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View Full Version : Why I Left Greenpeace: By PATRICK MOORE co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace


ProfJohn
04-22-2008, 04:12 PM
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.

Either way, greenpeace has been a mess for years. Focused more on generating publicity than making a real difference in the world it seems.
link (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120882720657033391.html?mod=opinion_main_comment aries)
In 1971 an environmental and antiwar ethic was taking root in Canada, and I chose to participate. As I completed a Ph.D. in ecology, I combined my science background with the strong media skills of my colleagues. In keeping with our pacifist views, we started Greenpeace.

But I later learned that the environmental movement is not always guided by science. As we celebrate Earth Day today, this is a good lesson to keep in mind.

At first, many of the causes we championed, such as opposition to nuclear testing and protection of whales, stemmed from our scientific knowledge of nuclear physics and marine biology. But after six years as one of five directors of Greenpeace International, I observed that none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. They were either political activists or environmental entrepreneurs. Ultimately, a trend toward abandoning scientific objectivity in favor of political agendas forced me to leave Greenpeace in 1986.

The breaking point was a Greenpeace decision to support a world-wide ban on chlorine. Science shows that adding chlorine to drinking water was the biggest advance in the history of public health, virtually eradicating water-borne diseases such as cholera. And the majority of our pharmaceuticals are based on chlorine chemistry. Simply put, chlorine is essential for our health.

My former colleagues ignored science and supported the ban, forcing my departure. Despite science concluding no known health risks ? and ample benefits ? from chlorine in drinking water, Greenpeace and other environmental groups have opposed its use for more than 20 years.

Opposition to the use of chemicals such as chlorine is part of a broader hostility to the use of industrial chemicals. Rachel Carson's 1962 book, "Silent Spring," had a significant impact on many pioneers of the green movement. The book raised concerns, many rooted in science, about the risks and negative environmental impact associated with the overuse of chemicals. But the initial healthy skepticism hardened into a mindset that treats virtually all industrial use of chemicals with suspicion.

Sadly, Greenpeace has evolved into an organization of extremism and politically motivated agendas. Its antichlorination campaign failed, only to be followed by a campaign against polyvinyl chloride.

Greenpeace now has a new target called phthalates (pronounced thal-ates). These are chemical compounds that make plastics flexible. They are found in everything from hospital equipment such as IV bags and tubes, to children's toys and shower curtains. They are among the most practical chemical compounds in existence.

Phthalates are the new bogeyman. These chemicals make easy targets since they are hard to understand and difficult to pronounce. Commonly used phthalates, such as diisononyl phthalate (DINP), have been used in everyday products for decades with no evidence of human harm. DINP is the primary plasticizer used in toys. It has been tested by multiple government and independent evaluators, and found to be safe.

Despite this, a political campaign that rejects science is pressuring companies and the public to reject the use of DINP. Retailers such as Wal-Mart and Toys "R" Us are switching to phthalate-free products to avoid public pressure.

It may be tempting to take this path of least resistance, but at what cost? None of the potential replacement chemicals have been tested and found safe to the degree that DINP has. The Consumer Product Safety Commission recently cautioned, "If DINP is to be replaced in children's products . . . the potential risks of substitutes must be considered. Weaker or more brittle plastics might break and result in a choking hazard. Other plasticizers might not be as well studied as DINP."

The hysteria over DINP began in Europe and Israel, both of which instituted bans. Yet earlier this year, Israel realized the error of putting politics before science, and reinstated DINP.

The European Union banned the use of phthalates in toys prior to completion of a comprehensive risk assessment on DINP. That assessment ultimately concluded that the use of DINP in infant toys poses no measurable risk.

The antiphthalate activists are running a campaign of fear to implement their political agenda. They have seen success in California, with a state ban on the use of phthalates in infant products, and are pushing for a national ban. This fear campaign merely distracts the public from real environmental threats.

We all have a responsibility to be environmental stewards. But that stewardship requires that science, not political agendas, drive our public policy.

LumbergTech
04-22-2008, 05:25 PM
so are you advocating a better version of greenpeace that actually helps to keep the environment safe and cleaned up...or are you just trying to insult environmentalists?

eskimospy
04-22-2008, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.



This is not correct.

ZebuluniteV
04-22-2008, 05:34 PM
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.



This is not correct.

He's right on the first point. The leading proponents of the "debate" (i.e. those who claim that there is a scientific debate) aren't scientists - they're activists working for big business and politicians receiving campaign contributions and etc from them.

Of course, something tells me that's not what ProfJohn meant...



Edit: that's not to say that every single scientist is in agreement, or that there aren't any in support of global warming who aren't scientists, but rather that its fairly onesided.

ProfJohn
04-22-2008, 05:36 PM
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.



This is not correct.
I believe it is the summary reports that are not written by scientists.

ProfJohn
04-22-2008, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by: ZebuluniteV
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.
This is not correct.
He's right on the first point. The leading proponents of the "debate" (i.e. those who claim that there is a scientific debate) aren't scientists - they're activists working for big business and politicians receiving campaign contributions and etc from them.

Of course, something tells me that's not what ProfJohn meant...
You mean people like Al Gore?

ZebuluniteV
04-22-2008, 05:40 PM
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Originally posted by: ZebuluniteV
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.
This is not correct.
He's right on the first point. The leading proponents of the "debate" (i.e. those who claim that there is a scientific debate) aren't scientists - they're activists working for big business and politicians receiving campaign contributions and etc from them.

Of course, something tells me that's not what ProfJohn meant...
You mean people like Al Gore?

Just edited my post while you were writing that. I'm not claiming that every single scientist is in agreement, or that everyone who supports global warming is a scientist, but rather that its fairly one-sided (e.g. the pro-global warming side of the largely-manufactured scientific "debate" has much more scientific supporters than the anti-global warming side).

shrumpage
04-22-2008, 06:00 PM
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.



This is not correct.

Sort of.... Bureaucrats wrote the summary and then selected the individual reports to include.

They wrote the summary first, then selected the studies that fit the summary. This was published on the ipcc site, in an instructional PDF.

eskimospy
04-22-2008, 06:22 PM
Originally posted by: shrumpage
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.



This is not correct.

Sort of.... Bureaucrats wrote the summary and then selected the individual reports to include.

They wrote the summary first, then selected the studies that fit the summary. This was published on the ipcc site, in an instructional PDF.



What report are you referring to?

All I can say is that the leading proponents of man made global warming are scientists. They have always been scientists. As mentioned above, this does not mean all people that are trying to do something about it are scientists, but the implication in ProJo's statement is that those pushing global warming are not scientists, nor do they have sufficient education to understand this issue. This is obviously false.

Rainsford
04-22-2008, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Originally posted by: ZebuluniteV
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.
This is not correct.
He's right on the first point. The leading proponents of the "debate" (i.e. those who claim that there is a scientific debate) aren't scientists - they're activists working for big business and politicians receiving campaign contributions and etc from them.

Of course, something tells me that's not what ProfJohn meant...
You mean people like Al Gore?

That is a pretty silly point, if you think about it. Sure, there are plenty of Al Gore's on the side arguing that man-made global warming is fact...but there are plenty of Al Gore types on the OTHER side as well, and only one side has the majority of the world's climate scientists.

But I think the Greenpeace guy makes a good point, although probably not the one he was trying to make. Whatever science says, it's important to remember that lots of people are more interested in the political aspects of the debate than the facts. Those people damage scientific arguments because they allow folks on the other side to argue that it's not really science being discussed.

Of course the point is ridiculous, but it sounds like a convincing argument if you don't think too hard. You bring up Al Gore all the time, but I have yet to see you make a really solid argument that Al Gore's "side" must be wrong because Al Gore himself is kind of a tool.

shrumpage
04-22-2008, 07:47 PM
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: shrumpage
Originally posted by: eskimospy
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
The article doesn't touch on global warming, but when he says "none of my fellow directors had any formal science education." he reminds me of the GW debate where many of the leading proponents of it aren't scientists, but are politicians and activists.

If I recall correctly the big UN paper on GW was written by bureaucrats instead of scientists.



This is not correct.

Sort of.... Bureaucrats wrote the summary and then selected the individual reports to include.

They wrote the summary first, then selected the studies that fit the summary. This was published on the ipcc site, in an instructional PDF.



What report are you referring to?

All I can say is that the leading proponents of man made global warming are scientists. They have always been scientists. As mentioned above, this does not mean all people that are trying to do something about it are scientists, but the implication in ProJo's statement is that those pushing global warming are not scientists, nor do they have sufficient education to understand this issue. This is obviously false.

Um, the IPCC report. Remember how they released the summary first before the actually report? The span was i think 3 months. During that time they had specific instructions to make sure they included 'reports' that fit the already written summary.

Found link from earlier post by me concerning this issue:

http://forums.anandtech.com/me...ab=arc&highlight_key=y (http://forums.anandtech.com/messageview.aspx?catid=52&threadid=2003222&arctab=arc&highlight_key=y)

ProfJohn
04-22-2008, 10:08 PM
Adding to what shrumpage said...

There have been several scientists who have come out and made the point that all the research dollars are going to people who are trying to prove GW exists or that it is man made.

When you have all the money going one way then of course most of the research is going to go that way as well.

Robor
04-22-2008, 10:29 PM
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Adding to what shrumpage said...

There have been several scientists who have come out and made the point that all the research dollars are going to people who are trying to prove GW exists or that it is man made.

When you have all the money going one way then of course most of the research is going to go that way as well.

Wow. So you're saying that it's possible a group of people could be influencing or manipulating information to influence a preconceived plan. Hmm.... ;)

Edit: clarification

Rainsford
04-23-2008, 12:04 AM
Originally posted by: ProfJohn
Adding to what shrumpage said...

There have been several scientists who have come out and made the point that all the research dollars are going to people who are trying to prove GW exists or that it is man made.

When you have all the money going one way then of course most of the research is going to go that way as well.

And what makes those "several scientists" more trustworthy than the many orders of magnitude greater number of climate scientists who have said that the evidence supporting man made global warming is extremely solid?

You're cherry picking your evidence, searching for the exception that "disproves" the rule. Search long enough and you'll find at least SOME support for almost any idea you can think of. The problem is that you're limiting your sample size to ONLY that evidence, completely disregarding the far greater amount of contradictory evidence you had to wade through first.

Your basic approach is like searching through an entire flock of white sheep, finding one that's black, and declaring that this proves all sheep are black.

CycloWizard
04-23-2008, 12:30 AM
The article is true in that a lot of the climate boogey-man that appears in the media (and, therefore, this forum) is hocus pocus put out by ignorant people with a lot of money who stand to make more money from their bogus crap. Al Gore is certainly high on that list. However, this doesn't mean that the climate is not changing, nor does it mean that man isn't contributing. It's just a shame that people are profiteering at the expense of the credibility of the cause they supposedly champion.