Environmental activists who think man's use of fossil fuels is catastrophically heating the Earth typically present themselves as dispassionate promoters of facts and truth. Yet it is astonishing how often they use deceptive tactics to advance their cause.
Recently, a prominent environmentalist in California admitted using deception to get confidential documents from The Heartland Institute, a free-market organization that challenges dubious claims about "global warming."
"[I]n a serious lapse of my own professional judgment and ethics, I solicited and received ... materials directly from the Heartland Institute under someone else's name," Peter Gleick wrote of the materials that he received and spread.
Gleick said he wants "rational public debate" on climate change. But as Heartland noted after he admitted getting the documents unethically: "Gleick himself was specifically invited to attend a Heartland event to debate global warming just days before [he obtained the documents.] He turned down the invitation."
This isn't the only case that brings global warming activism into question. Repeatedly, a "respected" research facility at Britain's University of East Anglia stonewalled freedom-of-information requests about climate data and sought to silence skeptical scientists.
The Washington Post reported on emails from the university: "An official from the British Met Office, a scientific organization that analyzes the climate, writes to the Climate Research Unit's then-director, Phil Jones: 'Observations do not show rising temperatures throughout the tropical troposphere unless you accept one single study and approach and discount a wealth of others. This is just downright dangerous. We need to communicate the uncertainty and be honest.'"
The official continued, "I also think the science is being manipulated to put a political spin on it which for all our sakes might not be too clever in the long run."
The Associated Press reported that part of the material suggested the scientists' emails "could be deleted to dodge freedom of information requests."
Meanwhile, a huge 2007 U.N. climate report was riddled with errors:
• It declared that massive glaciers in the Himalayas may melt away by 2035. It should have said the melt-off is predicted for 300 years from now -- if it happens at all.
• It included claims by advocacy groups, not just impartial scientists.
• It said a certain glacier shrank more than 135 meters per year from 1845 to 1965. The real figure turned out to be less than one-fifth of that.
• The Himalayas have 33,000 square kilometers of glaciers, but the report said the glaciers would shrink 400,000 square kilometers.
There should be "rational debate" on global warming. But we don't always get that from certain activists.