Pacific Institute

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Study: Urban Water Use Will Outpace Efficiency Gains

But returning to “Hollywood” showers will just make things worse

Craig Miller

Californians may want to rethink the long-established tradition of watering the sidewalk.

You installed a low-flow toilet. You take fast showers. Your yard is water-wise and drought-tolerant. And even if everyone in California were just like you, which they’re not — yet — the state would still see a significant bump in urban water demand by the end of the century. The culprit: warmer temperatures caused by climate change.

An innovative new model developed by researchers at Oakland’s Pacific Institute shows that even if California meets its current goal of reducing per-capita water usage 20 percent by 2020 — and continues to improve water efficiency at a similar rate through the end of the century — still, by 2100 the state’s urban water demand will increase by eight percent, or roughly one million acre-feet (with all other factors held constant). That’s a lot of water: enough to satisfy the current household needs of 6.7 million Californians. Continue reading

Peter Gleick Returns to Post as Pacific Institute President

The Heartland Institute cries foul as Gleick is invited back to work

Pacific Institute

After a three-month internal investigation, Pacific Institute president Peter Gleick has been cleared of further wrongdoing in the Heartland Institute scandal.

The announcement that Peter Gleick has been reinstated as president of the Pacific Institute was met with an outcry from the Heartland Institute, which has vowed to press ahead in its effort to prosecute the noted scientist for fraud.

In February, Gleick admitted he had faked his identity to obtain internal documents from the conservative think-tank.

“The Pacific Institute’s board of directors has failed to perform its duty and should be deeply ashamed,” said Heartland president Joseph Bast in a statement released today. “We have asked the federal government to prosecute Gleick for what we believe were serious crimes he committed, and we await its decision.”

Gleick took a leave of absence from the Oakland-based Pacific Institute in February, as an independent internal investigation began looking into allegations that he had given a false name to Heartland, and also manufactured a document containing detailed strategy information on Heartland’s national effort to downplay climate science.

While the Pacific Institute has not released any documents detailing the specifics of the investigation, it has cleared him of any further wrongdoing.
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Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick Breaks Silence

Beleaguered climate scientist emerges but stays mum on Heartland

Jeremy Miller

Pacific Institute founder Peter Gleick steered clear of his current controversy in his remarks at a water policy conference in L.A.

Nearly three weeks after admitting that he had faked his identity to obtain documents from a conservative think-tank, noted California scientist and president of the Pacific Institute, Peter Gleick, returned to the public arena.

Gleick spoke at the annual California Water Policy Conference in Los Angeles and was warmly received by a crowd of roughly 300 California scientists, regulators and advocates.

Notably missing from Gleick’s talk — which focused on a wide range of global and regional water issues central to the Pacific Institute’s core mission — was any specific mention of last month’s confession that he had impersonated of a board member of the Chicago-based, libertarian Heartland Institute to obtain internal documents outlining the group’s anti-climate change campaign. Continue reading

New Boss at the Pacific Institute, New Salvo from Heartland

The Pacific Institute and the Heartland Institute: Both sides are digging in

World Economic Forum/Flickr

Peter Gleick is taking a temporary leave of absence from the Pacific Institute.

The Pacific Institute has posted a new statement to its website, saying the board is hiring an independent firm to investigate the actions and allegations surrounding its founder, Peter Gleick, who admitted last week to using deception in order to obtain documents from the Heartland Institute.

Gleick requested a temporary leave of absence over the weekend and the board has nominated Elena Schmid, an independent consultant, to head the organization on an interim basis. According to a bio from the Pacific Institute, Schmid has worked at California Independent System Operator, “focusing on policy, communications, and human resources for this corporation that manages the high voltage transmission lines for California,” and at the California Public Utilities Commission, “developing policies, programs, projects, and budgets that resulted in active representation of long-term consumer interests in telecommunications, gas, water, and electric industries.” Continue reading

Pacific Institute’s Work Rises Above the Gleick Fiasco

UPDATE: Founder asks for leave of absence in the wake of impersonation scandal

Craig Miller/KQED

Founded in 1987, the Pacific Institute is housed in this Oakland Victorian.

ANALYSIS

The old blue-and-gray Victorian in Oakland’s preservation district is familiar turf for me and other journalists on the resources beat. It’s long been a place we could rely on for solid information and interviews.

The analysts who inhabit the rabbit warren of offices at the Pacific Institute are doing honest work on issues that are critical to the future of California and the West, notably where our water will come from. There are few issues more deserving of study than that one.

So I was troubled when, in the haboob of outrage surrounding the tragic missteps of its founder, Peter Gleick, this particularly intemperate remark appeared in the comments thread of the Climate Watch blog: Continue reading

Clouds Gather for Scientist who Purloined Documents

Support from Pacific Institute’s board, funders may be wavering

World Economic Forum/Flickr

Peter Gleick is a prominent water scientist and a Macarthur Fellow.

The furor surrounding Peter Gleick’s admission that he lied in order to get internal documents from the Heartland Institute appears to be gaining momentum, with the board and at least one major funder of Gleick’s Oakland-based Pacific Institute appearing to back-peddle on initial statements of support.

Gleick, who co-founded the Institute, wrote in a blog post earlier this week that he impersonated a Heartland insider to obtain the information, which includes strategy and fundraising details from the organization, a conservative think tank that’s against taking action on climate change.

Gleick has already stepped down from positions with the American Geophysical Union and the National Center for Science Education. Initially the Pacific Institute stood by him, saying in a brief statement posted to its website, Gleick “has been and continues to be an integral part of our team.” That statement is no longer there, replaced yesterday by one that takes a different tone:

The Board of Directors of the Pacific Institute is deeply concerned and is actively reviewing information about the recent events involving its president, Dr. Peter Gleick, and documents pertaining to the Heartland Institute. Neither the board nor the staff of the Pacific Institute knew of, played any role in, or condones these events. As facts emerge and are confirmed, the Board will inform all stakeholders of our findings and of any actions based on these findings.

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Resignation and Remorse: Gleick Faces Fallout from Heartland Documents Leak

The Pacific Institute is standing by its founder, but other consequences are piling up

Craig Miller/KQED

Peter Gleick is a co-founder of the Pacific Institute, a research group based in Oakland.

Climate scientist Peter Gleick, who last night admitted that he was the source of leaked documents from the Heartland Institute, has resigned from the American Geophysical Union’s Task Force on Scientific Ethics. Gleick was chair of the task force, which met for the first time last November. According to a press release from the AGU, Gleick resigned last Thursday — after the explosive documents appeared on various blogs but before his online admission as perpetrator.

He’s also stepped down from a position which he hadn’t yet officially begun with the National Center for Science Education, an organization that advocates for evolution and climate change education in schools. Gleick was scheduled to begin serving on its board this week, but tendered his resignation yesterday.

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Bay Area Scientist Owns up to Lying to Get Heartland Documents

The Pacific Institute’s Peter Gleick says he was blinded by frustration when he used subterfuge to obtain and leak the internal documents

Earlier this month, documents were allegedly leaked from the Heartland Institute — a think tank that questions human-caused climate change — which describe elements of the organization’s strategy to discredit climate science, and include background on funders. Now climate scientist Peter Gleick, the founder of the Pacific Institute, has admitted to using deception to obtain the information.

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Who Generated the Most Climate “B.S.” in 2011?

Despite flagging media coverage, there was plenty to go around, says a Bay Area scientist

Despite a dozen billion-dollar weather catastrophes in the US alone, year-end tallies show that overall, coverage of climate change continued to flag in the mainstream media.

That isn’t to say that there wasn’t plenty of public jabber about it, much of it wrong, according to Peter Gleick, who heads the Oakland-based Pacific Institute. Gleick is a hydrologist and one of the more outspoken science figures on Western water and climate issues. As a countermeasure against what he calls climate “disinformation,” Gleick and some colleagues have started handing out yearly Climate B.S. (Bad Science) Awards. In so doing, Gleick doesn’t spare the media itself. His list of 2011 “winners” came out today (gratefully we’re not on it). The following are Gleick’s words. Some of the links are mine. May I have the envelope, please: Continue reading

Water Efficiency May Ease Colorado River Woes

Study shows most western cities aren’t wasting as much water

Lake Powell, the Colorado River's second-largest reservoir, in April 2010 (Photo: Gretchen Weber)

There’s some good news for the 35 million people in the Western United States who rely on the Colorado River for their water, says a new study from the Oakland-based Pacific Institute.

No, the supply isn’t increasing.  And yes, the population is still growing.

But according to the paper, entitled Municipal Deliveries of Colorado River Basin Water, more efficient water use by water agencies across the West is making the supply/demand gap a lot less painful than it could be.

“Although population growth has increased very quickly, the amount of water delivered has not kept pace,” said study author Michael Cohen. “That shows that people have been getting much more efficient with their use of water.” Continue reading