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Peter H. Gleick
Dr. Peter H. Gleick is co-founder and president of the Pacific Institute in Oakland, California. He is a hydroclimatologist by training, with a B.S. from Yale University and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley from the Energy and Resources Group. His research and writing address the critical connections between water and human health, the hydrological impacts of climate change, sustainable water use, privatization and globalization, and international conflicts over water resources.

Dr. Gleick is an internationally recognized water expert and was named a MacArthur Fellow in October 2003 for his work. In 2001, Gleick was dubbed a "visionary on the environment" by the British Broadcasting Corporation. In 2006 he was elected to the National Academy of Sciences, Washington, D.C. In 2011, he and his Pacific Institute were awarded The U.S. Water Prize.

Gleick serves on the boards of numerous journals and organizations, and is the author of many scientific papers and 10 books, including the biennial water report, "The World's Water," "Bottled and Sold: The Story Behind Our Obsession with Bottled Water," published by Island Press (Washington, D.C.), and his latest, "A 21st Century U.S. Water Policy" (Oxford University Press, NY). He also blogs at National Geographic ScienceBlogs.

Entries by Peter H. Gleick

Donald Trump: "There is No Drought" and Other California Water Inanities

(183) Comments | Posted May 28, 2016 | 1:18 AM


Today in a rally in Fresno, California, Donald Trump made a few comments about water. They were all inanities, parroting old Republican mis-statements and misrepresentations about the causes of California's water challenges. Apparently, he was fed these lines and comments in a meeting...

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Pretty Much Everything Donald Trump Said About Energy and Climate Was Wrong, Ignorant, or Gibberish

(110) Comments | Posted May 27, 2016 | 4:10 PM


The presidential campaign of Donald Trump has largely been a policy-free, fact-free, detail-free event, based on emotion (especially fear), pandering to shallow slogans ("Make America Great"), and the aggressive personal and ad hominem abuse of his Republican and Democratic opponents.

As a result,...

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An Open Letter From Peter Gleick: My Transition at the Pacific Institute.

(1) Comments | Posted March 25, 2016 | 2:23 PM

As readers of this column may already know, earlier this week the Pacific Institute and I announced an important and exciting change: on July 1st after 28 years as co-founder and President of the Institute, I will be moving to a new position as President Emeritus...

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The Most Important Water Stories of 2015

(0) Comments | Posted February 4, 2016 | 3:29 PM

By Peter Gleick, Brett Walton, J. Carl Ganter

Water was a Top Risk on the 2015 Global Agenda

In early 2015, participants at the World Economic Forum, a who's who of the political and business elite, ranked water crises as the top global risk. Water...

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The Historic, Unprecedented, Landmark Climate Agreement

(1) Comments | Posted December 15, 2015 | 4:56 PM

Historic. Unprecedented. Landmark. Also, the world's greatest diplomatic success. A turning point for the world. This is some of the language used to describe the global climate agreement reached this week in Paris. The excitement about this agreement is palpable, for good reason. The Paris Agreement marks a...

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Climate Science in 1956 and 2015

(39) Comments | Posted December 10, 2015 | 8:03 PM

Despite the apparent inability of many of our current policy makers to accept the scientific reality of climate change, the science is not new. Fifty-nine years ago, on October 28, 1956, the New York Times ran a story in their Science in Review section entitled "Warmer climate on the earth...

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'Thing Explainer' - A Review of Randall Munroe's New Book (Using the Ten Hundred Most Common Words)

(2) Comments | Posted November 25, 2015 | 6:44 PM

Just one day ago, a new book came to my house: Thing Explainer by the writer of another book called What If. I've written about that other book here. This new book is an effort to help people understand all sorts of cool stuff about the world and...

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Damn Dams

(10) Comments | Posted November 4, 2015 | 11:13 AM

The history of water development around the world, and especially in the western United States, is really a history of the construction of massive infrastructure, particularly large dams. As populations and economies expanded, the need to control, channel, and manage water grew, and large dams offered a way to provide...

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Breaking Western Water Taboos

(0) Comments | Posted October 26, 2015 | 4:39 PM

2015-10-26-1445891908-8700311-SprinklerheadinsandGleick2008.jpg (Photo: Peter Gleick 2008)

The recent severe drought in the western United States and California in particular has shined a spotlight on a range of water-management practices that are outdated, unsustainable, or inappropriate for a modern, functional 21st century water system. Unless these...

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Pyrocumulus Cloud from the California 'Rough' Wildfire

(0) Comments | Posted September 14, 2015 | 10:44 PM

Photo: Peter Gleick 2015, taken with Samsung Galaxy S6

A pyrocumulus cloud, sometimes nicknamed a "fire cloud," is a cumuliform cloud produced from the intensive heating of air caused by a fire.

On September 11th, as I was flying from...

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The New UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and Fresh Water

(1) Comments | Posted August 12, 2015 | 5:43 PM


For 15 years, the world community has worked to achieve a comprehensive set of goals and targets called the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) - launched in 2000 to tackle poverty, economic and environment inequity, and strategies for effective development. The MDGs concluded this...

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The Climate Question That Should Be Asked in the Upcoming Presidential Debates

(210) Comments | Posted July 29, 2015 | 12:54 PM

Given the seriousness of the global climate change threat, the tremendously strong scientific consensus about it, and the critical role that the United States must play in any international agreements about national and global responses, it is vital to know how the next President would address this issue.


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The Power and Potential of Improving Water Efficiency: CaliforniaToilets

(6) Comments | Posted July 9, 2015 | 11:00 PM

By Peter Gleick and Heather Cooley (Pacific Institute)

Debates about water in California, the western U.S., and indeed, worldwide, have traditionally focused on the question of how best to further expand water supply to meet some hypothetical future increase in water demand. And the solution frequently offered is...

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Laudato Si' and Water: The Vatican's Encyclical Letter and Global Water Challenges

(4) Comments | Posted June 18, 2015 | 10:32 AM

The official text of the much-anticipated Vatican's Encyclical Letter, "Laudato Si'" ("On Care for our Common Home") was released today. While considerable attention is being devoted to the sections of Pope Francis's new Encyclical related to the threats of climate change, the letter also tackles many other environmental...

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The New U.S. EPA Clean Water Act Rules

(0) Comments | Posted May 27, 2015 | 8:34 PM

On Wednesday, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued -- after many years of debate, analysis, court rulings and new science -- final rules on what constitutes "waters of the United States" that are eligible for protection under the national Clean Water Act. The new rules are...

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Where Does California's Agricultural Water Go?

(12) Comments | Posted April 29, 2015 | 2:17 PM

Water plays a vital role in California's agricultural sector, using 80 percent of the water used by humans in the state. In recent months, water challenges imposed by the current severe drought have brought this agricultural water use into the limelight, raising new questions about how the water is used....

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Flooding Google: Google's New Headquarters and the Threat of Sea-Level Rise

(3) Comments | Posted March 4, 2015 | 6:39 PM

Google has just released a video and story about plans for a new "futuristic" headquarters at their Mountain View, California location. As described in an article in the Guardian, Googlers can look forward to "woodland glades and wildflower meadows, next to trickling streams and verdant allotments,...

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The 10 Most Important Water Stories in 2014

(5) Comments | Posted January 19, 2015 | 12:47 PM

Peter Gleick (Pacific Institute) and Carl Ganter (Circle of Blue)

1. The California Drought Becomes an Emergency
California's multi-year drought grew dire enough in 2014 to prompt Governor Jerry Brown to declare a drought emergency in January. By the end of...

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Peak Water: United States Water Use Drops to Lowest Level in 40 Years

(8) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 11:41 AM

The most important trend in the use of water is the slowly unfolding story of peak water in the United States and elsewhere. Data on US water use are compiled every five years by the US Geological Survey, covering every state and every sector of the economy. The...

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The California Water Bond is a Beginning, Not an End: Here's What's Next

(7) Comments | Posted November 5, 2014 | 6:54 AM

by Peter Gleick, Kristina Donnelly, Heather Cooley

California voters have approved Proposition 1 - the 2014 California Water Bond. The ultimate value and effectiveness of the bond will depend on how it is implemented and how the funds are spent. Here are some key issues to watch, things to understand...

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