Welcoming Peter Gleick to the Climate Blogging Community

Peter Gleick chose to write this as a description of himself in the introduction to his new weblog, Significant Figures: “Dr. Peter Gleick is a scientist, innovator, and communicator on global water, environment, and climate issues. He co-founded and leads the Pacific Institute in Oakland – an independent non-governmental organization addressing the connections between the environment and global sustainability. Dr. Gleick’s work has redefined water from the realm of engineers to the world of sustainability, human rights, and integrated thinking across the disciplines of the geosciences, economics, and policy. He produced some of the earliest assessments of the impacts of climate change on water resources, explored the links between water and conflict, and defined basic human needs for water and the human right to water – work that has been used by the UN and in human rights court cases. He pioneered the concepts of the “soft path for water” and “peak water.” Gleick received the prestigious MacArthur “genius” Fellowship in 2003 and was named “a visionary on the environment” by the BBC. He was elected in 2006 to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences.”

Those who follow the climate frenzy know that there may be one or two details missing from this biography. But America loves a second act and we spent much of the past 40 years watching convicted felons from the Watergate scandal rehabilitate themselves, up to and including Richard Nixon. So more power to him.

My interest in this is from the perspective of what I’m tempted to call ‘sympathetic expertise’, by which I mean that Peter Gleick bills himself as an expert on water resources but is speaking out on climate change.

Water supplies, especially at a regional level, will be undoubtedly impacted by climate change, so I understand his interest. What I find a bit odd is that someone who has an interest in the impacts of climate change would be automatically accorded credibility regarding its causes and current progress.

I’m sure others will be happy to explain this to me. In the meantime, let’s look at what he writes about his subject of expertise–water.

In his first post, Gleick writes “few people know that the total amount of useable, renewable freshwater on the planet is a tiny fraction of all of the water on Earth.”

As a veteran observer of climate concealment (the art by which someone exaggerates a problem by not putting metrics in the proper perspective), his statement immediately puts me on the alert.

It is certainly true that a very small percentage of water is available for human use. Only 2.5% of all water is fresh. Worse, 70% of that 2.5% is locked up as ice in Greenland and Antarctic, or the 100,000 glaciers dotting the landscape. But what’s left over and available to us is a rather large amount–twice as much as we currently use and three times as much as we actually need.

There are about 9,000 cubic kilometers of fresh water available for human use with an additional 3,500 cubic kilometers stored behind dams or in reservoirs. That’s about 5,000 cubic meters per person, three times what the UN says is needed. We currently use about 50% of it. Most of what we use gets cycled back into the environment for reuse by the world’s most efficient recycler, nature’s eco-systems.

However, about 780 million people don’t have easy access to enough fresh water for their needs (down from about 1.2 billion in 2007–yay!).  Obviously, given the actual surplus of fresh water, this turns into a logistical issue–transporting water is older than the Romans and a lot of big companies are engaged in it today. So this reverts to the simple issue of either bringing water to where the people are or people where the water are.

Aqueduct Pont de Gard

It’s developmental politics and Gleick is mistaken to cast the issue as a resource constraint. There have been localized water shortages due to drought or development for thousands of years. These problems have been solved by solutions ranging from canals to migration to better climes.

If Gleick intends to make water resources a locus of the climate conversation, one would think he would start off with the scientific consensus–which is that precipitation is expected to increase by 5% due to global warming.

Which leads the conversation back to where it started–solving the problem of getting it efficiently and economically from where it falls to where it is needed. But that’s not a climate conversation at all, is it?

Welcome to the blogosphere, Mr. Gleick.

58 responses to “Welcoming Peter Gleick to the Climate Blogging Community

  1. Dr Gleick to you. Unless you’re being deliberately offensive, of course.

    • Thanks for sharing, Mr. Connolley. Doctor is as doctor does. Doctor does not–not doctor.

      The term ‘honorific’ should actually mean something, shouldn’t it?

    • “Dr.” in reasonable conversation is given to medical doctors.
      For Mr. Gleick, the only thing he heals is his wallet and most certainly not his reputation.
      “Mr.” is held for someone who deserves respect.
      Tom is certainly welcome to give that honorific to Gleick, but I generally do not give respect to confessed liars and frauds.

    • Coming from an individual who has mastered being deliberately offensive.

  2. Its not an honourific. Its a title. “Mr” is an error, for him, and for me.

    If you want a reputation for carelessness, deliberate incivility, and inaccuracy, do persist.

    • Bill, you’ve worked so hard to preserve my reputation that I can only offer you my heartfelt thanks for your advice.

      Had Pete received his due for the disgrace he brought on the institution that conferred the title upon him–had Pete received his due for the disgrace he brought upon the institution where he worked–had he received his due from institutions such as the AGU–then perhaps he could have begun his ‘rehab journey’ with a bit more credibility than a Hollywood actor facing a criminal sentence.

      But none of the august bodies charged with preserving the honor and reputation of science and ethics in its practice (oh, yeah–that was Pete, wasn’t it?) discharged their duties to science and the public. That leaves it to the public to reward Pete for theft, forgery and fraud.

      So, Bill–you can tell Pete that I’ve unilaterally stripped him of his ‘title’. In return, I’ll tell BoJo that there is another convert to the belief in class and caste and his name is Bill.

      • This is kindergarten stuff on your part.

        Is that what your blog is for? Childish insults? Grow up.

      • You’re trapped here, Bill. I refuse to let you leave! You must come here day after day, hour after hour and read my evile scribblings.

      • And who better to listen to regarding childish insults than Bill Connolley?

        ‘Judith Curry is a bozo.’ ‘The bizarrely-ennobled Matt Ridley’ (Missing a title there, are we?) ‘Steve: And yes you are a cretin.’ ‘Its all about me refers. This wasn’t terribly exciting the first time round, but now that dullard AW has finally noticed – its only taken him three+ weeks. And AW has only noticed because the Kalte cretins have recycled it.’

        One week’s worth of findings.

      • > One week’s worth of findings.

        It took you a week to find that? You’re not trying very hard.

        > ‘Judith Curry is a bozo.’

        In that context, quotation marks around the phrase means its supposed to be exact. Since I haven’t used that phrase, you’re (again) guilty of careless inaccuracy.

        What you’re showing is your lack of exposure to any kind of even rudimentary scientific training.

        For Curry, I think you’re thinking of http://scienceblogs.com/stoat/2011/11/09/tol-vs-curry/

        That’s from, err, 2011.

        All this is such a stupid waste of time. Would it have been so hard to quietly admit your error and correct Gleicks title?

      • Do you really forget who you insult so quickly? Head over to Keith’s and peruse.

        I did not make an error. I consciously choose not to address Peter as doctor, unless it’s in reference to doctoring documents, something for which he has shown a marked proclivity. Perhaps you’ll explain why you choose not to use the appropriate title for Matt Ridley?

        If you think it’s a waste of time, quit wasting your time.

      • Hey, Dr. Connolley, when you refer to Dr. Curry, please use the title (if you’re gonna make such a big fuss over it elsewhere).

        Max.

    • Now wm is being a pedantic troll.
      Gleick is a fraud, a liar an extremist and a manipulator.
      Anything but a doctor.

  3. “Gleicks title”

    What kind of title does one get for impersonating someone you are not?
    For most mortals ‘inmate’ applies.

  4. http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/collideascape/2011/10/30/a-climate-soap-opera/ ?

    That’s from, err, 2011. You do treasure your grudges. And no, its still not a direct quote. You really do care very little for accuracy.

    > I consciously choose not to address Peter as doctor

    I suppose you can if you like. Omitting his title is possible, if impolite. Substituting a false title, however, is a falsehood. You see the difference?

    • Haw! You really don’t remember how many times you’ve called Judith Curry a bozo! Keep digging, Bill. In more ways than one.

      Thanks for your generous permission to express my opinion. I still don’t remember seeing your explanation for omitting Matt Ridley’s title…

      • Errrm, only just above I said “Omitting his title is possible…” You’ll find the sequitur, I’m sure.

        I also asked if you understood the difference between an omission and a deliberate falsehood. The answer would appear to be no.

        As to Curry, I’m sure I’ve said a number of things about her. However the exact phrase you’re trying to attribute doesn’t appear to be one of them. Feel free to prove me wrong by providing a link to it, and I’ll be happy to correct myself.

      • I bow to the king of childish insults–you cannot remember how many times you called Judith Curry a bozo.

        You excoriate me for not calling an admitted thief, a non-denier of forgery a doctor but you refuse to call Matthew Ridley by his title.

        For someone who believes so strongly in the class system, you show a remarkable lack of it.

      • Tom,

        I’m sure you know the stories about the pig. Whether it is wrestling it or putting lipstick on it, the result is always the same. You are still dealing with a pig. William Connolley simply extends that line of stories. Award a pig a diploma and you still have a pig. Perhaps an exceptionally intelligent one, but a pig none the less.

      • In a strange way I was almost waiting on Connolley or one of his tribe to show up and do something like that. I wanted to be really restrained with what I said about Gleick in the post–and I think I was. And I would have left it like that, although Connolley will never believe it. But once he started flaming I ended up writing all the stuff I was being too restrained to say earlier.

    • Little wm’s trolldom is entertaining to watch.
      You extended an undeserved hand of civilized respect to someone who does not deserve it and wm-the-troll can only obsess over trying to force you to call Peter Gleick a doctor.
      After wm has gone on record insulting other PhD holders, more academically accomplished, deliberately insulting names.
      wm’s meltdown over “Mr.” vs. “Dr.” regarding the ilk of Peter Gleick is priceless.
      Thanks, Tom.

  5. > omitting Matt Ridley’s title…

    I notice you’re doing the same. Both in comment here and, e.g., at https://thelukewarmersway.wordpress.com/2013/02/08/matt-ridleys-seventh-and-eighth-tests/. Clearly his title is optional as far as you’re concerned.

    Incidentally, I believe you are wrong to call MR “Lord Matthew Ridley’”: http://www.parliament.uk/get-involved/contact-a-lord/address/ appears to indicate that “Lord Ridley” would be correct. But I can’t claim expertise in that area.

    > class system

    Doctorates have nothing to do with the class system. The “Lord” stuff arguably does. If anyone is propping up the class system, its you.

    > You excoriate me

    Excoriate? You have a very low threshold. I simply pointed out your error. Quite politely, really.

    > you cannot remember

    Still no link, huh? More evidence-free empty assertions from you.

  6. Absolutely no clue what you’re on about guv. Still, its useful squid ink for you I suppose.

  7. Tom, I must say that I found the title of this post somewhat, well, alarming! Which just goes to show that one should never judge a post by its title (or a person by her/his, come to think of it)!

    Gleick’s recent reinvention of himself is quite interesting. In his modest (!) self-assessment, he writes that he is:

    a scientist, innovator, and communicator on global water, environment, and climate issues … [whose] work has redefined water from the realm of engineers to the world of sustainability, human rights, and integrated thinking across the disciplines of the geosciences, economics, and policy.

    How in Gaia’s name does one “redefine” water, I wonder?! Oh, well, it seems that once one jumps on the “sustainability” bandwagon (as Gleick did when he co-founded his little fiefdom circa 1987), as the old song says, “anything goes”.

    But I suppose one should give Gleick’s clouded mirror some credit in that it is no longer reflecting an image of Gleick’s pretensions to being:

    an internationally recognized climate and water expert and works at the intersection of science and policy, including issues related to the integrity of science [emphasis added -hro]

    Because “integrity” (of science – or anything else for that matter) is certainly not a word that comes to mind when Gleick’s name is mentioned. Nor is expertise in (matters pertaining to his then top-billed) “climate”.

    P.S. I really do like your “climate concealment” coinage. Hope you don’t mind if I borrow it🙂

  8. [Sorry, I messed up the tags … let me try that again]

    Tom, I must say that I found the title of this post somewhat, well, alarming! Which just goes to show that one should never judge a post by its title (or a person by her/his, come to think of it)!

    Gleick’s recent reinvention of himself is quite interesting. In his modest (!) self-assessment, he writes that he is:

    a scientist, innovator, and communicator on global water, environment, and climate issues … [whose] work has redefined water from the realm of engineers to the world of sustainability, human rights, and integrated thinking across the disciplines of the geosciences, economics, and policy.

    How in Gaia’s name does one “redefine” water, I wonder?! Oh, well, it seems that once one jumps on the “sustainability” bandwagon (as Gleick did when he co-founded his little fiefdom circa 1987), as the old song says “anything goes”.

    But I suppose one should give Gleick’s clouded mirror some credit in that it is no longer reflecting an image of Gleick’s pretensions to:

    an internationally recognized climate and water expert and works at the intersection of science and policy, including issues related to the integrity of science [emphasis added -hro]

    Because “integrity” (of science – or anything else for that matter) is certainly not a word that comes to mind when Gleick’s name is mentioned. Nor is expertise in (matters pertaining to his then top billed) “climate”.

    P.S. I really do like your “climate concealment” coinage. Hope you don’t mind if I borrow it🙂

  9. I always like to watch Dr. Cannoli get his clock cleaned.

  10. Dr. Cannoli writes: “Its not an honourific. Its a title. . . .”

    From Dr. Cannoli’s favorite stomping ground (literally), Wikipedia:

    Other honorifics may denote the honored person’s occupation, for instance “Doctor”, “Captain”, “Coach”, Officer, “Reverend” for all clergy and/or “Father” . . .

  11. Me thinks this commentary perfectly illustrates some of the root causes for the “climate editing wars” at Wikipedia.🙂

  12. It is kind of you to assume Connolley is a Jekyll and Hyde type, implying he has a good side!

    Jeremy Grantham has been described as being in a cage match with himself. He personally opposes the Keystone XL pipeline, while his money management firm invests in companies which would profit by its construction.

    He urges people to break the law and exaggerate (does that mean lie?) for the climate, while money management firms must necessarily be considered ethical.

    http://tomnelson.blogspot.com/2012/11/epic-cage-match-planet-healing-warmist.html

  13. Fraudster Gleick reinvents water the way he reinvents truth, integrity and ethics.
    His bloviating cv actually does give insight on how he rationalized his identity theft and internet data theft and forgery.
    Thanks for bringing this up Tom.
    He is yet another great example of how AGW extremism and kookiness leads to near delusional, if not out right delusional, thinking.
    His fixation on this makes me think of the sad story of that Argentine family that committed suicide because AGW was going to be so bad.

  14. SayNoToFearmongers

    hunter,
    Much as it grieves me to support the self-labelled mustelid Connolley, the use of ‘Dr’ by the medical profession is (in my part of the world) a misappropriated title which fraudulently claims that they hold a doctorate. Those of us who actually DO hold such degrees might well resent being told that we’re not ‘proper’ doctors when the reality is exactly the reverse of what you’re telling us.

  15. Hi Tom, Pielke Jr. has an interesting post that addresses some of the precautionary mitigation issues, and muses on the “wrongness” of doing something for the wrong reason. Similar to the concerns I expressed with your positions. I know this is OT, but I was unsure where to post.

    • Hi Bob–I’m not too fussy about where comments land, so don’t worry about it. I saw Pielke’s post–a lot of stuff going around in the blogosphere right now. Did you see Paul K’s post on The Blackboard?

  16. Normally I find your writing measured and soothing as a Calgon bath so I was thinking I could safely go from reading the Dalai Lama to your blog.
    Now I’ve spent the last 30 minutes furiously scribbling in my anger management diary.

    Now tell me true, the last time you referred to Mengele was it Dr. or plain Joseph….Arghhh….having broken Godwin’s Rule, I lose.

  17. Fred from Canuckistan . . .

    When you hang around with pigs, you end stinking like their shit.

    Your choice to hang with him, but your reputation will be tarred with his tawdry malfeasances and lack of contrition.

  18. Which direction does one point their moral compass?As a geoscientist their is of course a professional code of conduct. This seems to be missing with respect to many climate scientists. Perhaps this is because many of the scientists are University faculty and as such (as far as I am aware) not held to a professional code of conduct. By this I mean a code of conduct such as P.Eng. or P.Geol. A Professor of earth sciences is not required to be a P.Geol. to teach (lecture) and do research.

    So what moral compass might one use above and beyond or in place of a professional code of conduct? I for one would consider as unacceptable any actions that would cause my spouse and children public humiliation or embarressment. When in doubt another metric is, would my mother approve? Would it cause her disappointment? Would she be embarressed or humiliated in front of the family or community?

    With respect to Gleick or Connolly, under any of these measures, they would fail the test, and not just by a little. A 7 out of 100.

  19. Heartland Institute has a 57 page “anniversary” gift for Gleick which they will be releasing on … Feb. 14 [h/t Tom Nelson]:

    The Criminal Case Against Peter Gleick

    On February 14, 2012 – one year ago – Fakegate began. Like Climategate, it was a scandal revealing the dishonesty and desperation of those who claim man-made global warming (alias “climate change”) is a crisis. Fakegate involved criminal activity, repeated lying, and outright theft by a high-ranking scientist in the global warming movement. How the mainstream media covered the incident spoke volumes about how liberal bias pervades media today.

    On Thursday, February 14, 2013, The Heartland Institute is releasing a 57-page report produced by its legal counsel […]

    • Hilary,

      Yes, many are eagerly awaiting the 57 page legal summary within a matter of 24 hours or less now, one hopes….

      fyi, as a reminder to “team” members (and all of us) not to be over-confident in our own judgment, one of my all-time favorite comments on any blog invites quotation now…. (see below)…. on Feb. 18, 2012, just two days before Gleick’s “confession” as a limited partial halfway hangout ala Watergate notoriety, the esteemed Michael Tobis ridiculed the increasing speculations that Gleick was centrally involved.

      Here is what Tobis said to beat back increasingly accurate blog inferences that Gleick was likely to have been involved:

      Michael Tobis stumbles on Gleick’s Fakegate

      “…The suggestion that someone as socially adept and successful as Peter Gleick is involved in this proposed clumsy heist and forgery is ludicrous and not worth considering either way….”

      — Michael Tobis on WUWT, February 18, 2012 —

      Now anyone can be wrong anytime on some off-the-cuff blog comment, no doubt, but what is interesting is that Tobis and his ilk then considered it so unthinkable (“ludicrous” was his term), yet as soon as loyal team members needed to re-adjust to the new “story” how many of them (including Tobis) have since lined up to continue to bash Heartland while condoning, praising, or defending Gleick’s behavior in a variety of ways?

      If it was at all reasonable to say in advance that it was “ludicrous” to think Gleick had been involved, before his own confession, then that implies the behavior was so reckless, unethical, anti-professional, and/or illegal that it should be unthinkable for any serious scientist or professional.

      Yet, Gleick confessed to key parts of the unethical (and illegal) behavior. He has not yet confessed to forging the “strategy memo” but he did confess to the “phishing” of Heartland by impersonating someone else (reportedly a former astronaut and US Senator). The irony is that the spotlight focused on Gleick BECAUSE of the language of the fake “strategy memo” which Mosher and others zeroed in on. Gleick was fingered BEFORE he confessed due to the idiosyncratic language in the forged memo which he pretends came to him from some other source (yeah, right). More popcorn…..

      • Skiphil,

        I’ve never put much stock in any of Tobis’s bloviating. He’s always struck me as being someone who has an (extremely unwarranted) high opinion of himself (and his own opinions!) Well, that and being a single-trick pony whose zealous advocacy of “we must have a carbon tax now” tends to colour all his misperceptions.

        But, occasionally, I find it amusing to watch him tie himself up in rhetorical knots … then run away from the thread rather than (perish the thought) admit that he was wrong.

        As you quite rightly suggest … More popcorn🙂 Tomorrow promises to be an interesting day, methinks!

      • [I’m beginning to wonder if WordPress is an “anti-femitic” content management package! … let me try that first paragraph, again]:

        I’ve never put much stock in any of Tobis’s bloviating. He’s always struck me as being someone who has an (extremely unwarranted) high opinion of himself (and his own opinions!) Well, that and being a single-trick pony whose zealous advocacy of “we must have a carbon tax now” tends to colour all his misperceptions.

  20. Pingback: New Voices | The Lukewarmer's Way

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