The Climate Letter

I like a good espionage story, full of suspicion and plot twists and, of course, morally ambiguous characters. It’s even better if you throw in some charged political issues. And here we are, lucky enough to have one in the real world. I, for one, am thrilled.

A scientist named Peter Gleick used a false name to obtain documents from an outfit called “The Heartland Institute” that purportedly shows that institute’s “donors, fundraising efforts and plans to spread doubt about climate change.” Heartland says that these documents have been faked.

Gleick now says that what he did was wrong. Personally, lying to obtain documents like this doesn’t bother me that much, because it’s a fairly minor lie being told to learn a much bigger truth, but if it turns out he forged them, that’s a very serious matter indeed. In fact, if that’s the case, he’s actually “spread doubt about climate change” himself. But if the documents are proven to be genuine, then I think it’s justifiable.

Fox News, of course, is quite eager to say he has already done this. Apparently, for them, the mere fact that someone would lie about their name to obtain information automatically renders the information they have obtained meaningless.

But enough about the players; we want the MacGuffin! You can read the documents here, so make of them what you will.

UPDATE: I guess I should clarify that I don’t condone lying like Gleick did, even if it really is to obtain legitimate information for a good cause. However, I still can see how it might be necessary to do this kind of thing to expose corruption sometimes. I mean, if Gleick were an investigative journalist and not a scientist, would that make this different? What if he were a detective? Like I said, it seems “morally ambiguous” as of right now.

What's your stake in this, cowboy?