Greenpeace founder cool on global warming
Greenpeace founder says nuclear a safe, effective alternative to coal
SIMCOE REFORMER: Monte Sonnenberg - Wednesday November 21, 2007
RENTON - A leading environmentalist says fearmongering over global warming is causing needless anxiety around the world.
Dr. Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace, said yesterday that the geologic record shows the Earth has gone through many periods where it was much warmer than it is today.
There have been several periods, he said, when the average temperature on Earth was more than 20 degrees C. This compares with 12 degrees C during the most recent Ice Age, which started 18,000 years ago and is still winding down.
Even today, Moore told a breakfast meeting of the Simcoe & District Chamber of Commerce, the Earth's average temperature is only 14.2 degrees C - well below the norm during long periods of prehistory.
"We have been through many periods when the earth was tropical or subtropical and there was no ice," he said. "And life flourished."
Moore is the latest authority to speak in the local area about nuclear power.
Nuclear generation has become a hot topic since the McGuinty government announced plans to replace coal-fired generating stations with nuclear reactors. The province is concerned about the pollution coal plants produce and the possibility these emissions are contributing to climate change.
The province plans to close the mammoth Nanticoke Generating Station by 2014. The McGuinty government is not committed to building a nuclear reactor in its place. However, Haldimand council and Norfolk council hope this changes.
Moore spoke yesterday at The Greens at Renton. Last night, he made a similar presentation at Cayuga Secondary School. Moore's presentations were sponsored in part by Bruce Power, the private company that manages the Bruce Nuclear Generating Station north of Kincardine.
Moore's opinions are considered exceptional because of his long association with Greenpeace.
Moore explained he broke with the environmental movement because it opposes nearly all practical technologies available for the production of power. This includes petroleum-based fuel, nuclear and hydroelectric sources of electricity.
"This is hardly the path to a sustainable future," Moore said. "We have to be more creative than that."
Moore also came to the conclusion that Marxists successfully hijacked the environmental movement following the collapse of communism in 1989.
"They use green language very cleverly to cloak an agenda that is anti-capitalism and anti-globalism," he said.
In the final analysis, Moore says Ontario cannot go coal-free unless it invests heavily in nuclear power. The alternatives, he said, are cost prohibitive, create greenhouse emissions of their own and will not replace the power coal is capable of producing.
Moore challenged the belief that waste from nuclear reactors remains toxic for 250,000 years. Three hundred years for the bulk of the waste is more accurate, he said, adding components that remain dangerous beyond this can be rebundled into new fuel rods.
Norfolk Mayor Dennis Travale praised the Simcoe chamber for providing people like Dr. Moore a forum for their views. This kind of expertise, Travale said, will help Norfolk sort out its energy priorities moving forward.
Haldimand Mayor Marie Trainer was surprised to learn that the Earth has been much warmer than it is today many times through history. This, she said, puts present concerns over climate change in perspective.
"There's a real controversy over whether we're causing it," she said. "But he showed we're only having a small effect on the whole. He showed there have been more warm times than cold times. Talk of global warming is frightening people and it shouldn't be because what is being said isn't true."