What kind of Mickey Mouse operation allows a fictional character to pretend he’s a scientist?
That’s the question many are asking after more than 11,000 scientists — including professors Mickey Mouse and Albus Dumbledore — signed a petition declaring a global climate emergency.
The doomsday declaration captured international attention on Tuesday with its dire warning that humans must “change how we live” in order to survive.
“We declare … clearly and unequivocally that planet Earth is facing a climate emergency,” the letter’s opening statement said. It was published Tuesday in the journal BioScience, with 11,258 signatures attached.
But someone actually read those signatures, and it appears that a few pranksters added fictional characters to the list. The original list has been updated to remove 34 “invalid” names, but the screenshots are still out there.
Among the names was professor “Micky (sic) Mouse” of the Micky Mouse Institute for the Blind in Namibia.
Climate change skeptics were quick to pounce on the mistake.
Eagle-eyed readers also spotted Hogwarts Headmaster Albus Dumbledore — of Harry Potter fame — among the names.
The project’s lead author, ecologist Bill Ripple, collected signatures through the Oregon State University website, where a dedicated page urged scientists to add their names to the list.
According to a statement on the site, the invalid names appeared due to an administrative error.
“We have, to date, removed 34 names from the original list, most of which were duplicates,” the statement said.
“The weight of the world’s scientific community for this declaration remains undiminished.”
The site has deactivated a link to the signatories list, and it is not allowing additional signatures at this time.
The updated list of signatures now includes 11,224 names from scientists around the world, including more than 400 Canadians. Several of those very real Canadians have spoken out separately in favour of the initiative.
The letter itself includes 29 graphs that illustrate the scientific backing behind its warnings. The graphs illustrate shrinking arctic ice, rising sea levels, soaring greenhouse gas concentrations in the area and the steadily increasing global temperature.
Ripple says he rallied scientists behind this doomsday warning because humans need to take drastic action to curb the effects of climate change. He believes that scientists have a moral obligation to warn people about what the facts are showing.
“I’m willing to take the risk to speak out and talk about the implications of the science that we’re seeing and how that could potentially affect the citizens of Earth,” he told the Canadian Press.
“I think we have this obligation. I think this is a major trend.”