Former Greenpeace Founder Supports Nuclear Power

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March 22, 2011; Source: The National Post | At one time, almost four decades ago, Greenpeace co-founder Patrick Moore was protesting against the construction of nuclear power plants. Now, long disassociated with Greenpeace and identified as chairman and "chief scientist" of a group called Greenspirit Strategies Ltd., Moore is an advocate for nuclear power and protesting against those who are using the Japanese nuclear power plant crisis as a reason for opposing what he sees as a clean power source.

In lumping opposition to nuclear arms to opposition to nuclear power, Moore thinks he launched Greenpeace in the wrong direction. Today he sees nuclear power as "comparatively benign, environmentally, and arguably more conducive to peace than oil bought from detestable regimes." Promoting his new book, “Confessions of a Greenpeace Dropout: The Making of a Sensible Environmentalist,” Moore says his original environmental activism came from a commitment to science over politics, but he considers today's "radical environmentalists" to be anti-science and perhaps anti-human.

He says he left Greenpeace when the organization came out against fish farms (with no environmental downside, he says) and when it called for a worldwide ban on chlorine as the "devil's element" (Moore says 85 percent of medicines are manufactured with chlorine chemistry). He says Greenpeace was full of "former Soviet apologists" and, on nuclear power, focused on scaring people with "a religion based on belief rather than facts or evidence."

Although he devotes his sharpest barbs against Greenpeace, Moore suggests that other environmental groups such as the World Wildlife Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council "imagine a 'fairy tale world' where we all live as peasants and 'nothing is toxic,' which guarantees only a medieval quality of life." He fears "a new intellectual dark age . . . just around the corner."

Others are not taken with Moore's attacks on what the National Post calls "misguided pop-green causes." The Forest Action Network, for example has launched a website called "Patrick Moore is a Big Fat Liar." Are environmentalists following Greenpeace in stepping up their criticism of nuclear power, or are they opting for the positions of Moore and others (such as British environmentalist George Monbiot) who see nuclear's freedom from burning fossil fuels and the purported lack of deaths in Japan directly attributable to the Fukushima and the other plants as justifying a conversion to supporting nuclear energy?—Rick Cohen