What a twin reversal of fortune. While the Heartland Institute has melted down because of its overreaction to climate scientist Peter Gleick’s release of their funding documents, Gleick himself has now been reinstated as president of the Pacific Institute following an independent investigation.
On May 21, the UK Guardian broke the news that an external investigation conducted for the Institute cleared Gleick of the charge of faking material in his elaborate effort to obtain internal Heartland strategy and finance documents.
Today, the Institute released this short statement from the Institute’s Board of Directors:
The Pacific Institute is pleased to welcome Dr. Peter Gleick back to his position as president of the Institute. An independent review conducted by outside counsel on behalf of the Institute has supported what Dr. Gleick has stated publicly regarding his interaction with the Heartland Institute. This independent investigation has further confirmed and the Pacific Institute is satisfied that none of its staff knew of or was involved in any way.
Dr. Gleick has apologized publicly for his actions, which are not condoned by the Pacific Institute and run counter to the Institute’s policies and standard of ethics over its 25-year history. The Board of Directors accepts Dr. Gleick’s apology for his lapse in judgment. We look forward to his continuing in the Pacific Institute’s ongoing and vital mission to advance environmental protection, economic development, and social equity.
“I am glad to be back and thank everyone for continuing their important work at the Pacific Institute during my absence,” said Dr. Gleick in a statement. “I am returning with a renewed focus and dedication to the science and research that remain at the core of the Pacific Institute’s mission.”
I immediately called up the media contact at the Institute provided with the statement, Nancy Ross. She said that that statement represents the full extent of everything the Institute plans to release on this matter. As of now, the Institute is not going to release the independent review.
The May Guardian story provided this background:
Gleick’s sting on Heartland brought unwelcome scrutiny to the organisation’s efforts to block action on climate change, and prompted a walk-out of corporate donors that has created uncertainty about its financial future.
Gleick, founder of the Pacific Institute and a well-regarded water expert, admitted and apologised for using deception to obtain internal Heartland documents last February.
He has been on leave from the institute pending an external investigation into the unauthorised release of the documents, although it is not entirely clear what the investigation entailed. That investigation is now complete, and the conclusions will be made public.
Anyone familiar with the facts of the matter cannot be surprised by the outside counsel’s finding. It does raise the question of who created the strategy memo. I’m not sure we will ever find out the answer to that question.
All we know for sure is that the senior leadership of Heartland 1) is capable of the most outrageous and offensive falsehoods and 2) has such catastrophically bad judgment that they continued to push those falsehoods for weeks after being widely denounced, even by their own (former) supporters: