Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Two Environmentalists Debate On Climate Change

Here is a fascinating debate between two founders of Greenpeace, one follows the whole climate change is caused by humans mantra and the other does not believe in human-caused global warming/climate change. 

From MercatorNet:

In February, MercatorNet published a controversial article by Patrick Moore, a founding member of Greenpeace in which he explained why he had turned his back on the organisation and its key policies. Rex Weyler, a director of the original Greenpeace Foundation and author of a history of the organisation, plans to respond. Below is a debate between the two men which summarises many of the key disputes over climate change policies.
* * * * *
Rex Weyler: Patrick, I’ve had some requests to comment on your book. So far, I’ve avoided critiquing your ideas in public, out of deference for our friendship. You know from our discussions over beer that I disagree with most of your positions, but now that you’re in print, your ideas bear some scrutiny.  As you know, you’re getting plenty of praise from the usual suspects, National Post, Fox News, etc, so you certainly have your backers.

Patrick Moore: My new book, Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist, was debuted in the Vancouver Sun, has been reviewed by the Calgary Herald, featured on many radio talk shows such as Mike Smyth on CKNW, and in the Toronto Star, hardly a bastion of the right. I do regular interviews on National Public Radio in the US and with Bloomberg News. I also take interviews with Fox Business News and the National Post. If you refer only to the conservative outlets that are interested, then you are hardly producing a balanced critique.

Rex Weyler: I’m sending you this note as a heads up that I may appear in print with a more critical review of your ideas.

Patrick Moore: Thank you for doing so. Has Greenpeace asked you to critique my new book? In other words, should I be expecting the Greenpeace party line from you? Or a more sensible approach?

Rex Weyler: My main objection is that there remains a considerable gap between the scientific data before us and your analysis of that data.

Patrick Moore: You mean like the considerable gap between your certainty about human-caused climate change and the lack of scientific data to prove such a claim? I give plenty of examples where the extent of our knowledge is insufficient to warrant certitude, climate being the main one. As Michael Crichton said “I am certain there is too much certainty in the world.” So I don’t really see what you are getting at here. Is it not more a question as to which set of uncertainties one takes issue with?

Rex Weyler: You portray yourself as “sensible” and disparage all non-corporate environmentalists, but you don’t act scientific. You employ rhetorical devices such as: “There is no alarm about climate change,” since “the climate is always changing.” I’m sure this plays well at corporate speaking gigs, but you should google the fallacy of “misplaced concreteness.” I assume you are aware that you erroneously presume a word means the same thing in different contexts.

Patrick Moore: I hardly think Stewart Brand, founder of the Whole Earth Catalogue, is a corporate environmentalist, more of a loveable hippie with a big brain. Do you think Bjorn Lomborg is “corporate”. I don’t agree with either Brand or Lomborg on everything but at least they cause me to think rather than people who repeat a memorized party-line. I also admire James Lovelock even though I find him enigmatic. All three of these environmentalists that I admire are non-corporate. Which “corporate environmentalists” am I allegedly admiring?
I believe I am sensible and have been all my life, as in common sense. But I suppose that is a matter of opinion.

As to acting “scientific” the highest duty of a scientist is to retain a healthy scepticism about all hypotheses, especially regarding subjects that have many variables like climate. I think you are aware that I hold an Honours BSc in Biology and Forest Biology, a PhD in Ecology, an Honorary Doctorate of Science and have received the  the US National Award for Nuclear Science and History from the Einstein Society, affiliated with the Smithsonian Institute. Would this not make me at least as credible as any member of the IPCC?
If you are referring to the word “climate” you must elaborate as I fail to understand what you mean here. First, you have added in the word “since,” which makes my statement a syllogism. When you do write your critique of my new book, I do hope you will not manipulate my words in that way.
Second, I did not say “there is no alarm about climate change,” but that “there is no REASON FOR alarm about climate change.” The fact that there is such alarm I blame in part on Greenpeace itself.

And finally, as to the “misplaced concreteness”, I refer to climate as a scientific subject, measurable and real. Following Alfred North Whitehead’s definition of this fallacy, I see no misplaced concreteness there.
My belief that there is no reason for alarm has no bearing on the fact that the climate is always changing. I can imagine the public outcry when you accuse me of “misplaced concreteness”, Lordy Lordy.
You and your allies love to use the words “corporate” and “industry” as if they are epithets, swear words, put-downs, etc. with the implication that something sinister is going on. My public appearances are in public, usually with media present.

Rex Weyler: You make claims that have been refuted by the people you reference. This may be okay over a beer, but seems reckless in print. You say DDT was “discontinued for use in malaria control by the World Health Organization and USAID.” But surely you know that WHO and USAID representatives have already told George Monbiot that they never stopped using DDT for malaria control. (“A Charming Falsehood,” The Guardian). Why would you restate this, knowing that WHO and USAID have refuted it?

Patrick Moore: I have provided you with a link to the UN media release titled, “Reversing Its Policy, UN Agency Promotes DDT to Combat the Scourge of Malaria,” UN News Center, September 15, 2006.” Here is the link again where the WHO announces that it is reversing its policy to discontinue the use of DDT after nearly 30 years.

USAID made the same decision in 2006. This reversal stemmed from the negotiations towards the Stockholm Convention on toxic, persistent, bioaccumulative chemicals which, in the end, despite strong opposition from Greenpeace and WWF, provided an exemption for DDT use for malaria control.
I realize there is a major effort at Greenpeace to rewrite the history on this subject as I have been informed by a Greenpeace spokesperson in the UK that “Greenpeace was never opposed to the use of DDT for malaria control.” This has to be one of the most blatant examples of historical revisionism I have encountered. Of course there are other examples, such as their contention that I “played a minor role in the early years” etc. I hope you are not buying into that one. Anyway, if you trust George Monbiot as a reliable source then you’ll get a lot of things wrong, although on nuclear power, he has come a long way in his understanding. Have you noted that George has come out in favor of nuclear energy this week?

And who knows, maybe the WHO and USAID are also trying to cover their tracks. After all it does not look good that health and aid agencies were implicated in the unnecessary deaths of millions of people because they caved into political pressure against DDT in the ’70s. CONTINUED

Which do you think made a good case for his position?  It is plain as day that one environmentalist focused more on attacking the other person's character rather than refuting the other's position.  

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