February 2012 Online Update 
Dear Friends,
There’s a Los Angeles Times clipping from 1993 hanging on the wall at our Oakland office: “Study Forecasts Ill Effects of Possible Warming Trend.” That story was about a groundbreaking Pacific Institute study on climate change. The Pacific Institute turns 25 this year, a striking milestone. We have led the call to put climate change mitigation and adaptation into action; we have put the human right to water on the global agenda and water conservation and efficiency into local policy; we tackle environmental and human health with local communities and social responsibility with multinational corporations and the United Nations, and our influence continues to grow. Celebrating a quarter century is a time to assess how the Institute’s efforts to produce innovative, influential research and to get it into the right hands are changing things! I invite you to share this celebration with us each month and see both where we’ve been and where we’re going. This is just the beginning…


Peter Gleick

President and Co-founder
Pacific Institute

Standing Up to Editorial Bias on Climate Science – Peter Gleick Writes, Thousands Respond


On January 27, Pacific Institute President Peter Gleick responded to the op-ed piece “No Need to Panic about Global Warming” published in The Wall Street Journal, which claimed climate change was not occurring. In his Forbes blog post, Dr. Gleick said, “The most amazing and telling evidence of the bias of The Wall Street Journal in [the climate sceince] field is the fact that 255 members of the United States National Academy of Sciences wrote a comparable (but scientifically accurate) essay on the realities of climate change and on the need for improved and serious public debate around the issue, offered to The Wall Street Journal, and were turned down.” That letter was subsequently published in Science magazine.  

Responses from Dr. Gleick’s post by climate scientists, environmental activists and organizations, and the public have been remarkable — sparking investigations of the sixteen scientists who signed the op-ed submitted to the WSJ; dozens of editorial pieces in prominent publications and by organizations such as The Huffington Post, Catholic Alliance for the Common Good, The New York Times Dot Earth Blog, The Australian, Media Matters, and Climate Progress debunking the WSJ’s flawed and misleading arguments about climate science; and thousands of comments and conversations on blogs, social media outlets, and forums on the current climate dialog in the media. Later that week, The Wall Street Journal implicitly acknowledged their “climate goof” by accepting a letter from 38 climate scientists, including Peter Gleick, who responded to the WSJ op-ed.  

“While much of the opposition to addressing the issue of climate change is political,” Dr. Gleick commented, “it often hides behind pseudo-scientific claims, with persistent efforts to intentionally mislead the public and policymakers with bad science about climate change.”

With efforts by well-funded climate change deniers to sow confusion and delay action by Congress and the public, the Pacific Institute has taken a stand to address climate science misinformation and to push for planning to
prepare for increasingly severe negative impacts of climate change.

-Read Peter Gleick’s blog “
Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at The Wall Street Journal.”
-Read the climate scientists’
Wall Street Journal letter.
-More about
climate change

Peer-Reviewed Article Published on Water Savings and Agricultural Water Efficiency

The Pacific Institute analyzes the potential for water savings from irrigation efficiency improvements in California in a newly published peer-reviewed article in the journal Water Policy. “Potential water savings associated with agricultural water efficiency improvements: a case study of California” is coauthored by Juliet Christian-Smith, Heather Cooley, and Peter Gleick and analyzes water savings associated with improvements in agricultural water management, including more efficient irrigation technologies and improved irrigation scheduling, and modeling the potential savings associated with these measures in wet, average and dry water years. The efficient irrigation technology”scenario shifts a fraction of crops from flood irrigation to sprinkler and drip systems; the improved irrigation schedulingscenario uses local climate and soil information to more precisely meet crop water needs; and the regulated deficit irrigation” scenario applies less water to crops during drought-tolerant growth stages to save water and improve crop quality or yield. These scenarios conservatively show the potential for significant water savings and indicate that water conservation and efficiency improvements are particularly effective in dry years, when agricultural water demand is greater and conflicts over scarce water resources are more severe. Moreover, these approaches can reduce vulnerability to increasingly uncertain water supplies.

Read the abstract and access the article here.          


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 “THE PACIFIC INSTITUTE is one of the most dynamic and effective policy research organizations I know of, and their work on regional and international water resources has been an invaluable tool for sound public policy and sustainable water resources management. …The work of the Pacific Institute is among the most innovative, relevant, and effective in the area of the environment and international development… If high-quality, non-partisan research and policy analysis can be made available to us from groups like the Pacific Institute, the chances for good legislation and good public policy improve dramatically.”

- Congresswoman Claudine Schneider (formerly R-RI)

Recent Blog Posts

from Peter Gleick
“Global Warming Has Stopped”? How to Fool People Using “Cherry-Picked” Climate Data,
Remarkable Editorial Bias on Climate Science at The Wall Street Journal,


2011 Climate Change in Pictures and Data: Just the Facts, Forbes

Climate Change: Sifting Truth from Lies in a Complex World, Huffington Post

Mining Groundwater for Profit: The Cadiz Project, SF Gate

Peter Gleick: Climate change is happening
Climate Change is Happening:
Peter Gleick
Climate Change Misconceptions, Part 1
Peter Gleick: Climate Change Misconceptions, Part 1


Podcast: Curbing Sprawl, Protecting Health: Building Housing for the Bay Area’s Most Vulnerable Residents 
Podcast: State’s Flood Protection Plan Misses Major Point, Gleick Says

Heather Cooley Authors Desalination Chapter in The Water-Energy Nexus in the American West 

Pacific Institute Water Program Co-Director Heather Cooley authored the chapter “The Energy Implications of Desalination” in the newly released book
The Water – Energy Nexus in the American West, by Douglas Kenney and Robert Wilkinson. The research and analyses presented by the authors shed new light on the choices that must be made in order to avoid unnecessary harm in the development and management of water and energy systems to meet public needs in an ever-changing environmental and economic climate.

“The potential benefits of desalination are great, but the economic, cultural, and environmental costs of wide commercialization remain high,” Ms. Cooley states. “In many parts of the world, alternatives can provide the same freshwater benefits of desalination at far lower economic and environmental costs. These alternatives include treating low-quality local water sources, encouraging regional water transfers, improving conservation and efficiency, accelerating wastewater recycling and reuse, and implementing smart land-use planning.”

The Pacific Institute report Desalination with a Grain of Salt, co-authored by Heather Cooley, is our most heavily downloaded work, with 564,000 downloads since 2006. Ms. Cooley is working on a new report on desalination issues in California, including cost and financing options, energy and greenhouse gas emissions, and environmental impacts, to be released later this year.

-Read more about the new book The Water – Energy Nexus in the American West.
-Order the book here.

-Read about the Pacific Institute report Desalination with a Grain of Salt.


Peter Gleick Joins NCSE Board for Climate Change Education Initiative  

Dr. Peter Gleick, president and co-founder of the Pacific Institute, has joined the National Center for Science Education’s board of directors. Dr. Gleick, a world-renowned water expert and hydroclimatologist, will advise NCSE on its new climate change education initiative.

“Climate change is the fundamental environmental challenge of our time,” said Peter Gleick, “and how we educate our citizens — and especially our children — about climate change will have repercussions for generations to come.”

Read more.

Pacific Institute Welcomes New Board Member and Staff

Peter Boyer

The Pacific Institute welcomes Peter Boyer to the Board of Directors. Mr. Boyer owned and operated a design-build residential and commercial construction and real estate investment firm for 10 years before turning full time to fine art painting, the focus of his university training. His work has been exhibited widely both in the U.S. and Japan, and is owned by numerous private and public collections. He is a member of the National Advisory Board of the Union of Concerned Scientists and serves as a trustee of The Ayrshire Foundation and the Rocky Mountain Institute. Mr. Boyer chairs the Rocky Mountain Institute’s National Solutions Council.


Jessica Adams

Jessica Adams
joins the Pacific Institute’s International Water and Communities Initiative as new
Grants and Program Assistant, supporting the Initiative team with her extensive administrative and research skills. Ms. Adams is passionate about environmental education and enjoys helping others improve the quality of their lives through her work. She is a certified elementary school teacher, holds a B.A. in Human Development from Cal State East Bay, and is currently working toward a Master’s in Education from Mills College.    


Newsha Ajami

Dr. Newsha Ajami joins the Pacific Institute’s Water Program as senior research associate. She is a hydrologist specializing in sustainable water resource management, hydrological modeling, flood and water supply forecasting, and advancing uncertainty assessment techniques impacting hydrological predictions. Dr. Ajami is interested in the improvement of the science-policy-stakeholder interface, and prior to joining the Institute, served as a Science and Technology fellow at the California State Senate Committee on Natural Resources and Water.  


Kristian Ongoco
Kristian Ongoco joins the Pacific Institute as the new research associate for the Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program. Ms. Ongoco has worked on affordable housing, climate change, and waterfront investment policies in New York City and San Francisco. She was a Coro Community Fellow in San Francisco and is a LEED Green Associate, and holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of California, Irvine and a Master’s in Urban Planning focusing on environmental studies from Columbia University.

Pacific Institute Accepting Applications for Diversity for Sustainability Internship 

The Pacific Institute is now accepting applications for our Diversity for Sustainability Internship Program, begun in 2011, part of the Institute’s commitment to furthering diverse perspectives both in our own work and in the critical fields of environmental sustainability and social justice. The paid program for undergraduates or non-students with relevant life experience will bring emerging environmental leaders from a variety of backgrounds to work under the mentorship of knowledgeable research staff at our Oakland office. Applications will be accepted through March 15. For details and application requirements, click here.


In Brief

International Water and Communities Initiative Presents Research Findings to Rockefeller Foundation

International Water and Communities Initiative staff Meena Palaniappan, Dr. Veena Srinivasan, and Dr. John Akudago presented at the Rockefeller Foundation in New York City findings from the Institute’s year-long research on the challenges and opportunities in a Multiple-Use Water Services (MUS) approach. The researchers looked at what we could learn from the successes and failures of past integration efforts in the water sector to meet multiple needs at the local level, including Integrated Water Resources Management, and evaluated the Multiple-Uses for Water framework and case studies, as well as the dimensions of its impacts on resource sustainability, environment, public health, and equity. Based on their evaluations, they identified key risks in the framework and proposed a set of strategies to make the MUS framework more robust and sustainable over the long term.


Dr. Juliet Christian Smith, Senior Research Associate:

-moderated a panel titled “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle: Local Solutions to California’s Water Woes” at the 2012 Planning and Conservation League Symposium.

- presented “Agricultural Recharge — Scaling Up Success” at the American Groundwater Trust’s Aquifer Recharge Conference.

Heather Cooley, Water Program Co-Director and Peter Gleick, President:
- both briefed water and energy funders on issues and challenges associated with hydraulic fracturing in the U.S.
- Dr. Gleick gave the keynote opening address at the the University of California, Los Angeles Luskin Center conference on The Future of Water in Southern California.
- Ms. Cooley spoke at the Future of Water in Southern California conference about seawater desalination.

Catalina Garzón
, Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Co-Director:
- participated in the Bay Area Equity Summit, a regional gathering in Oakland of more than 50 social equity advocates convened by Urban Habitat. The purpose of the Equity Summit was to identify strategic directions for 2012 collaborations to advance social equity priorities in local and regional decision-making in arenas ranging from housing and employment to health care.

Meena Palaniappan, International Water and Communities Initiative Director:
- met with the director and researchers at
Transparent Chennai in Chennai, India. The International Water and Communities Initiative and Transparent Chennai discussed opportunities to extend the WASH SMS project using mobile-phone-to-web-based crowd-sourced mapping to Chennai to track sanitation and wastewater issues.


Upcoming Events  

- Pacific Institute President Dr. Peter Gleick
and Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith will participate in the California Water Policy Conference 21: From Water Woes to Water Wise on March 8-9. Dr. Gleick will give the keynote presentation and Dr. Christian Smith will be participating in two panels: “Groundwater Overdraft: Are We Stealing from Our Future?” and “Agricultural Conservation: The Food-Water Nexus.” The California Water Policy Conference Planning Committee has developed a stimulating conference agenda that will take the leading water issues of the day head-on and bring all participants into the heart of the debate and problem-solving. The conference will be held at the Westin Los Angeles Airport, 5400 West Century Blvd., Los Angeles, CA. Register for the event here.

- Dr. Juliet Christian-Smith will be a featured presenter at the UC Berkeley Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning Spring Colloquium, presenting on “Drought Impacts: Learning from the Past, Preparing for the Future,” Feb. 15, 1-2 p.m. in 315A Wurster Hall. The event is free and open to the public. More details here.

In the News 


- The Los Angeles Times Greenspace, The New York Times Dot Earth Blog, and The Washington Post were a few of nearly 50 publications and blogs that have covered the 2012 Climate B.S.* Awards — the “Bad Science” awards spearheaded by Peter Gleick that go to particularly egregious, notorious, or well-publicized examples of bad climate science that were produced, cited, or used over the past year to try to influence or confuse the public and policymakers.  

- Juliet Christian-Smith on the
renewed the debate over water conservation in light of a new report from the Center for Irrigation Technology at California State University, Fresno. Read the full article.

- Community Strategies for Sustainability and Justice Program Co-Director Catalina Garzón spoke with Beatrice Young from California Watch on findings from the Institute’s newest report on urban planning in the San Francisco Bay Area. Read the full

- Craig Miller from KQED Climate Watch spoke with Water Program Research Associate Matthew Heberger on California’s drought status. Are we in a drought? Heberger says it depends on your perspective. Read the full

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