Over the past week, the climate blogosphere has been in a tizzy, first over a cache of leaked documents from the climate-skeptic Heartland Institute, then over the slow realization that at least one of these documents was probably faked. These documents, which purported to show that funding for Heartland’s climate programs were largely bankrolled by one or two wealthy donors (as well as the conservative Koch Foundation) were sold as the greens’ answer to the Climategate emails of 2009, which shed light on some occasionally less-than-scientific actions by members of the climate lobby. Yet as the week has progressed, these documents have looked less like a smoking gun and more like a fraud. On Tuesday, finally, the curtain was removed: Climate activist Peter Gleick has come forward admitting to using deception in obtaining the leaked emails, and the Heartland Institute alleges that one document was a complete fabrication, possibly by Gleick himself.As Andrew Revkin, the New York Times’ Dot Earth columnist, writes, Gleick’s admission will destroy his reputation and his career, and will set back the work of the greens for a long time. Reckless and sensationalist actions like Gleick’s are a reminder of the wild and loony side of the green movement—no group certain of its own arguments should feel the need to stoop to this level, and it will take a long time for the movement to be trusted again in the eyes of the public.Between Rajenda Pachauri and Peter Gleick, the international green movement has displayed a penchant for colorful personalities. But the root cause of the green meltdown is not the flawed personalities and eccentric ethical standards some greens display. The problem has been that the greens tried to stick the world with a monstrous and unworkable climate control system through the flawed medium of a global treaty. This project is so expensive, so poorly conceived and, in fact, so naive and unthinking, that greens increasingly felt their only hope to get their agenda adopted involved scare tactics.Like Dean Acheson addressing the communist menace, they were “clearer than truth.” They stretched evidence, invented catastrophes—vanishing glaciers, disappearing polar bears, waves of force five hurricanes sweeping up the coast, the end of snow—to sell their unsalable dream. Not all greens were this irresponsible, but many prominent spokespersons and journalists working with the movement were; ultimately the mix of an unworkable policy agenda and a climate of hype and hysteria holed the green ship below the waterline.Of contemporary mass movements, the green movement has been consistently the most alarmist, the least constructive, the most emotional, the least rational, the most intolerant and the most self righteous. What makes it all sad rather than funny is that underneath the hype, the misstatements, the vicious character attacks on anyone who dissented from the orthodoxy of the day, and the dumbest policy ideas since the Kellogg-Briand Pact that aimed to outlaw war, there really are some issues here that require thoughtful study and response.