, a negative value! Obviously, this tiny negative value isn't statistically significant by any stretch of imagination.

Here are the trends in the last Y years ending by January 2012 for Y equal to 1...20:
  1. -2.95385,
  2. -28.3205,
  3. -5.76062,
  4. 3.52647,
  5. 1.91016,
  6. 0.711653,
  7. -0.516011,
  8. -0.160613,
  9. -0.58934,
  10. -0.860006,
  11. -0.693582,
  12. 0.0325633,
  13. 0.539724,
  14. -0.411819,
  15. -0.0730183,
  16. 0.373608,
  17. 0.48849,
  18. 0.737524,
  19. 1.12732,
  20. 1.52926
The RSS global warming trends are in °C per century. It's likely that the last 15 years will remain cooling at least for one more year because the 1997-98 El Niño will be kept near the beginning of the interval for much of this time.

Note that 15 years is a pretty long time. If 15 years are not enough for the hypothetical warming trend to beat the other, less uniform and less predictable drivers, it's probably not too fast, strong, urgent, or important, is it? If it is detectable at all...

Disclaimer: the absolute values of the trends above are naturally decreasing as a power law. The initial ones may be very large. For example, the cooling trend in the last 24 months or 2 years was –28 °C per century.

Of course, you can't really extrapolate this 2-year trend to a century. Or you shouldn't. But even if you study longer periods of time, like 15 years or 30 years, it is very clear that you shouldn't trust extrapolations too much.

Incidentally, because I mentioned El Niño, I shouldn't forget to say that it's pretty clear that the ongoing La Niña will end within a month. Near the South Pacific beaches, the temperature anomaly is already positive and it seems clear to me that the positive anomalies will spread to the West during March. While the ongoing La Niña conditions could have looked like a La Niña of the century, it will actually end up being just a marginal La Niña. It won't be far from the critical point when the duration would be insufficient to declare it a La Niña episode!

Still, the delay guarantees that the first half of 2012 will see global temperature anomalies that are not high and positive, to say the least, so 2012 shouldn't be much warmer than 2011 and may be even cooler than the last year which was pretty cool.

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (29901)2/23/2012 3:07:01 PM
From: Brumar89
1 Recommendation   of 80921
How To Kill The Global Warming Cause

".. if Gleick confesses to the forgery as I believe he ultimately will, the defenders are going to have even more egg on their faces."

First There Was Climategate, Now There’s Gleickgate In 2009, shortly before the Copenhagen summit on climate change, a server at the Climatic Research Unit at the University of East Anglia in the U.K. was hacked. Numerous communications from climate scientists were released to the public, and the name “ Climategate” was coined to describe the ensuing controversy. The controversy involved specific comments in some of the e-mails that climate change skeptics immediately seized upon as evidence that some climate scientists were not as objective as they should be, but even worse that dissenting views were being suppressed.

When the Climategate scandal first broke, I had a feeling that the implications were going to be a lot larger than many climate change advocates believed. In fact, I included it among my Top 10 Energy Stories of 2009, writing:

Then came Climategate, which gave the skeptics even more reason to be skeptical. A number of people have suggested to me that this story will just fade away, but I don’t think so. This is one that the skeptics can rally around for years to come. The number of Americans who believe that humans are causing climate change was already on the decline, and the injection of Climategate into the issue will make it that much harder to get any meaningful legislation passed.

Some people commented that the controversy would fade away in a few weeks, but I think in hindsight my assessment was correct. Skeptics had claimed for years that much of the climate change debate was ideological, and Climategate seemingly gave them concrete evidence that this was indeed the case. (I am not making judgments one way or the other; just trying provide the context for the incident and how I felt it would be used by skeptics).

2012: Gleickgate Now comes a situation that is — in my opinion — much worse. Last week an anonymous person leaked several documents from the Heartland Institute to a number of prominent blogs that focus on climate change. The Heartland Institute (HI) is an organization that is skeptical that climate change is being caused by humans. They are viewed with contempt among many in the climate change community, who feel like HI is funding a disinformation campaign against climate change. The media seized on one of the documents that was leaked called Confidential Memo: 2012 Heartland Climate Strategy. (PDF warning, and the document may disappear soon as HI is threatening legal action against the site that is hosting it). The document seemed to validate what many had suspected about HI, containing gems such as:

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.

Principals and teachers are heavily biased toward the alarmist perspective. To counter this we are considering launching an effort to develop alternative materials for K-12 classrooms. We are pursuing a proposal from Dr. David Wojick to produce a global warming curriculum for K-12 schools. Dr. Wojick is a consultant with the Office of Scientific and Technical Information at the U.S. Department of Energy in the area of information and communication science. His effort will focus on providing curriculum that shows that the topic of climate change is controversial and uncertain – two key points that are effective at dissuading teachers from teaching science.

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.

Then there is this juicy bit, which we will get into below.

Expanded climate communications

Heartland plays an important role in climate communications, especially through our in-house experts (e.g., Taylor) through his Forbes blog and related high profile outlets, our conferences, and through coordination with external networks (such as WUWT and other groups capable of rapidly mobilizing responses to new scientific findings, news stories, or unfavorable blog posts). 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 Romm, Trenberth, and Hansen) or Curry (who has become popular with our supporters). We have have also pledged to help raise around $90,000 in 2012 for Anthony Watts to help him create a new website to track temperature station data.

In that paragraph, WUWT would be Anthony Watts’ blog devoted to climate change skepticism, What’s Up With That?; Gleick would be Dr. Peter Gleick, a California scientist, environmental activist, lecturer on ethics and scientific integrity, and a vocal advocate of the need to combat climate change; Revkin would be Andy Revkin of the New York Times; Romm is Dr. Joe Romm; Trenberth is Dr. Kevin Trenberth; and Hansen is Dr. James Hansen.

So let’s summarize the juicy bits of the strategy document. It provides confirmation that oil companies are funding the climate change skeptics, an explicit declaration that the skeptics have an anti-science bias, and that their opposition is not rooted in science, and finally an explicit declaration that opposing voices must be suppressed. That couldn’t have been scripted any better had it been done by a pro-global warming activist who was just trying to make the opposition look really bad. Which, sadly, looks to be the case.

A couple of days ago, as evidence mounted that he was the person who leaked the documents, Peter Gleick came forward and admitted to doing so. Apparently he had pretended to be a member of HI’s board, and sent an e-mail requesting the documents. In a brief note at Huffington Post, he offered up an apology that was rather ironic on many levels:

I only note that the scientific understanding of the reality and risks of climate change is strong, compelling, and increasingly disturbing, and a rational public debate is desperately needed. My judgment was blinded by my frustration with the ongoing efforts — often anonymous, well-funded, and coordinated — to attack climate science and scientists and prevent this debate, and by the lack of transparency of the organizations involved. Nevertheless I deeply regret my own actions in this case. I offer my personal apologies to all those affected.

Now if that was the end of the story, I wouldn’t consider it that big of a deal. Here we have a climate scientist masquerading as an undercover agent in order to unmask the inner workings of an organization that he believes is helping to destroy the earth. It certainly looks bad, because it helps reaffirm the views of global warming skeptics that much of the angst over global warming is being driven by ideology. On the other hand Gleick’s defenders argue that he is a hero, and that he was simply engaging in the same dirty tactics as “the enemy.”

And Now For the Rest of the Story But that isn’t the end of the story. Other than the Climate Strategy document that I excerpted from above, the documents themselves are really not that surprising. They reveal that an organization that does not believe in manmade climate change is funding people who believe the same thing. I would guess if we peeked inside the files of climate change advocacy organizations, we would find — surprise! — that they were funding people who believe in the urgency of climate change and are working to educate people on that topic. No, the really juicy bits came from the strategy document, and this is what the media seized upon. For instance, DeSmogBlog initially released the documents, and the strategy document was where they found all of the juicy bits:

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine

The problem is that a bit of skepticism should have been in order. I mean, who writes like that? Phrases like “dissuading teachers from teaching science” or “keep opposing voices out” might be how you would imagine your evil enemies may talk, but in reality it reads like it came from a comic book caricature. It’s like a Creationist’s vision of how evolutionists think, or vice-versa.

Alas, Megan McArdle at The Atlantic — a person who strongly believes in human-caused global warming — has laid out the case that the strategy document is forged (and HI insists that this is the case):

Leaked Docs From Heartland Institute Cause a Stir—but Is One a Fake?

A few of the points she raises in that article:

1. All of the documents are high-quality PDFs generated from original electronic files . . . except for the “Climate Strategy” memo. (Hereinafter, “the memo”). That appears to have been printed out and scanned, though it may also have been faxed.

Either way, why? After they wrote up their Top Secret Here’s All the Bad Stuff We’re Gonna Do This Year memo, did the author hand it to his secretary and say “Now scan this in for the Board”? Or did he fax it across the hall to his buddy?

This seems a strange and ponderous way to go about it–especially since the other documents illustrate that the Heartland Institute has fully mastered the Print to PDF command.

It is, however, exactly what I would do if I were trying to make sure that the document had no potentially incriminating metadata in the pdf.

2. The date on the memo file is different from the other documents. And indeed, when you look at the information on the PDFs that Heartland acknowledges, almost all of them were created by printing to PDF on January 16th, the day before Heartland’s board meeting. There is a Board Directory that was created on the 25th of January, also by printing to PDF. And then there is the memo, which was created via an Epson scanner at 3:41 PM on February 13th.

That seems to be just about 24 hours before this broke on the climate blogs. The timing seems odd, and somewhat suspicious. The fact that this document, and it alone, was scanned rather than printed to PDF or emailed as a word document, is even more so.

Others have determined that the document was created in the Pacific Time Zone. That is, coincidentally, where Peter Gleick lives and works, but not where HI is located. And then this point:

5. The worldview is different. In my experience, climate skeptics see themselves as a beleaguered minority fighting for truth and justice against the powerful, and nearly monolithic, forces of the establishment. They are David, to the climate scientists’ Goliaths. This is basically what the authenticated documents sound like.

The memo, by contrast, uses more negative language about the efforts it’s describing, while trying to sound like they think it’s positive. It’s like the opposition political manifestos found in novels written by stolid ideologues; they can never quite bear (or lack the imagination) to let the villains have a good argument. Switch the names, and the memo could have been a page ripped out of State of Fear or Atlas Shrugged.

Basically, it reads like it was written from the secret villain lair in a Batman comic. By an intern.

McArdle goes on to note that the strategy document erroneously says that the Charles G. Koch Foundation had donated $200,000 toward HI’s climate change goals, when in fact they only donated $25,000, and it was for health care work. Thus, the person who forged the document made a mistake, but one that was sure to prove explosive with climate change advocates. Here was a smoking gun that showed Big Oil (the Koch brothers) was funding climate change disinformation.

Except that wasn’t the case.

On this subject, McArdle writes “Unless there’s an explanation I’m missing, that seems to clinch it–why would health care donations show up in their climate strategy report? Unless of course, it was written by someone who doesn’t know anything about facts of the donation, but does know that the Kochs make great copy.”

McArdle wrote more in a follow-up to her original article (which I encourage readers to check out):

Peter Gleick Confesses to Obtaining Heartland Documents Under False Pretenses

In the document she cites some comments by Steven Mosher — who figured out early on that Gleick was likely the person who leaked the documents — as evidence that Gleick himself authored the forged document. They include the writing style (usage of particular phrases like “anti-climate” and overuse/misuse of commas and parentheses like I am doing here) and the fact that the document originated on the West Coast. Important to note that while Gleick confessed to leaking the documents and the fact that he impersonated someone else, he has not confessed to forging the strategy document (nor has he flatly denied it). I suspect this is going to be like the Anthony Weiner confession, which amounted to days of denial and obfuscation, but finally an admission as the evidence piled up against him.

But here is where McArdle really nails it:

Gleick has done enormous damage to his cause and his own reputation, and it’s no good to say that people shouldn’t be focusing on it. If his judgement is this bad, how is his judgement on matters of science? For that matter, what about the judgement of all the others in the movement who apparently see nothing worth dwelling on in his actions?

When skeptics complain that global warming activists are apparently willing to go to any lengths–including lying–to advance their worldview, I’d say one of the movement’s top priorities should be not proving them right. And if one rogue member of the community does something crazy that provides such proof, I’d say it is crucial that the other members of the community say “Oh, how horrible, this is so far beyond the pale that I cannot imagine how this ever could have happened!” and not, “Well, he’s apologized and I really think it’s pretty crude and opportunistic to make a fuss about something that’s so unimportant in the grand scheme of things.”

After you have convinced people that you fervently believe your cause to be more important than telling the truth, you’ve lost the power to convince them of anything else.

That is the issue in a nutshell, and something Gleick’s defenders don’t seem to get. They have grossly underestimated the damage this does, and they are compounding it by making excuses for him.

Conclusion: Scientists Should Know Better
Here is how I think the rest of this plays out. Gleick’s defenders will continue to defend him, albeit in diminishing numbers. Those who defend him to the end simply reinforce the views of climate skeptics that — as McArdle stated — the cause is more important than the truth. This will embolden the skeptics as never before, by simply reinforcing their views of how climate change advocates operate. They don’t have to speculate that climate science is driven by an agenda, because they will feel they have solid evidence that this is indeed the case. Further, if Gleick confesses to the forgery as I believe he ultimately will, the defenders are going to have even more egg on their faces. And yet some will continue to defend, suggesting that HI’s tactics are so horrible that the end justifies the means. Except in this case, your chances of achieving “the end” have been made much more difficult by Gleick’s actions.

To conclude, I have stated many times that I think this debate is unnecessarily nasty and personal. People on both sides believe their cause is just, and that if the other side wins the public relations war it will be a disaster. Both sides view the other side with contempt, and throw derogatory labels around. But what always bothered me the most about the whole debate was that as someone who was trained as a scientist, you never say that the science is settled. The science may be compelling, but contrary views should not be shouted down.

If this was the way science worked, we would still all believe that ulcers were caused by stress. Dr. Barry Marshall was ridiculed for his unconventional idea that ulcers were caused by a certain strain of bacteria (after all, the science was settled), but he persevered, proved his case, and eventually won a Nobel Prize for his work. So the moral of this story is that the science is never settled, and agendas should not be allowed to get in the way of science. Scientists, of all people, should know this.


Additional Reading From Megan McArdle

Leaked Docs From Heartland Institute Cause a Stir—but Is One a Fake?

Heartland Memo Looking Faker by the Minute (follow-up by Megan McArdle where she summarizes the evidence of forgery)

Peter Gleick Confesses to Obtaining Heartland Documents Under False Pretenses

The Most Surprising Heartland Fact: Not the Leaks, but the Leaker

From DeSmogBlog

Heartland Institute Exposed: Internal Documents Unmask Heart of Climate Denial Machine (this was the one that started it all)

It’s a bird; it’s a hockey stick; it’s a faked document!

Whistleblower Authenticates Heartland Documents

Heartland Demands DeSmogBlog Remove ”Climate Strategy” Document

Evaluation shows “Faked” Heartland Climate Strategy Memo is Authentic (they desperately want to believe the document is authentic; in my opinion they have a very low evidence threshold for declaring it to be authentic)

From Andy Revkin at the New York Times

Peter Gleick Admits to Deception in Obtaining Heartland Climate Files

More on Peter Gleick and the Heartland Files

Coverage at Watt’s Up with That

BREAKING: Gleick Confesses

And some defenses of Gleick

Hero Scientist responsible for Heartland Expose

Heartland and Hypocrisy; Gleick And The Real Climate Debate

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To: Brumar89 who wrote (29903)2/23/2012 3:12:40 PM
From: Brumar89
1 Recommendation   of 80921
Bast says the institute plans to pursue criminal and civil action against Gleick and possibly others involved in circulating the documents.

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