At least one of the 60 “accredited experts in climate and related scientific disciplines” who signed an open letter to Prime Minister Stephen Harper denying the reality of climate change has recanted, saying that he was misled as to the content of that letter when he offered his name.
Dr. Gordon E. Swaters, a Professor of Applied Mathematics at the University of Alberta says that he was told he was signing a petition asking that the federal government devote more energy to research on climate change. Instead, the letter – given prominent play last week in the National Post – suggested that climate change is unproved and that any effort to create policy to address the problem would be “irrational.”
“I regret signing that damn petition,” Dr. Swaters said Tuesday (April 18, 2006). the accomplished mathematician said he believes that “There are still a lot of mechanics and dynamics about climate change that we don’t know about and a lot of subtleties that we need to unravel.” But “signing this petition should not be seen as an attempt to indicate that climate change is not occurring.”
The letter was presented as a consensus of Canadian “experts,” but included only 20 Canadian names out of the total of 60. The remainder were largely well-known climate change “skeptics” from around the world, including high-profile energy industry apologists such as Richard Lindzen and Pat Michaels.
The petition also included the name of Dr. Art Robinson, of Cave Junction, Oregon. The founder of the “Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine,” and a former colleage of Nobel Laureate Linus Pauling, Robinson is now a self-styled expert in civil defence and the purveyor of conservative Christian home-schooling packages for kids. Robinson last made the news in 1998, when he organized a widely discredited anti-climate science petition of 2,100 “scientists” in the United States. That petition contained such names as John Grisham, Michael J. Fox, Drs. Frank Burns, B. J. Honeycutt, and Benjamin Pierce (from the TV show M*A*S*H), an individual by the name of “Dr. Red Wine,” and Geraldine Halliwell, formerly known as pop singer Ginger Spice of the Spice Girls.