The maximum official of the University of Alberta responsible for the public image of the school resigned after approving and defending a billboard in Edmonton that seemed to spread the benefits of climate change.
The advertisement, published in the middle of a federal election campaign in which climate change is a central issue, states that the research of the university shows that Alberta will grow more barley and increase its livestock industry as the climate of the world becomes more unstable. The billboard and the fury that has grown since it was created do not accurately describe the search behind the announcement, according to the lead author of the document.
Monireh Faramarzi said her 2017 paper concluded that southern Alberta producers could grow more barley in the coming decades due to more rain. However, climate disasters could wipe out larger crops.
"We examined yields of increased or decreased crops, such as barley, at different times and in different locations in the province in varying climates. We have examined this question. Our intention was not to conclude on the overall impact of climate change in Alberta or anywhere else, "said Dr. Faramarzi, who leads the university laboratory focused on the science of watershed.
Jacqui Tam, vice president of the university's university relations, resigned on Sunday despite the growing concern about the billboard and its message. He said the advertisement failed to convey the complexity of Dr. Faramarzi's research and "questioned the reputation of the University of Alberta and its extensive research on climate change".
However, only three days before her resignation, Ms. Tam defended the advertising campaign in an e-mail to the staff of the university. "Turning on the debate on discoveries and ideas is a key role for universities," he wrote.
The university said it will remove the advertising by the end of the week. The billboards went up on September 2nd.
Greg Goss, who was Dr. Faramarzi's supervisor when he wrote the document, said the research point was to help the government and producers adapt to the challenges of climate change.
"C & # 39; it's a lot of people on both sides, whether it's deniers of climate change or climate change warriors, whatever you want to call them, who completely misrepresent the problems."
Stanford Blade, dean of the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Alberta, said in a tweet that he could not defend the formulation used by the university in the advertising campaign. Dr. Blade submitted a request for comment on the matter at the university, which he refused to comment on his behalf.
Even the president of the University of Alberta, David Turpin, refused an interview request. In a statement from the university, Dr. Turpin stated that the decision to publish the announcement was "a result of the recognition of the university that the wording of the announcement had caused misinterpretations and "misunderstandings.
His office would not comment if he asked Mrs. Tam to resign.
Lori Williams, a political scientist at Mount Royal University in Calgary, said the billboard was a mistake big enough to require resignation.
"Your judgment, for someone who takes care of the public image of the university, is inexplicable," he said. "He wanted to highlight the research of the University of Alberta on how to tackle the challenges that farmers and breeders could face with climate change; what has ended is that climate change will be an advantage, so don't worry. "
According to Ms. Williams, the billboard also coincides with the federal elections in which some Canadians felt that the Albanians do not take climate change seriously enough and worry more about the economy and the pipelines.