|Ladies and gentlemen, since we chatted last month, I had the privilege of interviewing Dr. Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace who served for nine years as president of Greenpeace Canada and seven years as a director of Greenpeace International.
Today, Moore is the Chair of Ecology, Energy and Prosperity with the Frontier Institute for Public Policy.
Dr. Moore told me why he helped found Greenpeace in the 1970s, and why he left the green group in 1986.
"Going back to the beginning of Greenpeace, our first campaign was against U.S. hydrogen bomb testing in Alaska. We had a very strong humanitarian orientation at that time, as well as our concern for the environment," Moore said. "And 'green peace' more or less sums that up, the 'peace' part being about people. We wanted to save civilization from all out nuclear war. As the years drifted on, and we moved then to French nuclear testing, and then save the wales and save the baby seals and toxic waste and all the other environmental issues, Greenpeace drifted into a position of basically looking at humans as the enemies of the earth, or the enemies of nature. And that's quite a bit different from wanting to save civilization from nuclear war in terms of how humans are depicted as part of the environment."
Moore said at that point, he could no longer be associated with a group that considers human beings the enemy.
"My understanding, from a Ph.D. in ecology and a lifetime of studying the environment, is that we are one of the species on this earth and we evolved along with all the others, so we're just as much a part of nature as any of the other living things on this planet," Moore said. "And the first lesson of ecology is, 'We are all one, all one system.' And today, young people are being taught that humans are the enemy and only nature is good. Just the other day, I was with a top businessman in Toronto whose daughter came to him after school and said, 'You know, dad, the world would be better off if there weren't any people.' And that is the kind of thinking that is being put in the minds of the public and all of our young people today by the environmental movement. So at a very high level, I had to leave because of that."
And on top of that, Moore said despite his objections, Greenpeace kept adopting damaging policies.
"In addition, some of the policies that Greenpeace was adopting, I could not live with in terms of my scientific education," Moore recalled. "None of my fellow international directors at that time in the mid-1980s, had any science education, and they decided that we should ban chlorine worldwide because chlorine can be toxic if used improperly, but it's also the most important element for public health and medicine. And no amount of talk on my part could convince them that should take a somewhat less fundamentalist position on one of the element in the periodic table and a very important one, so just on the policy, sort of the sharp end of the stick, I had to get out. And I'm so glad I made that decision at the time, because since then, Greenpeace has adopted position after position which I do not believe is the correct one from an environmental point of view, never mind from a social and economic point of view. But even from a purely environmental point of view, many of their positions would cause worse damage to the environment than if we just stayed the course with the progress we're making on so many fronts."
Moore said it is preposterous that Greenpeace and other NGOs often unfairly target the pulp and paper industry.
"I think it's a real shame that (NGOs and) particularly Greenpeace basically gives the public complete misinformation on the issue of forestry and CO2 emissions," he said. "Of course, trees are the world's largest carbon pump. Nothing draws more carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere each year than the forests of this world because trees are by far the largest part of living biomass on this planet, they need carbon to survive. About half of wood is carbon, which is derived from CO2 in the atmosphere. In addition, the forest industry uses a lot of wood for its own energy purposes, for kiln drying lumber and for making pulp and paper, much of the energy used is biomass energy, the bark, the black liquor in the pulping process, sawdust, etc., many of these byproducts of the forest industry of making lumber and making paper are used for energy. As a matter of fact, 100 percent of the log that is taken to the mill ends up being utilized either as final product, or energy to make the final product."
He added that Greenpeace even contradicts the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
"The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change says very clearly that the best way to manage forests from a carbon perspective, never mind the economy or the jobs, but purely from a carbon dioxide emissions perspective is to maintain the forests or grow it larger," Moore said. "They say we should be growing more trees and a sustainable harvest of wood for energy and products. ... It's just really a shame, I've seen Greenpeace do it many times, misrepresenting even the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's contention that forestry management, if it's done on a sustainable basis, should be considered carbon neutral."
For years, environmental groups have targeted CO2 emissions, calling carbon dioxide a "toxic pollutant" that must be curtailed.
"This is the great irony of the thing, is that carbon dioxide is lower today ... than it has been in the whole history of life earth," Moore said. "So we're actually doing life a favor by putting carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, we don't actually have any scientific proof that carbon dioxide is responsible for the warming of the climate or for climate change as they like to call it now. There is no proof of that. It is a hypothesis that is yet to be proven in the real world."
On the contrary, Dr. Moore said that carbon dioxide should be celebrated.
"We know for an absolute certainty, the debate is over on this subject, that carbon dioxide is the most important food for all life on earth. Period. If there was no carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere, this planet would be as dead as Mars. If carbon dioxide goes below 150 parts per million, plants begin to starve to death because they need a higher level than that just in order to survive. So I say we should celebrate CO2 as the giver of life that it is, rather than demonizing it as has been done by the Environmental Protection Agency, calling it a 'toxic pollutant,' and by people screaming at the top of their lungs in horror that we're all going to perish in flames and die in an overheated world when there is zero evidence that that is actually happening. What there is evidence of is a greening of the earth due to the fertilization effect of higher CO2. And this is corroborated by the fact that greenhouse growers around the world purposely inject extra carbon dioxide into their greenhouses to get up to 40 percent more growth for their plants and flowers, and it will do that on a planetary level as we bring carbon dioxide back to more normal, historical levels of somewhere between 1,000 and 2,000 parts per million instead of 400, as it is today."
Greenpeace, understandably, is no fan of Dr. Moore these days, calling him "a paid spokesman for the nuclear industry, the logging industry, and genetic engineering industry" and assert he is simply an opportunist for "financial gain."
Funny, I don't recall paying Dr. Moore a single dime for the interview.
Maybe Greenpeace is worried that folks like Dr. Patrick Moore could possibly kill the cash cow created by fear and guilt mongering.
Steve Roush is Vice President, Content Channels and in charge of the International Desk at Paperitalo Publications. He can be reached by email at email@example.com.