This story is based upon a lecture sponsored by the World Affairs Council of Western Michigan. The speaker was Patrick Moore, formerly with Greenpeace, and now with the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, a front group of the Nuclear Energy Institute. The first half of the article focuses on why Moore now thinks he was wrong about being anti-nuclear when he was with Greenpeace, but the story doesn’t present when and why he shifted his politics. According to the Center for Media and Democracy Moore “established a consultancy business, Greenspirit Enterprises, focusing on environmental policy and communications in natural resources, biodiversity, energy and climate change.” Moore has represented the logging, mining, plastics and nuclear energy industries, but the article only mentions his connection to the nuclear industry.
The rest of the story has Moore defending nuclear power as a way to deal with future energy needs. Moore also dismisses the scientific community’s concerns about global warming by saying it is a “herd mentality.” The reporter doesn’t question such a comment, nor provide any documentation that would support the credibility of the scientific community’s concern on global warming. Moore is also cited as saying that the “Three Mile Island disaster did not injure anyone and the Chernobyl disaster was a result of the Soviets cutting corners on safety and was an accident waiting to happen.” The Press reporter does not verify Moore’s claims and does not provide any other perspective on this issue. The article ends by stating that this lecture will be broadcast on C-SPAN and that it was sponsored by DTE Energy. Do readers think that a lecture sponsored by a major private power company in any way made sure that the content of the speaker’s presentation would support the institutional existence of that company?
For Patrick Moore, the key to a sustainable energy future is nuclear.
Moore is a founding member of Greenpeace and began his talk Tuesday before the World Affairs Council at Aquinas College by showing pictures of himself from his activist days: with wild, frizzy hair, sitting atop a baby seal to protect it from being clubbed to death, with his compatriots in front of a Greenpeace flag.
Back then, he protested nuclear weapons testing and nuclear energy.
He broke with Greenpeace in 1986 and Tuesday addressed more than 50 people in the Donnelly Conference Center as co-chairman of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is supported by the Nuclear Energy Institute.
He’s now unapologetic about his support of nuclear energy to provide for the world’s power needs.
As for his change from anti-nuke protester back in the 1970s, he said: “We were wrong.”
In an interview before his address, Moore said he was caught up in the anti-nuclear movement.
“I believe we made a mistake in not differentiating and distinguishing between the beneficial and destructive uses of the technology,” he said.
Though in his speech, Moore questioned whether human beings are wholly responsible for global climate change — he likened consensus in the scientific community on that point as “herd mentality.” He said there are good reasons to reduce fossil fuel consumption, such as decreasing air pollution and dependence on foreign oil.
Moore discussed other renewable energy sources, lauding in particular a technology called a ground source heat pump, which draws geothermal energy from the ground, as opposed to solar panels. But he said renewable energy sources cannot do the job alone.
“The correct path forward is to replace fossil fuels with a combination of renewables plus nuclear, that gives us an actual chance to make a dent in the amount of fossil fuels being consumed in the world,” he said.
He said the environmental movement itself impedes reduction of fossil fuel use by such opposing technologies as nuclear energy and hydroelectric power.
“If we would only accept the fact that nuclear energy is the key, along with other renewables, to reducing fossil fuel consumption, a lot of things would start to fall into place,” he said.
Moore asserted that nuclear energy is safe and non-polluting. The infamous Three Mile Island disaster did not injure anyone, he said. And the Chernobyl disaster was a result of the Soviets cutting corners on safety and was “an accident waiting to happen.”
But even Chernobyl had only 60 deaths directly attributable to the disaster, Moore said, citing a United Nations report.
Moore said a study of 54,000 nuclear workers showed they have a lower incidence of cancer and disease than the general population.
Nuclear weapon proliferation is a concern, but Moore said we should not ban all nuclear technology because it can be used as a weapon.
The speech, which will be broadcast by C-SPAN, was sponsored by DTE Energy.