Greenpeace Founder Backs Climate Change Denial

A few weeks ago, Patrick Moore, the co-founder of Greenpeace, testified before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee that climate change is not caused by human activity.  Since I am strictly forbidden to write blogs for NCSE entitled, “OMG, WTF?” or ”What kind of nutter sandwiches has this dude been eating?” (apparently that would be rude), I thought I’d point out some of the more illogical statements made in Moore’s testimony.  Let’s be honest: if we can’t have fun with this nonsense, then we will never survive.

Moore starts his testimony with the following statement:

“There is no scientific proof that human emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) are the dominant cause of the minor warming of the Earth’s atmosphere over the past 100 years. If there was such a proof it would be written down for all to see. No actual proof, as it is understood in science, exists.”

I feel a little sorry for Moore, because it seems he hasn’t quite figured out this Internet thing yet. Maybe he hasn’t mastered art of Googling. Fortunately, youngin’s like me have access to loads of proof that is…”written down”! And “understood in science”! And available “for all to see”! Here are a couple of links for your entertainment (IPCC, NCA, Google Scholar).

Moore then goes on to blast the usefulness of models saying that “a computer model is not a crystal ball”. Which I think it a good thing, because he does know that crystal balls are not real, right?

But then in the next statement he counters this crystal ball metaphor, by saying they are no good:

“We may think it sophisticated, but we cannot predict the future with a computer model any more than we can make predictions with crystal balls, throwing bones, or by appealing to the Gods.”

Please don't tell Wall Street about models not working, as I imagine there will be some financial analysts would lose their jobs. 

Moore also obsesses over the term “extremely likely”, stating:

“’Extremely likely’ is not a scientific term but rather a judgment, as in a court of law. The IPCC defines ‘extremely likely’ as a ‘95-100% probability’. But upon further examination it is clear that these numbers are not the result of any mathematical calculation or statistical analysis. They have been ‘invented’ as a construct within the IPCC report to express ‘expert judgment’, as determined by the IPCC contributors.”

This reminds me of the whole “it depends upon what the meaning of the word 'is' is”. But models and semantics are boring for me. What I get really excited about is (unsurprisingly) when climate change interacts with evolution! In fact, there is nothing more fun than when evolution is used as evidence to dismiss climate change. And Moore does not disappoint. He ends with not just evolution, but human evolution, stating that “we evolved at the equator in a climate where freezing weather did not exist. The only reasons we can survive these cold climates are fire, clothing, and housing.”

To his credit at least he agrees that humans evolved, but I’m not really sure where he is going with this statement. Is he suggesting that we should go back to our “natural ways” and start gallivanting around in the buff? Should we convert apartment complexes to prehistoric huts? Perhaps he means that climate change could bring in a new era for the Paleo Diet!

I don’t get it, and like everything else in Moore’s testimony, it’s rather nonsensical.

Although the science Moore cites is data-picking, semantic nonsense, the overarching themes of his testimony are clear: The Earth is not warming, but if it is, humans are not responsible and if they are, it’s ok because who doesn’t love warm weather? The story line is familiar, but sad to see, particularly when some people will use Moore's testimony to undermine legitimate education on climate change. This testimony belongs in the circular file, but sadly, since it is now part of the congressional record, it will forever be another impediment to understanding of science in our country.

Photo Credit: kevin dooley via Compfight cc

Minda Berbeco
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Minda Berbeco is the former Programs and Policy Director at NCSE.

We can't afford to lose any time when it comes to the future of science education.

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