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Case Studies

Misrepresenting Climate Science:
Cherry-picking Data to Hide the Disappearance of Arctic Ice

February 2011

Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick analyzes the egregious “cherry-picking” of data done by the Heartland Institute. In a desperate attempt to try to support a long-debunked paper by former senator, astronaut, and self-described climate “denier” Harrison Schmitt claiming there was as much or more Arctic ice in 2009 than 1989, Heartland searched through the ice records from the National Snow and Ice Data Center and found the single month (April), where the area of ice was higher in 2009 than 1989. There was less ice in 2009 in January, February, March, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, December, on average, the maximum, and the minimum. The complete record of ice data for the years shows that the disappearing Arctic ice cap is irrefutable, and the more serious loss of total amount of ice measured by volume is even more dramatic. This kind of bad science is an indication of how desperate some are to deny the observational evidence from around the world, as well as their lack of ethics and the lengths they'll go to confuse the media and public.

Read the full analysis.

Public Comment on the EPA's Drinking Water Preliminary Regulatory Determination

November 2008

In early October, the EPA issued their preliminary determination not to regulate perchlorate levels in our nation's public water systems. After reviewing the Determination and relevant literature, the Pacific Institute submitted a public comment expressing their disagreement with the EPA’s decision.

Read the public comment.

Driving vs. Walking: Cows, Climate Change, and Choice

May 2008

Despite recent, high-profile media claims that walking is worse for the planet than driving, a Pacific Institute analysis shows that when it comes to your carbon footprint, results vary significantly based on the factors assumed. The environmental impacts of our choices require a discerning look.

Read the Pacific Institute's Driving vs. Walking: Cows, Climate Change, and Choice.

Hummer vs. Prius 2008 Redux

March 2008

A year after a faulty marketing report fueled an automotive face-off, the Pacific Institute, armed with newly released Consumer Reports’ data, returns to the Hummer versus Prius debate and finds the Prius is (still) more energy efficient over its lifetime than the Hummer.

Read the Pacific Institute's Hummer vs. Prius 2008 Redux.

Bottled Water and Energy: Getting to 17 Million Barrels

December 2007

Numerous high-profile articles and editorials cited that an estimated 1.5 million barrels of oil equivalent were needed to produce the bottles for annual U.S. bottled water consumption.

A recent assessment by the Pacific Institute concludes the actual number is more than 10 times the incorrect figure.

Download Bottled Water and Energy: Getting to 17 Million Barrels (PDF)

Hummer versus Prius:
“Dust to Dust” Report Misleads the Media and Public with Bad Science

by Peter H. Gleick, May, 2007

The CNW Marketing Research, Inc.’s 2007 “Dust to Dust: The Energy Cost of New Vehicles From Concept to Disposal” caught the interest of the media and the public with its claim that a Hummer H3 SUV has a lower life-cycle energy cost than a Toyota Prius hybrid. Closer inspection suggests that the report’s conclusions rely on faulty methods of analysis, untenable assumptions, selective use and presentation of data, and a complete lack of peer review.

Read the Pacific Institute's seven page re-analysis of “Dust to Dust”

The Political and Selective Use of Data:
Cherry-Picking Climate Data in the White House

by Peter H. Gleick, March 12, 2007

The White House's claim that the United States is doing better than Europe in reducing greenhouse gas emissions relies on the misuse of science and data, as the Pacific Institute points out in The Political and Selective Use of Data.

Read The Political and Selective Use of Data:
Cherry-Picking Climate Data in the White House

Washington’s Attacks on Science “Pervasive”

Testimony submitted February 7, 2007.

Political distortions of the scientific process have undergone a dramatic rise in Washington over the past six years, according to the Senate testimony of Dr. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute. Gleick’s testimony was provided to the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation hearing on Climate Change Research and Science Integrity Wednesday. Misuse of science and attacks on scientists, Gleick finds, have been pervasive and categorical.

Download testimony (PDF)

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Defining and Protecting the Integrity of Science:
New Challenges for the 21st Century

Peter Gleick's ENN Commentaries

Challenging The Skeptical Environmentalist (PDF)

Legal Threats Against
Climate Scientists


UCS's Scientific Integrity work