What does it take to become a legitimate spokesperson on climate change science and energy policy in the eyes of President Donald Trump and partisan conservative media like Fox News and Breitbart?
If the current worshipping of non-expert and climate science denier Patrick Moore is anything to go by, the only qualification you need is the ability to call first-term Democratic congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez a “pompous little twit” on Twitter.
No other actual expertise is, apparently, necessary. This is fortunate, because Moore has no expertise on climate science.
Since Moore attacked Ocasio-Cortez — known as AOC — and her advocacy for a “Green New Deal” in a Tweet on February 24, the Canadian has been “interviewed” on Fox News by Sean Hannity and Tucker Carlson.
After introducing Moore, Carlson managed to not ask a single question of the Canadian.
Now, President Trump is elevating Moore’s statements, thanks to yet another appearance on the Fox channel, this time on Fox and Friends. The President tweeted:
Patrick Moore, co-founder of Greenpeace: “The whole climate crisis is not only Fake News, it’s Fake Science. There is no climate crisis, there’s weather and climate all around the world, and in fact carbon dioxide is the main building block of all life.” @foxandfriends Wow!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 12, 2019
Moore has never published an independent scientific journal article on climate change and his claims are contradicted by every major national science academy in the world and all of the evidence they draw on.
Moore does have a 1972 PhD in ecology, but DeSmog could not find any scientific papers published by Moore going back at least as far as 1994. Moore has written many articles for the publications of think tanks and lobby groups.
In his Fox interview with Carlson, Moore said there would “not be any electric trucks anytime soon.” Electric trucks are being manufactured now. Volvo is about to launch its second.
A review of Moore’s past statements on climate change show he has taken contradictory positions, sometimes within weeks, on climate change.
Moore has claimed that nuclear energy is a solution to rising greenhouse gas emissions. But in other forums, he has claimed there is no evidence for human-caused climate change.
Moore’s attempts in recent days to counter suggestions that he is paid for his views by industry are contradicted by his own CV.
In July 2018, Moore claimed that wind farms were a “wealth-destroying technology” that would “rust in place.”
But the previous year, an article uploaded to his own website (with a URL showing the year 2017) said that wind farms were “works of art compared to some of our urban environments,” were “commercially feasible,” and that “a million times more birds are killed by cats, windows, and cars than by all the windmills in the world.”
Moore claimed campaigners against forestry, hydroelectric dams, and nuclear energy were “sick” to “deprive developing nations of clean electricity, stop renewable wind energy, block a solution to global warming, and contribute to deforestation.”
In an almost identical article published around March 2005, Moore wrote that “a significant reduction in greenhouse gas emissions seems unlikely given our continued heavy reliance on fossil fuel consumption.”
Moore then quoted scientist James Lovelock saying that “Civilization is in imminent danger” and criticized environmental groups’ positions against nuclear energy.
“We can agree renewable energies, such as wind, geothermal, and hydro are part of the solution,” wrote Moore.
Yet in the same month in 2005, Moore wrote in the Toronto Sun that: “The world’s climate has always been changing; it is impossible to tell if our activities are responsible for global warming.”
What appears clear is that when Moore is advocating for his favorite industries, global warming has been real. But when he’s not, issues suddenly become uncertain.
On Twitter on March 7, 2019, Moore said: “I have never worked for fossil fuel companies. I have worked with mainly with [sic] agriculture, forestry, and nuclear energy.”
I am 71 and I do not need any more $$. I am not super wealthy but by global standards I am comfortable. I have never put $$ ahead of trying to be honest and fair. I am always ready to be corrected on any matter. Try me. https://t.co/TAxeNiuTn4
— Patrick Moore (@EcoSenseNow) March 8, 2019
Between 2006 and 2013, Moore was the founding co-chair of the nuclear industry-funded front group Clean and Safe Energy Coalition (CASEnergy Coalition).
Fellow nuclear energy advocates have been dismayed by Moore’s anti-science views.
In March 2016, DeSmog revealed that Moore had been paid by a European coal industry-lobbying group, Euracoal, to deliver a speech, where he told attendees they should “celebrate CO2.”
The president of the forum that hosted the talk later described Moore’s contribution as among the “less rational” he had heard on global warming.
An archive of Moore’s CV up to 2001 reveals a host of industry clients.
According to the CV, other clients included the Canadian Mining Association, the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, Westcoast Energy and B.C. Gas, PVC manufacturer IPEX, and BHP Minerals.
Between 1992 and 1996, Moore was “retained by the Canadian Pulp and Paper Association for annual two-week tours of countries in Western Europe to brief decision-makers and opinion leaders on forestry and the environment in Canada.”
Moore is also a director for the CO2 Coalition — a climate science denial group founded by a former Exxon manager and professor emeritus Will Happer, who has been picked by Trump to head an inquiry into the national security risk of climate change.
Moore’s well-known work as an advocate for industries including forestry and nuclear power have not been mentioned by his supporters at Fox or Breitbart, and his incorrect statements about climate change have gone unchallenged.
But Moore’s fans never fail to mention that he was a “former Greenpeace founder” even though he left that organization 33 years ago and that Greenpeace itself has stated many times that he was not a co-founder.
Replying to the President’s tweet, Greenpeace USA said: “Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He does not represent Greenpeace. He is a paid lobbyist, not an independent source. His statements about @AOC & the #GreenNewDeal have nothing to do with our positions.”
Patrick Moore was not a co-founder of Greenpeace. He does not represent Greenpeace. He is a paid lobbyist, not an independent source. His statements about @AOC & the #GreenNewDeal have nothing to do with our positions.
— Greenpeace USA (@greenpeaceusa) March 12, 2019
Former Greenpeace colleague and actual co-founder of Greenpeace International, Rex Weyler, has written: “Moore has served as a corporate public relations consultant far longer than he ever worked for Greenpeace, and he has never worked as a scientist.”
At Canadian think tank the Frontier Center for Public Policy, Moore’s biography said his values were all about “consensus building.” Moore has been chair of the think tank’s “Energy, Ecology and Prosperity Program” and has published several articles through the group.
When one fellow nuclear advocate pointed out a paper Moore had written about ocean acidification had been published by a think tank he worked at and was not a recognized scientific journal, Moore said “GFY.”
So what are Moore’s scientific qualifications?
According to his CV, Moore completed a degree in Forest Biology at the University of British Columbia in 1969. He gained a PhD in 1972 for his thesis focusing on “The Administration of Pollution Control in B.C., A Focus on the Mining Industry.”
Despite speaking on climate change and energy policy, Moore has no qualifications in either field.
British environment journalist Peter Hadfield has looked in detail at some of Moore’s contradictions and cherry-picked science in a YouTube video.
Main image: Fox host Tucker Carlson interviewing climate science denier Patrick Moore in March 2019.