Gleick apology over Heartland leak stirs ethics debate among climate scientists

The outing of the researcher who exposed the Heartland Institute’s efforts to discredit climate change has thrown the scientific community into tumult, with fierce debates raging on Tuesday over whether to brand his actions heroic, or misguided…

“Heartland has been subverting well-understood science for years,” wrote Scott Mandia, co-founder of the climate science rapid response team. “They also subvert the education of our schoolchildren by trying to ‘teach the controversy’ where none exists.”

Mandia went on: “Peter Gleick, a scientist who is also a journalist, just used the same tricks that any investigative reporter uses to uncover the truth. He is the hero and Heartland remains the villain. He will have many people lining up to support him.”

Others acknowledged Gleick’s wrongdoing, but said it should be viewed in the context of the work of Heartland and other entities devoted to spreading disinformation about science.

“What Peter Gleick did was unethical. He acknowledges that from a point of view of professional ethics there is no defending those actions,” said Dale Jamieson, an expert on ethics who heads the environmental studies programme at New York University. “But relative to what has been going on on the climate denial side this is a fairly small breach of ethics.”

He also rejected the suggestion that Gleick’s wrongdoing could hurt the cause of climate change, or undermine the credibility of scientists…

For many veteran of the climate wars, there was an uncanny parallels to the breach of Heartland materials and the hack of scientists’ emails from East Anglia’s climate research unit in 2009. However, scientists almost invariably noted that Gleick had come clean, unlike those who carried out the East Anglia hack.

Gleick apology over Heartland leak stirs ethics debate among climate scientists | Guardian

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