Common Sense Canadian
 

Greenwash King Patrick Moore sews seeds of climate change doubt

7
Posted September 26, 2014 by Rafe Mair in Climate Change
Greenwash king Patrick Moore turns climate change denier

Greenpeace co-founder-turned-greenwasher extraordinaire Patrick Moore

I hesitate to give the man any more publicity.

Patrick Moore, a former environmentalist and now a constant and consistent spokesman for right-wing causes, had an article on the op-ed page of the Vancouver Province, September 24th edition. In it, he denies the worldwide scientific opinion that global warming here, driven by humans, and a deadly serious problem. The Province, in my view, has become the leading journal of the right and regularly publishes the Canadian Taxpayers’ Federation and the Fraser Institute so Moore is a natural for them.

A long way from Greenpeace

Moore has been utterly inactive in environmental matters for years – in fact, being an unspoken foe of those who are. This particularly includes Captain Paul Watson who has, with unbelievable courage, done so much to save whales and other mammals in our oceans. Moore bills himself as an environmentalist, which is Orwellian in the extreme and makes true environmentalists want to retch.

Moore plays on claims that he was a founder of Greenpeace (though this is disputed), a director of Greenpeace Canada and of Greenpeace International. This is somewhat like Satan reminding us that before he was tossed out, he was once a colleague of the Saints in heaven.

In fact, Moore was made unwelcome both at the Canadian and the International level and has been persona non grata ever since.

Moore was last in the news for criticizing the president of Greenpeace International for using airplanes for travel while he, Moore, regularly uses cruise ships to make lectures, and money – cruise ships themselves being a major consumer of fossil fuels.

Downplaying human-caused climate change

The pith and substance of Moore’s article is that there is doubt that global warming is actually taking place. He trots down the usual path, referring to times before the Ice Age and that sort of thing.

What Moore ignores is that since the Industrial Revolution, and particularly for the last hundred years, humankind, both socially and industrially, has dumped ever-increasing amounts of waste into the atmosphere. This makes the situation today vastly different then it was in the years gone by to which Moore refers. One is tempted to think that, given Moore’s self-proclaimed expertise and glibness, this is a deliberate oversight.

Sewing seeds of doubt

Moore then moves into the area of the law in talking about “doubt”. He clearly assumes that if any sort of doubt is raised about a proposition, it must fail.

This is not what standards of proof are all about and the standard cannot be the mere raising of doubt.

We have two choices as to standard of proof required. In civil cases it is called “balance of probabilities”, whereas in criminal cases it is “reasonable doubt” – a much heavier onus.

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The question of global warming has to be, of course, subject to standards of proof, as are all allegations that cannot be proved beyond any doubt whatsoever. But if mere doubt were the standard in criminal law, for example, there would be very few ever convicted of a crime. Any good criminal lawyer will tell you that he can raise a “doubt” in the most flagrant of circumstances.

It can even be raised about a man with a gun in his hand standing over a corpse. Even though the man with the gun is demonstrated to have been a bitter enemy of the deceased, a “doubt” can always be raised.

Criminal law sets the standard at “reasonable” doubt. This is surely the standard we must set with respect to global warming.

The science is clear

The scientific community has been investigating this issue very closely for decades. All the doubters, like Moore, have been heard and their arguments more than met. The result by 2014 is a very clear. Beyond a reasonable doubt, climate change is with us, with disastrous consequences for now and the future.

We, the general public, sit as a common jury assessing the evidence before us. We must decide whether or not the virtually unanimous opinion of the scientific community is to be preferred over the bleatings of Patrick Moore and his ilk.

What’s the harm in tackling climate change?

Another way of looking at this is: What if the scientific community is wrong? In that most unlikely event, we will have cleaned up our air and established a far healthier  atmosphere in the world. Surely that would be a very good thing, no matter what impact warming was having.

On the other hand, if we follow Moore, and he is wrong, we have exacerbated in the extreme the catastrophe which faces us.

Patrick Moore is entitled to his opinions and, of course, The Province is entitled to be a shill for neo-lib views – but in evaluating Moore’s opinions one must remember where he is coming from. This former environmentalist is now a proponent of nuclear, supports the tar sands, pipelines, and tanker traffic carrying bitumen.

As that juror, I have no trouble deciding for the scientific community and that Moore has no credibility.

Patrick Moore is likeable and glib but, on a balance of probabilities, dead wrong.


About the Author

Rafe Mair

Rafe Mair, LL.B, LL.D (Hon) a B.C. MLA 1975 to 1981, was Minister of Environment from late 1978 through 1979. In 1981 he left politics for Talk Radio becoming recognized as one of B.C.'s pre-eminent journalists. An avid fly fisherman, he took a special interest in Atlantic salmon farms and private power projects as environmental calamities and became a powerful voice in opposition to them. Rafe continues to make regular appearances on radio and television, writes regularly for thetyee.ca, and writes a regular blog at rafeonline.com.

7 Comments


  1.  
    StillShooter

    “Patrick Moore, a former environmentalist and now a constant and consistent spokesman…”

    Odd that you call him a ‘former environmentalist’ but won’t include an additional detail of what he calls himself,

    A founder of Greenpeace

    http://web.archive.org/web/20021119050900/http://www.greenpeace.org.au/aboutus/founders.html
    then …
    http://web.archive.org/web/20051216000251/http://www.greenpeace.org/international/about/history/founders
    then…
    http://www.greenpeace.org/international/about/history/founders

    And even Wikipedia notices the effort to erase Dr. Moore.
    “From as early as September 2005 until its alteration in March 2007, the Greenpeace International web site included Patrick Moore in a list of “founders and first members”.[8][9][10]

    Greenpeace seems desperate to re-write their history…

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Patrick_Moore_%28environmentalist%29#Greenpeace

    Much like Stalin, before the age of Photoshop, his photos get airbrushed to remove people…
    http://myweb.lmu.edu/rrolfs/commissar02b.html
    retouched photo on the right, 1939. Petrovsky or Ordjonikidze get removed.




  2.  
    Caber1

    If you aren’t a vegan then you are just as bad as this guy because the pollution from our animal protein manufacture is worse than all other forms. Scientifically proven many times over.
    And this is not even mentioning the horrific health problems it is causing us such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and on and on.
    Could care less what idiots blather on about. I saw the science and decided to, ” walk the walk”, rather than just, “talk the talk”.




  3.  
    Morg

    Moore just plain vile!




  4.  
    Cocoabean

    “What’s the harm in tackling climate change?” you ask…

    …and then you go right on not answering your own question.

    I’ll tell you what’s wrong: to address this supposedly so pressing problem will require coercion, force, government violence. It will result in the state dictating to people how to heat their homes, what and when to drive, and what some may buy or sell. It will result in the governments telling you to spend more money and on what to spend it; it will result in higher energy costs, in particular. The authorities, instead of investors, risk-taking speculators and prospectors will decide the fate of energy projects. And, most importantly, it will be yet another infringement of the prerogative of all of us as individuals to allocate our own financial and other assets as we ourselves see fit. Government will have to radically change our lives to satisfy the climate change lobby.

    Nothing voluntary in it at all. Nothing the individual has any choice in. It will be top-down coercion. Free markets in energy, capital and resources will play no part. And that may well reduce our lives and living standards to a degree “climate change” never could…




    •  
      Mike

      After reading your comment I still could not distinguish between it and what the prov. and fed gov’t are already doing to us commoners. Checked your disposable income rate over the past decade or so. It sure is getting easy for these corporate idealogues to deny climate change with no tangible evidence, but hey, Harper can get away with silencing scientists when it comes to unveiling his bitumen bitch or impeding corporate progress for the 1%’s.




  5.  
    Roy

    Please do a story on the Rockefeller divestment plan announced last week.

    http://www.democracynow.org/blog/2014/9/24/rockefeller_foundation_divests_from_fossil_fuels

    Video: at 29:30 actor/activist Mark Ruffalo says “Methane is NOT a clean energy”
    “NOT a leadership choice”
    “walking the gangplank”
    “Not a bridge fuel”
    “Kills innovation”

    at 33:45 David Blood, former asset manager at Goldman Saks says “The business case to divest from coal/oil is a complete no-brainer”

    All this from the biggest player in the Oil Industry in the last century.

    So is BC, AB and Canada for that matter still going the right way? Or are we just selling ourselves out, destroying our nation, failing to adapt to a future or real renewable energy, and walking the gangplank.




  6.  
    nonconfidencevote

    One wonders what happened for Patrick Moore to sell his soul to the capitalst Devil………
    It cant just be about the almighty buck. Some other event must have happened to him to jump feet first into his new carreer. I wonder how much he earns annually for his speeches, appearances and interviews.
    Karma may be an unforgiving beast……
    His story is very odd.





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