COMMENTARY | Last week a bunch of documents that were reportedly from the Heartland Institute, a libertarian think thank that is infamous amongst environmentalists and scientists for their highly funded attempts to refute the well documented science on climate change, were leaked on to the internet by an anonymous source. Some speculated that they may have not been real, while others speculated that the documents may have been stolen.
According to The Guardian, on Feb. 20, after an investigation and much speculation, climate scientist Peter Gleick admitted to being the person who had leaked the documents, but in a interesting twist, it was revealed that he had used a fake name to work for and gain access to Heartland's documents. Although this is illegal and Mr. Gleick should and will be punished to the full extent of the law, a look at the documents released gives us what can only be referred to as a disturbing insight into the small but lavishly funded group of think tanks, business interests, and politicians who want to not only create doubt in the almost unanimously agreed upon field of man made climate change, but want to create school curricula that undermine the well established findings of climate change, by either asserting that there is not consensus among climate scientists, or by just refuting it altogether.
This situation, although completely illegal, creates a muddied moral dilemma for those of us who have seen the effect these climate heretics have had on the majority of the poorly informed and easily manipulated voting public. Does the illegal action taken by Mr. Gleick justify the revelation into the corrupt and sinister business of climate denial? Given that the Heartland Institute is funded so well by industries that have a vested interest in the continued climate ignorance by the public, what they are doing is highly unethical by any definition of the word. The path this one enraged scientist took was against the law, but in the long term the unmasking of the conspiracy engaged in by climate change deniers was a necessity. If we ever want to be able to stop the undermining of real science and open our eyes and change our policy to be able to pass on a planet that is not in rapid decay on to our posterity we must look at the information he uncovered separately from his crime. I believe if we can correctly use the information Mr. Gleick will be punished for acquiring, we will create a better future for future generations and his crimes will be remembered. We must not let these findings be in vain.
Suzanne Goldenberg, http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/feb/21/peter-gleick-admits-leaked-heartland-institute-documents , The Guardian