A Cambridge professor who claimed that assassins may have murdered three British scientists investigating the impact of global warming has had a complaint against The Times dismissed by the press regulator.
Peter Wadhams said in an interview that he feared he might also have been targeted himself. When his comments were published byThe Times, the academic complained that he had been misquoted and that the newspaper had breached a duty of confidentiality towards him.
An investigation by the Independent Press Standards Organisation has found that Professor Wadhams did make the claims reported and has cleared the newspaper of breaching the editors’ code of practice.
The professor of ocean physics had been interviewed in July after a study contradicted his prediction that Arctic ice was melting so fast that it could all disappear this summer.
During the interview, Professor Wadhams said that the deaths in early 2013 of the other three scientists in Britain “who were really leaders on ice thickness in the Arctic” were “too bizarre to be accidental but each individual incident looks accidental, which may mean it’s been made to look accidental”.
He said that he himself had had a narrow escape when an unmarked lorry apparently tried to push his car off the M25.
Following publication of the interview, Professor Wadhams complained to the press watchdog and widely publicised his complaint. His criticisms of the paper were reported by another national newspaper and on climate science blogs and social media.
Professor Wadhams told Ipso that he did not believe that the three scientists had been assassinated and that he had made clear during the interview that any fears he might have had were quickly dispelled.
A recording of the interview was provided by The Times to Ipso’s complaints committee. In a decision published today, the committee states: “The article had accurately reported his position as he had explained it to the journalist.”
After listening to the tape, the committee said that during the approximately 30-minute interview about 20 minutes focused on Professor Wadhams’s suspicions about the deaths of his fellow scientists, a subject introduced into the conversation by the professor himself.