National Post (Don Mills, Ontario)  [Printer-friendly version]
May 20, 2008


[Rachel's introduction: Patrick Moore, one of the founders of
Greenpeace, has had a change of heart in midlife and now spends his
days providing high-priced consulting services to polluters,
promoting nuclear energy, and bashing Greenpeace and other
environmental groups. Here Bruce Cox, the head of Greenpeace Canada,
replies to a recent Moore essay.]

By Bruce Cox

Patrick Moore used an article about himself in the National Post on
May 1 to launch yet another tirade against Greenpeace (Full Comment,
May 12.)

In his article, he accuses Greenpeace and other environmental groups
of "name-calling." For the record, no one with Greenpeace called him
any names in the article and no one from Greenpeace Canada was even

Mr. Moore took offence at the term "Eco Judas," referenced by the
writer. It may be harsh, but consider this: Mr. Moore left Greenpeace
and now works for the nuclear industry, logging companies, the fish-
farm industry and other large corporations he once opposed. His
positions on climate change, nuclear power, clear cutting forests and
uranium mining are the opposite of every major environmental
organization in the country. How should one characterize his

Mr. Moore accuses Greenpeace of failing to engage him in the issues in
an article we did not initiate or write, but OK, let's examine the
issues he raises.

On the use of chlorine, Greenpeace never called for a "ban" as Mr.
Moore asserts. Greenpeace campaigned against organo-chlorines like
dioxin and successfully fought to eliminate chlorine from the pulp and
paper bleaching process in Ontario and B.C. because it was polluting
rivers and lakes. Greenpeace has always maintained exceptions for
drinking water and pharmaceutical uses and never called for an
outright ban.

Mr. Moore is alone in his recollection of a fight over chlorine and/or
use of science as his reason for leaving Greenpeace.

On forests, Mr. Moore writes, "Greenpeace is basically anti-forestry."
Completely wrong. Greenpeace has worked with the forest industry
around the world. We take strong hard-line positions on forest
protection, but have a proven track record of working in collaboration
with industry and stakeholders when industry has shown a willingness
to find sustainable solutions. Currently, Greenpeace is working with
forest companies, First Nations, forest communities and government to
secure the future of British Columbia's Great Bear Rainforest; Patrick
Moore and Greenspirit are not.

On genetically modified organisms, Mr. Moore writes that "there is not
a shred of evidence of harm to health or the environment." In fact,
there is little or no independent research on the long-term health and
environmental impacts of genetically engineered organisms. Yet we
continue to develop and release them into the environment.

Greenpeace opposes genetic engineering because we adhere to the
"precautionary principle" (where scientific evidence is insufficient,
inconclusive or uncertain, err on the side of caution). We say the
onus should be on industry to prove a substance is safe before
releasing it into the public. The reverse has had catastrophic results
in the past from Thalidomide use to ozone-depleting CFCs.

Mr. Moore might want to read the 2007 peer-reviewed study by Gilles-
Eric Seralin et al in the science journal Archives of Environmental
Contamination and Toxicology showing elevated liver, kidney and growth
problems in lab rats fed on genetically engineered corn.

On the question of nuclear power, Mr. Moore rattles off a list of
countries using nuclear and says nuclear generation has "virtually no
emissions." Good corporate spin but he fails to mention that globally
last year more megawatts of energy came from renewable sources than
nuclear generation. This trend will increase as jurisdictions like
Germany, Spain and Belgium phase out nuclear generation, and renewable
energy becomes more widespread.

As for being virtually "emissions free," radioactive emissions are
inherent in the nuclear fuel chain. From uranium mining to waste
storage, radioactive emissions and leaks occur at almost every stage
of fuel production and use.

After two decades of working for industry and opposing the positions
of every major environmental group in Canada, surely it's time Patrick
Moore stopped promoting himself as an "environmentalist"?

Bruce Cox is Executive Director of Greenpeace Canada. Greenpeace does
take corporate donations.

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