Patrick Moore and the Agenda of Fear
Politically motivated climate alarmists are using fear to gain control of human behavior and environmental resources and undermine free, prosperous societies. Dr. Patrick Moore, an ecologist and disillusioned cofounder of Greenpeace, exposes their agendas and false claims in his recent book Fake Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom.
As a young scientist, Moore was committed to promoting conservation -- the responsible use of the earth’s resources -- and participated in Greenpeace’s initial campaigns against underground H-bomb testing, whale hunting, and polar bear culling. The disillusionment was gradual. Face to face with activists ostensibly seeking a balance between environmental, social, and economic priorities (“sustainable development”), he was struck by how the then-nascent concept took no consideration of any impact on humankind, and also by how it fiercely inculpated normal human activity. He parted ways with Greenpeace when it promoted “sustainable development” with a fear-mongering, anti-science, anti-human ideology designed to maximize fundraising. In a previous book, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, he explains how the coup de grace came over Greenpeace’s fight for a ban on chlorine. Moore views chlorination of water as the biggest advance in public health.
His latest book gives example after example to demonstrate that the “climate crisis” is fake news driven more by ideology than real science. He demolishes fallacious doomsday prophesies one by one. A chief characteristic of these scares is that they conveniently use data related to invisible (CO2, radiation) or remote (coral reefs, polar bears, walruses) entities that average citizens cannot validate through independent observation. For explication, the public is forced to rely on activists, the media, scientists, and politicians -- all of whom have huge financial or professional stakes in propping up dubious catastrophic scenarios.
Moore’s first chapter calls the bluff on the bogus claim that “old” Baobab trees are dying because of increased CO2 levels. He reasons that ultimately that any old life-form -- whatever the species -- dies. Dissecting the “unprecedented rate” of the Baobabs’ death, he points out there is no previous measure of their death for comparison. Apart from using the Baobab as an attention-grabbing example, activists add drama by publicizing photographs of Baobab trees in their annual leaf-shedding phase. Readers seeing these photos in conjunction with spurious reports of “death by CO2” are likely to assume the trees are dead.
Another chapter debunks the equating of the bleaching of corals -- a harmless, natural occurrence -- with the death of coral reefs. This is another example of alarmists hyperbolizing something simple into a mammoth crisis created by human activity. Moore explains that bleaching of coral is evidence of periods of natural warming and cooling of water, not of coral death. Temperature changes prompt colorless, transparent polyps living in the corals to eject the plankton that give corals their bright colors. Their whitening is no measure of their health, but a normal phenomenon linked to changes in ocean temperature.
Moore explains that purveyors of global warming deliberately ignore the fact that the Earth is at the tail-end of a 50-million-year cooling period, which means temperature is bound to go up. They instead focus on the last 300 years, too brief and irrelevant a time-frame from the evolutionary-adaptation perspective. He posits that the climate has never stopped changing and that it has never been proven that carbon dioxide controls temperature. In fact, temperatures rise before carbon dioxide increases, with a significant lag time in between. The basic fallacy, he says, is the belief that humans are emitting too much CO2 and this will result in a planet too hot to sustain life.
Moore asserts that CO2 level should be celebrated as a critical life force: for 150 million years, CO2 level had been declining, and a rise in CO2 had had markedly beneficial effects on the growth of food crops, trees, and many wild environments because higher CO2 levels result in less water loss and cause plants to become more efficient in their use of water. As for “global warming,” he presents two counterpoints: life flourished during warmer as opposed to colder times; and in the past 50 million years, the Earth has in fact been cooling steadily, and is colder than it has been during most of life’s existence. The serious problem isn’t CO2, it is the environmentalists’ push for wind and solar energy, the maligning of the most economical source of reliable energy, and the jeopardizing of poor populations impacted by carbon reduction programs.
The polar bear extinction myth tops Moore’s list of fake news worth discrediting. Contrary to the scare, the polar bear population all around the Arctic has increased in recent decades, from an estimated 6,000-12,000 in 1973, it stands at 22,000-31,000 in 2020. Declining sea ice is not harmful, as the scaremongers allege. During warm periods, when there is less sea ice, the food chain is maximized. Phytoplankton populations grow in abundance, leading to the growth of zooplankton, which feed on them. This continues up the food chain through fishes and seals, ultimately benefiting polar bears, which feed on seals. Polar bears are so plentiful now, Moore says, that in places like Nunavut, a territory in northeastern Canada, they have become a safety hazard for residents. Global biodiversity of species is higher now than it has ever been in the history of life on earth and naturalists’ efforts in the last 100 years have caused extinctions to decline by about 80%, he says.
The “great Pacific garbage patch,” mostly plastic and twice the size of Texas, is another photoshopped faux disaster. Moore writes that, much like the vilification of carbon energy, the damning of plastic is fallacious. He says plastic is a sterile, versatile, and useful product that helps protect food from contamination and spoilage. It’s no more toxic than driftwood. Ocean life has adapted to plastic: many marine species live in cocoons of plastic trash; many species lay eggs on plastic, feeding fish and birds. In fact, research has shown that birds swallow bits of plastic to help aid digestion in the gizzard, much like they swallow tiny stones and bits of wood, which are then regurgitated. Besides, plastic constitutes only a small amount of the indigestible material birds ingest.
Moore calls the brouhaha over genetically modified food the most serious environmental hoax. Genetic modification has contributed immensely to agricultural productivity, and there’s not a single verified case of harm caused by it. Besides, gene flow between species is not unnatural; it is the stuff of evolution, producing hardy, competitive, and viable species. He reports that almost every major scientific, medical, and nutritional organization says genetically modified food is as safe as, or safer than, conventional food.
There are chapters on nuclear energy, the key to reducing fossil fuel consumption, and how alarmists have spread misinformation about its safety. There are sections disproving activists’ claims that CO2 is responsible for forest fires and the acidification of oceans (which are alkaline, and have remained so, with minute variations that are unremarkable in the long-term perspective). The book also criticizes activists for ignoring the benefits of using non-timber wood -- bark, sawdust, chips, forest-floor residue -- as fuel for generating heat or electricity.
Moore makes it clear that the fake catastrophes must be exposed. The earth is greening, animal species are prospering, and life-expectancy is rising. It’s the hysteria that must stop.
Image: Ecosense Environmental Inc.