A genius caught between theft and heroism

Pacific Institute president and MacArthur Foundation fellow Peter Gleick impersonated a board member of an organization dedicated to denying climate change for all the right reasons but it now threatens his distinguished career. Is he a hero or a criminal -- or both?

“Isn’t it true …”

It was a long day yesterday and watching a lawyer for Las Vegas question a water analyst from a California wasn’t supposed to be part of it, until it was. Seldom are courtroom proceedings in real life better than they are on, say, “The Good Wife.” But for the first half of Wednesday, November 9th, 2011, in the on-going Carson City hearings over whether or not to grant a Las Vegas pipeline water from four rural Nevada valleys, reality won.

Appearing for Las Vegas was Steven Sims, a New Mexico-based lawyer better known in California as counsel for the Westlands Water District, the Central Valley corporate farm interest dedicated to overturning the Endangered Species Act the better to siphon massive amounts of water from the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta without regard to water needs of fish.

Appearing as an expert witness for opponents of the pipeline was Peter Gleick

Prop 18 analyzed by The Pacific Institute

Click on the cover for a PDF file the Pacific Institute's analysis of Proposition 18, California's $11.1bn water bond

At the end of 2009, the California Legislature passed a series of water-related bills and at the same time approved a massive $11.14 billion bond [the “Safe, Clean, and Reliable Drinking Water Supply Act of 2010”] to fund a wide range of water projects and efforts. This is the largest water bond in 50 years, yet the costs and benefits of the bond have not been fully assessed by an independent organization. Until now, writes Pacific Institute president Peter Gleick in the San Francisco Chronicle.

This bond is to be voted on by California voters in November, as Proposition 18. The Governor recently proposed postponing the bond, but the Legislature has not yet taken the action required to have it pulled off of the November ballot.

Click here to keep

When life gives you salt water, make subsidies

THIS week, the board of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California voted a hefty public subsidy for the Poseidon Group, a private company proposing a desalination plant in Carlsbad, CA, near San Diego. To this, Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, CA, has a two-part response in the San Francisco Chronicle. For part one, click here, for yesterday’s part two here.

The problem with people

Source: NASA. Click on the map to be taken to the Earth Observatory

AS SACRAMENTO legislators work on bills this week to assure the future of California’s water supply, Peter Gleick of the Pacific Institute points to the elephant in the living room. Population growth. He writes in this week’s San Francisco Chronicle:

The amount of water on Earth is fixed. We’re not losing it to space and we’re not getting more (with negligible exceptions) … But population is not fixed. It is growing, and growing rapidly in some places. As a result, the amount of water available per person (“per capita”) is declining.

To keep reading Peter Gleick in the San Francisco Chronicle, click here.

UPDATE: 10/21/2009 For part two of Gleick’s series on population and fresh water, click here.


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