What You Need to Know about Patrick Moore: Debunking the Myths of a Climate-Change Skeptic

(Isa Goldberg)– Written on behalf of the Green Amherst Party.

This Thursday, October 9th, at 8PM, the Amherst College Republicans will be hosting Ecologist Patrick Moore at Cole Assembly Hall (Red Room), Converse Hall.

When you hear about prominent individuals who have updated their views on climate change, it is usually in the right direction. For instance, father and daughter duo Richard and Elizabeth Muller, who formerly shed doubt on climate change, have since founded the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature Project and hired their own team of scientists to determine the validity of global warming.

“Last year following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists,” stated Mr. Muller in an NYT Article, “I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause.”

People like Muller and his daughter are critical elements to the climate debate: initially global warming skeptics, the pair has since publicized some of the most compelling evidence of human caused climate-change.

This is not the case for Dr. Patrick Moore.

Moore’s upcoming speech on campus, entitled “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout,” will detail how he ended up on the opposite pole of the climate-change debate. A proponent of felling tropical rainforests and nuclear energy, Dr. Moore proclaims the unlikelihood of human-induced climate change and states that there are “other systems at play.” In his book, Moore justifies current climate change as a continuation of Earth’s warming and cooling cycles, and emphasizes that there are too many variables to prove global warming with computer climate models: “meteorology (the study of weather), atmospheric chemistry, astrophysics and cosmic rays, geology and other earth sciences, oceanography, carbon cycling through all living species, soil science, geology, climate history through the millennia …”. Moore goes on to claim that climate scientists have been taking carbon dioxide measurements “since 1958 … a very short time compared to the 3.5 billion years of life on earth.” Moore ignores scientific literature reviewing ice core samples that date back hundreds of thousands of years, revealing carbon dioxide readings throughout history.

Moore’s blatant disregard of countering scientific evidence made it difficult for me to continue reading.

Moore left Greenpeace in 1986, citing that he thought the organization had taken a “sharp turn to the political left.” He later declared that environmental activism had “abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism.” In his book, Moore goes so far as to label the climate change movement as “Climategate” and a “scandal,” insisting that climate scientists “had been manipulating data, withholding data, and conspiring to discredit other scientists who did not share their certainty that humans were the main cause of climate change.” His evidence on this matter is embellished: he cites a five-year-old op-ed concerning the reluctance of two climate data centers in releasing information to the public. While Moore evokes images of evil scientists tinkering with climate data in the laboratory, nowhere in the article does the author mention that scientists are conspiring or manipulating data.

Nevertheless, it perplexes me that he will be discussing his divisive views on “environmentalism, climate change, and the future of energy” in front of a largely informed audience. Whom will he fool?

Approximately 63% of Americans believe global warming is happening. Of the remaining 37%, 23% contest climate change and 14% are undecided. The percentage of those undecided, from spring 2013 to fall 2013, dropped 6 points; and the percentage of those incredulous of climate change climbed 7 points in the same time span.

No matter your major, background, or politics, take note: it is crucial that those of us who are educated about the detriments of human-induced climate-change to convince those who remain undecided on the validity of global warming.

Climate change is old news. Countries outside of the US have already accepted the validity of global temperature rise, have taken ownership of the problem, and have commenced environmental remediation. Germany, for example, has generated a peak of 74% of power from renewable energy sources;

The US, as it lags behind in emissions efficiency, is exacerbating the problem. We are still stuck in the questioning stages, and we urgently need to move into the action phase of climate change cleanup. In most cases, it is too late for preventative measures.

A step in the right direction, which Dr. Moore will unlikely emphasize, is the race to curb fossil fuel consumption. This is where a neat term called “grid parity” comes into play: when an alternative energy source can generate energy at equal or less cost than power generated from the electricity grid, a grid parity is created. Grid parity, which has recently been achieved in some towns with on-shore wind-power and solar power, is a tipping point. When a renewable energy source becomes more desirable than costly non-renewable energy sources, a wholesale shift in could take place in the energy market. In Germany, solar power has already reached grid parity: the cost of solar power now rivals commercial electricity rates.

This is but one solution to the urgent problem of climate change. If students on this campus are exposed to and convinced by the nonsense of Dr. Moore, we are losing potential problem-solvers and leaders in the battle for a sustainable future.

It is frightening that Dr. Moore’s likely one-sided lecture might pass on his fraudulent reasoning to impressionable members of the audience.

It is our responsibility, as stewards of this Earth, to strengthen the tide of environmental activism. We must wash away Patrick Moore and other barnacles still clinging to the idea of non-human-induced climate-change.

As Richard Muller aptly concluded his aforementioned article, “Then comes the difficult part: agreeing across the political and diplomatic spectrum about what can and should be done.”

Editor’s Note: This article has been update to clarify information about Germany’s use of renewable energy.