Heartland Payments to University of Victoria Professor Susan Crockford Probed

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
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University of Victoria adjunct professor Susan Crockford doesn’t seem interested in discussing the monthly payments she appears to receive from the climate denying Heartland Spinstitute.

Crockford would not respond to emails, and refused to speak with the Martlet,” reports a UVic student newspaper attempting to probe the payments.

The Heartland Institute’s Denialgate documents indicate that the spinstitute gives Crockford $750 per month. She is one of three Canadian university professors on the denier dole at Heartland, along with Madhav Knandekar and Mitch Taylor.

Greenpeace contacted the University of Victoria to raise conflict of interest questions relating to Heartland’s payments to Crockford, who has a history of denying climate science as a speaker for its anti-science International Climate Science Coalition. See Greenpeace’s letter to the University of Victoria.

But apparently the University isn’t interested in investigating the matter, stating that, because Crockford is “not a member of regular faculty,” it won’t probe allegations of conflict of interest.

“She is a member as a non-remunerated appointment as an adjunct, a professional zooarcheologist associate,” a university spokesperson told The Martlet correspondent Mark Worthing.

But one of Crockford’s colleagues at UVic had plenty to say about the disconnect between the university’s science-based position and the spin emanating from the Heartland Institute.

It is regrettable that anyone affiliated with the University of Victoria participated in the activities of an organization like the Heartland Institute,” says Dr. Thomas F. Pederson, Executive Director of the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions (PICS) at UVic. “The University prides itself on being an institution of higher learning that deals with facts and that is nowhere more true than in the field of science. Those who deny that the planet is warming as a direct result of human activity are denying facts.

“The Heartland Institute is one of a collection of so-called think tanks that have been extensively supported by elements within the American fossil fuel industry,” says Pederson. “Their mission is quite clearly not to think, but instead to sow confusion with respect to the global warming issue.”

Susan Crockford’s actual expertise is far removed from climate science, but that’s never proven to be an obstacle to receiving invitations to speak at Heartland Institute events.

According to a description of her work by The Martlet, Crockford is

“a sessional adjunct professor in Archaeozoology in the Pacific Rim with research focuses on the domestication and breed development, evolutionary theory and the evolution and history of the domestic dog.”

What the what? An expert in canine evolution – already tricky territory for certain science deniers – knows what exactly about climate change science?

What does Heartland’s Denial-a-Palooza audience see in Crockford’s dogged ability to provide $750 per month woof – ehem, worth – of climate confusion?

Is anyone else doggone confused here? Canine get an explanation? (Sorry, it’s Friday, brain is mush!) 

Brendan DeMelle DeSmog
Brendan is Executive Director of DeSmog. He is also a freelance writer and researcher specializing in media, politics, climate change and energy. His work has appeared in Vanity Fair, The Huffington Post, Grist, The Washington Times and other outlets.

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