A Cambridge professor has said that assassins may have murdered scientists who were seeking to reveal how rapidly global warming was melting Arctic ice.
Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics, said he believed that he had also been targeted but had a narrow escape after a driver of an unmarked lorry tried to push his car off the M25.
Professor Wadhams faced criticism this week after a study contradicted his prediction that Arctic ice was melting so fast that it could all disappear this summer. Asked by The Times for his response to the discovery that the total volume of ice grew 40 per cent in 2013, Professor Wadhams insisted that there was still an outside possibility of the Arctic being ice-free this year.
He then said there were only four people in Britain who were “really leaders on ice thickness in the Arctic” and he was one. The others, he said, had died in early 2013.
He said: “It seems to me to be too bizarre to be accidental but each individual incident looks accidental, which may mean it’s been made to look accidental.”
He named the three as Seymour Laxon of University College London, Katharine Giles, a climate change scientist who worked with Professor Laxon at UCL, and Tim Boyd of the Scottish Association for Marine Science.
Professor Laxon died after falling downstairs at a New Year’s Eve party in Essex; Dr Giles died in a collision with a lorry while cycling to work in London; and police said they believed that Dr Boyd was killed by lightning as he walked near a loch in Scotland.
Professor Wadhams said that about the same time he was driving on the M25 late at night when the lorry hit his car. “This guy showed definite evidence of malevolence. He was trying to run me right off the road.” He said his car was damaged but he managed to get home and called the police the next day. He was told no action could be taken.
“I just thought what is going on here? Somebody is trying to do in people who are working on ice thickness in Britain.”
He said: “If it was some kind of death squad, you don’t expect that with something like climate change. I know oil companies have been giving lots and lots of money to . . . climate change denialist organisations but you don’t expect them to kill people.”
Fiona Strawbridge, Professor Laxon’s partner, said that she had seen similar claims by “ridiculous conspiracy theorists” on the internet but she was certain his death was an accident. She said that she knew Dr Giles and it was clear that her death was also an accident.