American Geophysical Union Welcomes Back Disgraced Peter Gleick, Gives Him Speaking Slot

ClimateAuditGleickClimate Audit’s Steve McIntyre attended the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco from December 3-7, and blogged about it Saturday. Of the 20,000 people in attendance, McIntyre writes that he was shocked to run into Peter Gleick — admitted fraudster, thief of confidential Heartland Institute documents, and the star of the “Fakegate” scandal of his own making.

But the most surprising, even astonishing, appearance was by Peter Gleick himself. Gleick did not simply return, but was honored by an invitation to speak at a prestigious Union session. I hadn’t even thought to look for Gleick on the program, but noticed him outside a session.

It is not just astonishing that Gleick would show his face at the AGU’s conference considering his admitted crimes, but that the AGU invited Gleick to speak at one of the sessions.

On February 21, 2012 — one day after Gleick admitted his guilt — the AGU announced it accepted Gleick’s resignation from … er … the organization’s Task Force on Scientific Ethics. Gleick “acted in a way that is inconsistent with our organization’s values,” the AGU stated, adding:

AGU expects its members to adhere to the highest standards of scientific integrity in their research and in their interactions with colleagues and the public. Among the core values articulated in AGU’s Strategic Plan are ‘excellence and integrity in everything we do.’ The vast majority of scientists share and live by these values.

That statement appears to be no longer operative. One cannot take such a statement seriously when a scientist who admitted committing fraud, theft (and probably forgery) is welcomed back by the AGU to speak at the first possible opportunity at one of its most prestigious and heavily attended conferences.

It’s a bit amusing, but hardly consolation, that Gleick’s session was lightly attended, according to the photograph McIntyre took below.


Give McIntyre a lot fo credit for tracking down Linda Gunderson, Gleick’s successor as chairman of the Ethics Task Force, speaking to her after she led a workshop on scientific ethics. Writes McIntyre (emphasis mine):

“Gundersen spoke about AGU’s work on ethics, but made no mention of her predecessor as Chair of the Ethics Task Force and provided no explanation of his return as an invited speaker at a Union session. I asked Gundersen whether the AGU Task Force on Ethics had considered the Gleick affair and, if so, what were its conclusions. In particular, I asked whether they had investigated the forged strategy memo which Gleick had distributed, but had not confessed to.

Gundersen said that the Task Force had not considered the Gleick affair at all. It had done no investigation of Gleick’s conduct whatever. She said that Gleick wasn’t her responsibility and refused to be drawn into commenting on the affair in any way. She observed that the proposed Ethics Policy had not been in place at the time of the Gleick affair and that the AGU could therefore not retroactively apply the policy to Gleick, suggesting that this further demonstrated the need for an AGU ethics policy. She also observed that, in any event, the primary responsibility for enforcing ethics lay with the employing institution. (In Gleick’s case, the Pacific Institute, whose “investigation”, to my knowledge, did not include contact with Heartland Institute or any investigation of the document forgery.)”

Well. I can confirm for McIntyre that the Pacific Institute did not contact anyone at Heartland during the course of their “investigation.” And I think we can all confirm that the AGU is not at all serious about ethics.

For comprehensive coverage of Gleick’s Fakegate scandal, visit It includes two letters from Heartland to the Pacific Institute, Gleick’s confession, Gleick’s phishing emails, as well as links to contemporary coverage of the scandal.

Below is a tweet from Gleick promoting his speaking gig, and his speaking slot in the official program:



[First and second photos: Climate Audit]

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