On Tuesday (after much amusement at Anthony’s), the AGU announced that, on Feb 16, Peter Gleick had resigned as Chairman of the AGU Committee on Scientific Ethics for “personal, private reasons”.
David Appell has an excellent interview with Michael McFadren, President of AGU, at his blog here. Appell asked why they didn’t announce it at the time; McFadren said that they were waiting to arrange a replacement. Reasonable people can disagree on whether AGU was hoping to make the change without drawing attention to the change.
Appell, a long-time green reporter, asked some interesting questions about the appropriateness of McFadren’s appointment of Chris Mooney as an AGU director, given Mooney’s partisanship, with Appell colorfully characterizing Mooney as someone who seemed to want to be the “Ann Coulter of the left”. (No discussion of Ann Coulter please or whether this comparison is apt.) McFadren appeared totally blind to the insensitivity of appointing Mooney and reiterated that Mooney was appointed merely for his communications skills.
Check it out here As an extra inducement, Mosher’s first (extant) identification of Peter Gleick as the author of the fake memo is at Appell’s blog, but you’ll have to look. (Mosher’s first online identification of Gleick was elsewhere, but the comment was deleted by the blog proprietor.)
If the 16th is the actual day of Gleick’s resignation (and I don’t see why AGU would err on this point), it raises an interesting question of why Gleick resigned on that day? And why did he only resign his chairmanship of the AGU Scientific Ethics committee and not other appointments (e.g. his directorship of NCSE).
Gleick’s identification as the probable author of the fake memo was firmly in play at Lucia’s here, with Mosher’s 1:52 pm (blog time; 2:52 pm EST) laying out the basis of Gleick’s identification (though Mosher let Lucia fill in the blanks.) During the rest of the afternoon, other commentators filled in other blanks, consolidating the identification of Gleick as the author of the fake memo.
Even with the accumulating evidence, it was still almost impossible to believe that someone of Gleick’s age and position would author the fake memo or commit identity fraud. The instinct of many, if not most, commentators was a low-level CAGW activist connected somehow to Gleick, perhaps one connected with the NCSE, given the anomaly of “dissuading teachers from teaching science”. Gleick was a “person of interest”.
On Feb 17, Pielke Jr asked Gleick, but, unknown to everyone, Gleick had already resigned as
Chair of the AGU Scientific Ethics committee.
Thus, it wasn’t Pielke’s question that caused the resignation. Lucia and I chatted today. She thinks that someone from AGU must have confronted Gleick in the late afternoon or evening of the 16th, pointed to him being mentioned as connected with the Heartland memo and asked him in indirect terms whether there was anything that would interfere with him performing his duties as chair of the ethics committee. Perhaps they promised to make a change quietly without drawing attention and, on that basis, Gleick resigned.
Lots of things that don’t make sense right now.