Email this article to a friend

The ITT List

Sunday, Apr 16, 2006, 7:54 am

A Greenpeace Founder Advocates Nuclear Energy

By Brian Zick
Patrick Moore, one of the founders* of Greenpeace, has written an opinion piece in WaPo advocating nuclear energy.

Moore says:
And I am not alone among seasoned environmental activists in changing my mind on this subject. British atmospheric scientist James Lovelock, father of the Gaia theory, believes that nuclear energy is the only way to avoid catastrophic climate change. Stewart Brand, founder of the "Whole Earth Catalog," says the environmental movement must embrace nuclear energy to wean ourselves from fossil fuels. On occasion, such opinions have been met with excommunication from the anti-nuclear priesthood: The late British Bishop Hugh Montefiore, founder and director of Friends of the Earth, was forced to resign from the group's board after he wrote a pro-nuclear article in a church newsletter.

There are signs of a new willingness to listen, though, even among the staunchest anti-nuclear campaigners. When I attended the Kyoto climate meeting in Montreal last December, I spoke to a packed house on the question of a sustainable energy future. I argued that the only way to reduce fossil fuel emissions from electrical production is through an aggressive program of renewable energy sources (hydroelectric, geothermal heat pumps, wind, etc.) plus nuclear. The Greenpeace spokesperson was first at the mike for the question period, and I expected a tongue-lashing. Instead, he began by saying he agreed with much of what I said -- not the nuclear bit, of course, but there was a clear feeling that all options must be explored.

* Dr. Patrick Moore
... sailed on the first Greenpeace voyage, drafted the “Greenpeace Declaration of Interdependence” with Bob Hunter in 1975, was president of the Greenpeace Foundation, 1977-79, then president of Greenpeace Canada until 1985.

via Kevin Drum

Hunter at dailykos thinks Moore's identity as "Greenpeace founder" is misleading, because of Moore's more recent professional activities.

Bluntly put, Patrick Moore is a paid consultant for the mining, logging, biotech and energy industries, and putting him out as "ex-Greenpeace" is a lot like calling Scooter Libby an "ex-Hill staffer." Moore is indeed more significantly described as founder of Greenspirit Strategies Ltd -- a firm that, if you are a company in the extraction or other environmentally damaging industries, can "assist in communicating your issues".

Mark Kleiman endorses Moore's thinking.
Thanks in no small part to Ralph Nader, opposition to nuclear power has been a shibboleth of the environmental movement.
Opposition to nuclear power has always been based on a refusal to face the fact that, in the short-to-medium term, less nuclear power necessarily means more coal-fired power. But the truth is slowly sinking in, and leaking out, in part due to the global-warming problem and in part due to Nader's self-discrediting antics in 2000 and 2004. (There's actually a strong analogy between refusing to acknowledge that the alternative to Gore was Bush and refusing to acknowledge that the alternative to nuclear is coal.)
View Comments