Patrick Moore is a Canadian activist, and former president of Greenpeace Canada. Since leaving Greenpeace, which he helped to found, Moore has criticized the environmental movement for what he sees as scare tactics and disinformation, saying that the environmental movement “abandoned science and logic in favor of emotion and sensationalism.” He has sharply and publicly differed with many policies of major environmental groups, including Greenpeace itself on other issues including forestry, biotechnology, aquaculture, and the use of chemicals for many applications.
Mr. Moore had a conversation with Grégoire Canlorbe, an independent journalist, during his stay in Paris in December 2017 for the climate-realist conference day. The interview was conducted on behalf of the French “Association des climato-réalistes,” the only climate-realist organization in France. It was notably reprinted on Watts Up With That.
Grégoire Canlorbe: The beliefs and values of an individual generally reach such a degree of interdependence (regardless of the poorly or rigorously logical character of this interconnection) that challenging a particular aspect of his worldview sets the whole edifice in motion, and not just that particular belief or value. When you finally decided to distance yourself from Greenpeace, how much had you been evolving in your personal philosophy?
Patrick Moore: Well, I have to say even at the beginning of Greenpeace, I didn’t share all the same values and opinions of my comrades. I was doing a PhD in ecology, so I was involved in a science education and, although there were a few people in the original group who had some science education, in the end, science was lost altogether in the Greenpeace evolution, to where during my last 6 years as a director of Greenpeace International, none of my fellow directors had any formal science education. In the beginning, we had a very strong humanitarian orientation to save human civilization from all-out nuclear war.
That was basically the main focus of Greenpeace. The “peace” part was really what we were emphasizing in the beginning. Our theme was that all-out nuclear war would also be extremely damaging to the environment, the “green” part. So “green” and “peace” being put together in one word was a revolutionary concept and one of the reasons it gained so much authority and power, because it resonated with people that humans and the environment were one thing closely related to each other. As time went on, the peace kind of got lost when we shifted to “save the whales,” “save the baby seals,” “stop toxic waste dumping,” and “anti-nuclear energy”, instead of anti-nuclear weapons. And so the thinking shifted to where we were focusing more on nature, and that caused the “peace” to drop off the end of Greenpeace, a little bit, and by the time I left in 1986, Greenpeace and much of the rest of the environmental movement was characterizing humans as the enemies of earth, the enemies of nature. And this does not resonate with me.
Being an ecologist, I see all life as one system on the earth. Ecology is about the interrelationships among all of the different forms of life, including humans of course. We came from nature, we evolved from nature in the same manner, evolutionarily, as all of the others species did. So, to see human as separate and, in a way, the only evil animal, is how it is now projected. We’re the only bad animal, the only bad species. Even weeds are better than us, disease agents are not evil, they are just there, part of nature. While humans in a sort of original sin kind of fashion, have become characterized as the enemies of nature, so that’s why I left Greenpeace on the broader front, because I don’t believe in that even for one second, that we are the enemies of nature, and you’ll understand why later in the interview, but, for me, my distancing from Greenpeace began about four years before I left.
In 1982, there was a meeting of international environmental with about 85 of us, I believe, from all over the world chosen on geographical criteria. I was from Western Canada, the one person from Western Canada in that meeting in Nairobi, Kenya. After the first UN Conference on the environment in 1972 in Stockholm, the first United Nations agency to be in a developing country, the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) was founded in Kenya. And in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the Stockholm conference, we 85 environmental were brought together by the Environmental Liaison Center, which was the environmental NGO’s liaison with UNEP. It was at that meeting that I heard for the first time in my life the term “sustainable development.” That term had been coined earlier in the day at a meeting between environmentalists from the industrial countries and environmentalists from the developing countries.
Most people think sustainable development was a compromise between environmentalists and industrialists, the development part, but no. It was a compromise among environmentalists, because if you’re an environmentalist in a developing country, you cannot be against development. Whereas most of the environmental people from the industrial countries were basically against mega-projects and developments like large dams and nuclear power plants, huge construction projects they were always opposing, and still do today. But in developing countries, if you’re against development, you are laughed away from the room, because developing countries are developing and that’s all there is to it, they’re trying to have a better life for their citizens and more wealth for their countries.
So that’s when I first began to realize, this term “sustainable development” told me that the challenge for environmentalism going forward would be much larger than just awareness of the environment. It includes the social and economic dimensions. Sustainable development means you have to take into consideration the fact that there are more than 7 billion human beings, who every day need food, energy, and materials to survive. Food, energy, and materials, all come from the environment. So I saw things in a completely different picture as a result of this new approach. I too, in the campaigning of the environmental movement that what we did 24/7, all we did was think about our campaigns, I kind of had the blinkers on, a little bit and only seeing the ecology and the environment and nature, and not seeing the relationships with the social and economic factors that govern our daily lives, and so I realized that the incorporation of environmental values into the social and economic fabric had to be taken.
You can’t just say, “Ok, we’re going to save the environment, never mind the people, just let them die, because they can’t have anything anymore, because it will affect the environment.” That’s not a correct approach and I think too much today, if you take for example, the movement against oil, and pipelines to carry to refineries and all of this. It’s basically being proposed that we commit economic suicide. If you look at the environmental movement position on energy today, they are against fossil fuels, they are against nuclear energy, they are against hydroelectric energy, they are against 98.5 % of the world’s energy. This would be suicide, not just economic suicide but really suicide, like dying. So, over 4 years, not knowing or understanding what I could possibly do next after being in Greenpeace for 15 years, right out of university, right out of my PhD, I had no chance to have a “normal” life in industry or government, at this point I was far, too far gone along my way of thinking to do that. So I left Greenpeace.
Why did I leave Greenpeace finally? Because they adopted a campaign to ban chlorine worldwide. And of this I thought how ridiculous, I’m in this group where all the other directors have no science and they’re saying we should ban the element chlorine from existence in human affairs. They didn’t seem to understand that chlorine was the most important element for public health and medicine and when I saw this I realized they really didn’t care about people. They would ban an element which is so important in healthcare and in medicine, adding chlorine to our drinking water has been the biggest advance in the history of public health in swimming pools and spas where it prevents bacteria from killing us, and most of our synthetic medicines, pharmaceuticals or drugs are made with chlorine chemistry. Chlorine is important, precisely because it’s toxic to bacteria and other disease agents that are trying to kill us.
So in the end, that was the sharp point of the stick for me. I could not stay in an association, as an international director, that was against the use of chlorine for medicine and public health. And so I left and began a salmon farm in aquaculture at my childhood home on Northern Vancouver Island and, within a year or two, was being attacked by Greenpeace for growing fish. Then I really knew I was smart to get out, because aquaculture, of course, is one of the most important future methods of food production for this world. Producing healthy proteins and fats better for you in a diet than land animals, not that I don’t eat those but that’s a long winded explanation of why I left Greenpeace.
Patrick Moore (on the left), in the company of Grégoire Canlorbe,
in December 2017 in Paris
Grégoire Canlorbe: President Trump makes no mystery of his climate skepticism, thus echoing the own language elements of his Russian homologue. It was revealed that Mr. Putin’s skepticism dates from the early 2000s, when his staff did very extensive work trying to uncover all aspects of the alleged anthropogenic climate warning. Do you believe the Kremlin, along with the Trump administration, has become a front-runner in the fight against climate change totalitarianism?
Patrick Moore: Yes, it’s been very obvious for some time that the Russians, particularly Russian scientists, do not believe that man-made climate change has been a catastrophe of some kind. I mean, most scientists will say, yes of course, there are over seven billion humans and our missions and our activities, especially the clearing of ecosystems for agriculture, it’s obviously having some effect on the world but whether it’s having a huge effect on the climate is very much debatable, and I don’t really believe it is true. Microclimates, yes, cities have made changes that had make it warmer inside, for example, the “urban heat island effect” as it is called. So everywhere you go where there is a city with a lots of concrete and lots of heat being used in the buildings, you will find that it is warmer in the city than it is out in the country right nearby.
So yes we do have an effect on temperature, climate etc. But to say it’s a catastrophe, that is the difference. There is no catastrophe, there is nothing happening today, not one thing, in the weather or the climate, that is anywhere nearer out of line with the last 10,000 years of climate since we came out of the last natural glaciation into this interglacial period about 10,000 years ago, the climate has been relatively steady in within a few degrees centigrade of the temperature and storms have always happened. As a matter of fact, it is predicted that storms will become less frequent and less severe as the world warms, if it does. So far we haven’t really seen much, we’ve seen less than a degree Celsius of warming, in what is supposedly this apocalypse occurring on the planet.
So Russia has long been skeptical and never really was a climate believer. Then you have India and China, both of whom kind of play along with the politics of climate change, but are really in no way doing very much on the policy front to address this so-called problem. They are just moving forward with their development and they don’t really believe in the same way that people in Western Europe and North America have this belief in dangerous climate change caused by humans. So I am very heartened by the fact that president Trump is taking the position he is, because we are being led down a path towards disaster not by the use of fossil fuels but by this hysteria about climate change and carbon dioxide.
I mean, I had been a skeptic for over 30 years, going back to 1989 when this issue was first raised to a high public level in the media. It was clear to me at the time that we should question this very seriously, this idea that carbon dioxide is somehow pollution, or will destroy the world. When in fact carbon dioxide is the basis of all life. I wrote an essay in 1991, titled “Carbon is the currency of life,” and in that essay I make the argument and soon lost the arguments to this overwhelming tide of climate change hysteria. I made this argument that we first have to recognize that carbon and carbon dioxide are the basis of all life on earth. All of the carbon in my body and yours and all the other people, and all the other plants and all the other animals came from carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. So I’ve been skeptical from the very beginning and I’ve questioned the ability of science even to determine what’s right or wrong in some of these aspects.
We don’t have any scientific proof that CO2 is the main cause of the little bit of warming that has occurred in the last few centuries. It’s been 300 years since the dates of the little ice age, about 200 years from the modern minimum, when there was a second wave of cold right through the world, due to the lack of activity of the sun, something that people now are saying is about to repeat itself. We will see. But the factor that matters is the world has been warming gradually for 300 years, long before we started using fossil fuels. Even the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on climate change says that humans are responsible for most of the warming since the mid-20th century, that’s 1950, only 67 years ago. So they say for the first 4.6 billion years of the earth history, the climate was changing due to natural factors, like solar and Milankovitch cycles and ocean currents, there are many natural factors that affect the climate, but since 1950, 67 years ago, humans are now the dominant force in the climate change on the earth?
Just there you can see in a way, what a ridiculous argument they are making, as if the natural forces that have been shaping the earth’s climate through orders of magnitude, larger changes in temperature, in particular through the history of the earth, that suddenly we are now the main cause of the climate change. If you look at it with facts it’s ridiculous to make this claim. There is no proof, if there was a proof, that human CO2 emissions were the cause of warming in the climate, they would write it down on a piece of paper, so we can read it and see it, but they have no such proof. All they have is the hypothesis based on the idea that CO2 is a greenhouse gas like water vapor, only water vapor is probably a 100 times more important than CO2. So they just say this, they say CO2 is a greenhouse gas, therefore it’s the cause of climate warming. They have no proof whatsoever to back it up. And that’s why, in a way, it’s very frustrating, because you start right there with them just saying, “Well it’s simple physics the science is settled, the argument is over.”
What can you say to that? They’re basically saying, “Don’t bother talking to me, because I’m the truth even though I have no actual evidence for it.” This is why many people believe that climate change has actually turned into a new kind of religion, with even the Pope of Rome coming in with an encyclical in which he is denigrating humans. It’s a terrible thing he says about the human species in this encyclical. He says that we have turned the world into a “pile of filth.” Well, yes there are some garbage dumps in the world, but what are they? Full of paper and plastic and tin and things. It’s not actually the worst thing that could ever happen, the fact that we produce waste, like every other species does in fact. And that waste gets recycled into the earth in time. For a major religion, like the catholic religion, to characterize the human species as basically evil, basically dirty, filthy, is something that I simply do not tolerate. I won’t listen to it, because I know it’s an appeal to people who want to believe in doomsday, apocalypse, catastrophe…
For ever since humans have been around, there’s always someone who is predicting doom, “the end is coming” and this to me is only an internal reflection on their own short life, they’re afraid of dying and so they project that on the all world, they’re afraid of the world dying. This is not going to happen, the world will be here for a very long time and it will remain green and beautiful for a very long time as well. Except, it wouldn’t remain so green and beautiful if the carbon dioxide ran out, in other words, was all used up. It wasn’t until two years ago that I finally put all the pieces together in my own analysis of the climate issue, of CO2, of life on earth and going back to the fact that carbon dioxide is the primary food for all of life, along with water. Water and carbon dioxide are put together in photosynthesis into sugars, which are the basis for the energy for all life on earth, including our own. So you have to start with this basis factor.
But when you look at our knowledge of the history of the level or concentration of carbon dioxide in the global atmosphere for the last 500 million years, we don’t have really good numbers before that but we have pretty good numbers from proxies, from marine sediments for the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere, going back half a billion years. What you see from now is a gradual, not perfectly even, but a gradual decline in carbon dioxide from at least 5 000 parts for million, in other words 0.5 % or half a percent, back in those days 500 million years ago, to the lowest level ever in history during the last glaciation, 20 000 years ago, CO2 bottomed up at 180 parts for million, which is only 30 parts per million above the death of most plants.
Plants not only need carbon dioxide to survive, they need a certain level of it, in the same way that we need oxygen to survive. But 5% oxygen in the atmosphere would not be sufficient for us to survive. We need it at the level it’s at, which is around 20% in order to survive. Plants are the same, and CO2 has been getting closer and closer to the level where plants would die as we’ve come in to this Pleistocene Ice Age with glaciation after glaciation after glaciation, 22 of them at least over the 2.5 million year period of the Pleistocene Ice Age. But it is obvious that if we have not intervened by putting some of the CO2 back into the atmosphere, that was taken out of it by plants to make fossil fuels, by green organisms to make fossil fuels, and by the shells of marine organisms to make calcium carbonate… Calcium carbonate is far more abundant in the earth crust than the fossil fuels, thousands of times more abundant, all of the carbon in calcium carbonate, came for carbon dioxide dissolved in the sea. That carbon is now locked away in stones, which are called carbonaceous rocks, which include limestone, marble and chalk, the white cliffs of Dover for example in England are made of chalk from ancient marine plankton.
Marble, chalk and limestone, probably the most abundant form of calcium carbonate, but also dolomite which the mountains of Switzerland known as the Dolomites, are made from. All of these carbonaceous rocks are of life origin. They were produced from the shells down to the tiny coccolithophores, which are a plant plankton in the sea, the basis for the food chain in the sea, in fact. All away up to the big shells of the coral reefs which are made of calcium carbonate. Those end up being in sediments, and there are 100 million billion tons of carbonaceous rocks in the earth crust on the sea bottom and on the land which has risen up from the sea, that were originally carbon dioxide dissolved in the water. That is why CO2 has constantly declined through the millennium, to where it has, just before we began burning fossil fuels, a blink in nature’s time, it had come to a level that threatened the existence of life itself.
There’s a number of ironies in the story. Because, when marine organisms learned to build armor pleating for themselves out of calcium carbonate, the shell of a clam, the shell of a crab and a shrimp, the coral reef itself to protect the tiny soft organisms that are inside them from predators, these shells were to protect themselves, to protect life, but in fact the unexpected consequence of protecting themselves has robed the atmosphere and the sea of carbon dioxide to such an extent, that if this had continued without the intervention of human beings using fossil fuels and limestone to make cement, which is 5% of human CO2 emissions, if we had not done those things, CO2 would continue to decline until life began to die and eventually did die, because of lack of carbon dioxide as the basic food for all carbon-based life, so this is my hypothesis. May people find it far-fetched, but they will eventually see that it’s true, because it is true. We are the only species that could possibly have drilled into the earth to take the oil, the coal and the gas and burn it for energy. That’s replacing a balance to the carbon cycle on a global level.
We have inadvertently saved the earth from the death of life. We are life’s salvation, not its destroyer, in the final analysis. And I know that this will be seen as incredulous but if you make a study of it, if you read my papers, if you look at my presentation to the Global Warming Policy Foundation, which is on YouTube, you will see that my argument is correct. No one has actually challenged it in fact. All they do is attack the individual because they can’t attack the fact that CO2 has been declining to a point where it would threaten the survival of life on earth. It might a million or 2 millions years from now that this happens but that is nothing compared to the 3.5 billion year history of life on earth. Two million years is a blink in nature’s eye. This is what was about to happen if everything had stayed the same. But humans came along, started using fossil fuels for energy and making cement with limestone putting CO2 back into the atmosphere, that’s restoring a balance to the global carbon cycle. That is my argument, and I’m sticking with it because I know I am correct.
Grégoire Canlorbe: In the words of economic historian E.A. Wrigley, the Industrial Revolution, by basing growth on fossil fuels, has allowed the emergence of a “world that no longer follows the rhythm of the sun and the seasons; a world in which the fortunes of men depend largely upon how he himself regulates the economy and not upon the vagaries of weather and harvest; a world in which poverty has become an optional state rather than a reflection of the necessary limitations of human productive powers.” This is what economist Deepak Lal, specialized in the comparative study of civilizations, has called “Promethean growth,” as opposed to mere “Smithian growth,” which consists of increasing the extent of the division of labor.
Would you go so far as to contend the horizon of ecologism is precisely to return to a traditional growth, therefore Smithian, based on the division of labor and associated with an economy of organic type (an agrarian economy), limited by the area of cultivated land and supported by birth control?
Patrick Moore: Very good questions. Well, one of the, I think, contradictions of the environmental green movement is that they’re using all these modern techniques of internet and social media, and just modern society, they’re using the energy that has been produced from the fossil fuels every day of their lives, whether it’s to manufacture the bicycle they’re riding on or to run the television they’re looking at. They’re using all these fruits of modern civilization, while at the same time condemning modern civilization. So I don’t get that. I mean, it doesn’t make any sense to me at all, and one way I’ve put it is that perhaps hypocrisy should be a civil crime. Then if it can be shown that you are frequently practicing against what you’re preaching, you might be convicted of something and totally you must not be allowed to do that any more.
For example, if you come to a fuel station to fill your car, maybe you should have to answer a question first: “Do you support the refineries, and pipelines and oil fields that are bringing this fuel to this gas station with pipes and trucks and everything?” If you say, “No, I’m against the pipeline, I’m against the drilling,” then you should be turned away and maybe even confiscate your vehicle, give it to someone who wants it to have gasoline in it. To me, this is a profoundly dishonest situation that we have with a movement claiming to be virtuous at the same time, as being more hypocritical that one could ever imagine in practice in the way they live their lives. You know the IPCC, Paris Conference, where was it held? Next to the largest private airport in the world, so that all the people and their jets could come in to this conference. How could this be justified? Why would people listen to somebody who says, “You have to stop using oil!” and then they’re flying their private jet to a conference which is against using oil. That seems to me pretty obvious.
Going back to Malthusian thinking, Malthus of course predicted mass starvation would occur centuries ago, because he said food production is linear whereas population growth is exponential. Well, the truth of the matter is, that has been reversed now. Population growth is no longer exponential; it is actually tapering off in terms of an exponential curve. Whereas food production has become exponential in its ability to feed the entire world population, and we can see now that with our knowledge of genetics and perhaps a bit of warming, and with a lot more CO2 in the atmosphere, that agriculture will be able to feed ten billion people without any difficulty.
The real problem is dictatorships, civil wars, distribution, that’s a problem. Wherever there is poverty of this kind today like starvation, it’s almost always because of social factors, not because of the inability of agriculture to feed the world. So I think the environmental movement has a very backward understanding of how civilization is evolving and we are to level off our population. When you ask most people how can we stop population from continuing to grow forever, the most common answer you get is “educate women.” How can you educate women who are stooping in a field with six little children helping her to pick the vegetables by hand? They’re not able to be educated, they have to work in subsistence agriculture.
In subsistence farming 70 to 80% of the entire population are engaged in growing food. We still have this in Malawi, for example, in Africa and other African countries where more than 50% of the population are in agriculture growing food. When you mechanize agriculture, it goes down to less than 5% of the people needed to grow the food for everyone else. Now, a huge number of people are free to pursue other occupations, such as manufacturing goods and providing services. You can not have a modern technological society with subsistence agriculture, it’s impossible, because there is simply not enough people to do that, they’re all growing food and living in terrible conditions in the countryside, having women mainly being barefoot and pregnant most of their lives. Because on a subsistence farm, children are an asset for labor.
When agriculture is mechanized, like it is in France, in Canada and many countries, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, people become free to go to cities to get educated, women become emancipated, don’t have to have so many children, because children are a liability in a urban modern society. They cost money, they don’t make money for you like they do in subsistence farming, where you take then out of school at age 8 and put them in the field, or even younger. No one can get educated in a system like that but in a city you can.
Stewart Brand, who is perhaps a few years older than I am, lives in San Francisco, found in the Whole Earth Catalogue back when I was young and he was too, he became a very famous figure for environment and ecology and back-to-the-land. One of things that impressed me most is that he’s a human ecologist, an urban ecologist, whereas I am more of a country ecologist focusing on the food, energy and materials side of the equation that we need to survive everyday. Stewart said to me, “Many people come to me and look at the urban slums in Brazil or in Indonesia, and they say: look at the terrible life these people must have now that they’ve moved into these horrible urban slums.” And Stewart says his answer to those people is, “You should see where they came from,” they came from abject poverty and subsistence agriculture in a field somewhere, in the mountains, or the flat lands, in a country with no medical attention, no centralized electricity just living a terrible unhealthy life and dying young. That’s what subsistence agriculture is like.
When agriculture is mechanized, everything changes. That’s what is happening in China today, that’s why 300 million people are moving away from the country into cities in China. They will have a better life there, they will have electricity there, although in China even people in the rural areas have electricity because they are very well organized in that regard, unlike India where there is still nearly 300 million people who do not have regular electricity. China has done a much better job of that than the Indians. But the factor that matters is that it is the way society is evolving today.
I was reading Richard Lindzen saying this morning, that the temperature has risen by a 1°C approximately in a last 150 years. During that time, every single measure of human welfare has improved, including environmental quality, especially in the wealthy countries, where we can afford to build the technology to clean the air in the smokestacks from the coal plants, and in our exhaust from our cars. These days what comes out of the exhaust of a car is almost all water and carbon dioxide, both of which are essential to life. So what I like to say, most people gasp at this, the fact is fossil fuel, coal, petroleum, natural gas are 100% organic, as in the scientific meaning of organic. Organic chemistry is the chemistry of carbon, in other words, the chemistry of life and all the fossil fuels are made from life, so they’re 100% organic. They were made 100% with solar energy. That was the only energy input.
Along with the carbon dioxide and the water and photosynthesis, and the many other minerals that are necessary to create the body of the planet to put the chlorophyll in the sunlight, to take the water and carbon dioxide and make sugar, forming the basis of all the energy for life on earth. That is the fact: CO2 is not a pollutant. That’s the very basis of this problem, it’s the perception of carbon dioxide as pollution, as dangerous for the future, when in fact it is the basis of life. And that is why the most important thing that can happen now, on the global basis in terms of the evolution of the movement to stop this hysteria about climate change and CO2, would be for the United States to overturn the endangerment finding of the Environmental Protection Agency which calls CO2 officially a “pollution,” when in fact it is fertilizer for plants. This is what has to be understood.
I don’t pretend to predict the future of human civilization. I mean, there have been catastrophes through history, there have been wars, there have been disease, pestilence and many, many awful things that happened in the history of human civilization. Climate change will not be one of those, but others could occur in some of other areas. As a matter of fact, most people don’t realize that more than ten times as many people die from cold in this world as die from heat. More than ten times. Does not just that one fact make you think that maybe it should be a little warmer? And then less people would die from the cold. I mean, it’s so obvious, then, to see if ten times as many people are dying from cold as heat.
Most people don’t even understand that humans are a tropical species. We evolved at the Equator, in a hot climate, that’s where we came from, that’s what we’re adapted to. That’s why we warm our houses in France and Canada. Because it is too cold outside for us, we would die there. It’s only because of fire, clothing and housing, shelter, that humans can live outside the tropics. Otherwise humans could not live outside the tropics, they would have to stay where it never freezes. As a matter of fact, how many people know that at 18°C, you would die of hypothermia, if you were naked in the shade? Most people think 18 is a relatively confortable temperature because they are wearing clothes inside their house and in the sun, if you’re in the sun it would be different. But if you’re in the shade at 18°C with no clothes on, you would die of hypothermia.
That’s how much we need the warmth. We’re not a cold resisting species; we don’t have big fat and hair covering our whole bodies to insulate us from the cold like a bear does, or a seal. If only people would stop exaggerating this idea that the earth is getting too warm, it is colder now than has been in almost the whole history of life on this earth. There was no ice on the North Pole and the Antarctic millions of years ago. There was no ice. This is the first ice age in 250 million years, that we’re in now. There was another ice age 250 million years ago but in between then and now, the earth has been warm. Much warmer than it is today. Every single species that is alive on earth today, their ancestors lived through that warmer time. So when they say, “Oh yes, but our species has never been in this warm period, that was other species,” they were our ancestors, they lived through it.
So the longer life exists on earth, and the more things change, the more resilient life becomes. Today life is more resilient than it has been in the whole history of life, because we are the ones who survived and most people don’t even stop to think that their own existence, and the existence of every other single creature on earth represents a successful continuous reproduction from the beginning of life. Otherwise, it would have cut the chain. If your mother didn’t have children, you wouldn’t be here, and then you wouldn’t have children, and then they wouldn’t. Because it would be gone, that chain would be gone. So, through each line, each one of us has a solid line back to the beginning of life, it never got cut, all through evolution. 3.5 billion years.
Think about it. Most people never even imagine such a thing. I don’t know where they think we came from, we didn’t just materialize from nothing, we came from a line of reproductions through history, for millions, hundreds of millions and billions of years and here we are, so life is a secular miracle, it is my interpretation. I don’t mean a miracle like magic. I mean a miracle like something that possibly has not happened anywhere else in the Universe. To me there are only two possibilities: either there are millions of other planets with life on them, or we’re the only one. Because there wouldn’t be just two, or four, or a hundred, because there are so many planets and so many stars…
So either this is a unique situation that has occurred on the Earth, or there are millions of other planets with life and I would be willing to believe in neither, to tell you the truth. Because we don’t know that there are millions of planets with life. We have no education of it, we are a fairly young star, a young solar system here in this galaxy, and if there were other planets with life in this galaxy, you’d think they would have happened earlier than we did, maybe a billion year before. So why aren’t they talking to us? Why aren’t showing themselves? Where are the UFOs? I don’t see any. I think it’s equally probable that we are the only planet with life.
Grégoire Canlorbe: Genocide, the only hygiene for the world, did not appear with the beautiful ideas that kill. Since the ancestral beginnings of human life, tribes and nations have been serving the murderous madness of their respective worldviews; but the genocide began well before the beginning of the bloodbaths of human life. Mother Nature is the mother of the genocide: she has perpetrated about 142 mass extinctions in the 3.85 billion years after the appearance of bacteria. Should it not bring us to envision the human being as the only creature endeavoring to “moralize” the evolutionary processes?
Patrick Moore: No, no, I don’t agree with the parallel between mass extinction on the part of humans and that on the part of nature. Mother Nature is not a person. 142 mass extinctions? No, some of those were not mass, some of them were really small. There has only been a few mass extinctions like five in fact. Another one happened when the Europeans went to the islands in Pacific, Hawaii, New Zealand, Australia. But this was not genocide. Genocide is the murder of your own species.
I thought a lot about genocide through the years and it is a dangerous subject because so many people are very emotional about the religious and the biological aspects, evolutionary aspects. Because when you look at the face of it, the human species is really the only one who practices genocide, in other words, the mass murder of its own kind, you don’t see it in tigers, you don’t see it in plants, you don’t see in fish. You do see predation throughout the animal kingdom, of course, but usually this is one species eating another species and certainly it’s not mass extermination. I am of the opinion that genocide is unique to the human species and that it is related to technology and the growth of the human brain.
So when people ask me, “Where is the missing link between the chimpanzee and the human?”, my reply: “We killed them in their sleep, or perhaps when they were awake and unarmed.” Whatever the reason, it seems to me that a kind of leapfrogging of human intelligence developing, and weapons manufacture. I think, for example, the club to hit people on their head came before the hammer to put a nail in a piece of wood. I’m interested to speak to people about this, although it is a very dark subject. I don’t know if I’m near correct in my analysis that, when the Homo sapiens displaced the Neanderthal, was it too a genocide or interbreeding? It seems now maybe there was a bit of both. But that is true of modern situations as well.
For example, when the Spanish conquered what is Latin America today, there was genocide. But today the population of Mexico is around 80% mixed between Native Mexicans and Spanish people. So I think it’s natural for people to interbreed with other cultures and other races, we see it all over the world. But for some reason, it is also natural to slaughter other races or other cultures in mass and what we see in Myanmar today with Bangladesh on one side and China on the other, it is a sad example of this kind of human behavior and it happened in many places through History. The terrible disaster in Africa with the Tutsis and the Hutus. So it is a very sad subject and one that you don’t want to, you know…
People get angry when you talk about it but I know it is pretty much unique to people. I don’t think anyone can point to another species which engages in the systematic mass murder of its own species. Therefore I come to think that it has to do with weapons and it has to do with intelligence. Maybe this is where the concept of original sin actually comes in, we appear to be born with a potential to engage in this form of mass hysteria, which is to murder a lot of people that are perceived to be on the other side or alien. People of the same color murder each other, people with the same evolutionary background murder each other in genocide. If you think of the Holocaust, the people who were being murdered had basically many of the same roots ethnically, i.e., Caucasian people, as the people who were murdering them.
So it is a very pernicious aspect of human evolution and hopefully it is one that seeing the world as all one world can eventually eliminate. But you can’t do it with laws, you can only with change of behavior, change of attitude, a collective change of attitude that has to be universal. It must be universally adopted that genocide is abhorrent and that you will not participate in it, everybody has to believe that, and maybe we’re getting there, I don’t know. The recent examples, a couple of them have been kind of proof that we’re not getting there. So let’s hope for the future.
You ask whether we should envision the human being as the only animal endeavoring to “moralize the evolutionary processes.” Well it is not as if other creatures don’t exhibit love, for example. And it is not as if other creatures don’t exhibit altruism, helping each other. So it is not an entirely human trait to have values of some kind. But yes, we do overemphasize that and in many ways for the good. But very often, for example, you have this virtue signaling that is happening today where people use morality as a way of propping themselves up as if they were better than the rest. That kind of morality is not particularly desirable. Morality is a two-edged sword, in many ways.
You know, some philanthropists are only doing it in order to appear to be more caring. It’s not easy to separate this out as to who is actually caring, and who is doing it out of self-interest. While I appreciate people who actually give something of their life for the betterment of others, this is a noble thing, there are other aspects of morality that are not so noble. If you look at the climate debate, coming back to that for a moment, the people who are the true believers in this debate, place themselves above we, lower mortals, we deniers. That is a false pretense. They make it appear that they know more than those of us who do not accept their dogma.
Maybe getting in to the philosophy of science a little bit, I know that wasn’t the main thrust of this question, the philosophy is actually being violated by the people who claim the climate catastrophe and who will not listen to anybody else in the discussion, they came to this like it was a lifeboat. It is not becoming of scientists to hide behind dogma and ideology. The whole purpose of science is to question, always to question, especially when you have an important subject, that is very controversial and very important for the future of civilization, our economy, our society, depends on energy and these are big issues, that we’re debating. And for someone who calls himself a scientist to use name-calling and derision, as if it’s an argument, and to make himself appear all virtuous because he holds a particular opinion about a very complicated subject, is totally anti-science. And you come then to this claim that there is a 97% consensus among climate scientists that humans are causing dangerous climate change.
For a start, that’s a lie, because there is no controversial subject that would ever have a 97% support. The very definition of a controversial subject is one where people are divided, not like almost unanimous; otherwise there would be no question. The fact that so many people are questioning this so-called “truth” of a dangerous climate change, it is in itself indicative that there is no consensus. But then coming back to the really important point: consensus is not a scientific term, it is a political and social term and they have no business using the word “consensus” around science. Because virtually every important discovery in science has been by individuals, go back to Socrates, Copernicus, Galileo, Newton, Mendel, Darwin, Einstein, just to name a few, perhaps the most important ones. These were individuals who actually went against the consensus to the point where they were persecuted, even murdered in the case of Socrates. Well, he was forced to commit suicide or disavow his own beliefs. Galileo was forced to disavow his own belief or he would have been murdered. Instead, they put him in house arrest, even when he did disavow his own beliefs.
In my experience, it’s always the people who are on the forefront, breaking ground that are the ones who are vilified and criticized. This 97% consensus is coming from people who are so smug and so self-certain of their own righteousness that it has nothing to do with science, it is a pretentious and falsely virtuous movement which dismisses all other aspects of the discussion, as if they are some kind of gods, when in fact the “emperor has no clothes” is the correct expression for this situation. That’s why Donald Trump is a breath of fresh air on this issue. I’m not a politician and I don’t have opinions on all the economic and social issues but I have a very strong opinion on the climate issue and it’s very strongly in favor of the direction that President Donald Trump is taking the United States, and hopefully the world to throw out this ridiculous doom and gloom scenario around carbon dioxide, the most important food for all for life.
The fall of Troy, by Francisco Collantes (1634)
Grégoire Canlorbe: In my humble opinion, the preservation of natural species, a fortiori the protection of endangered species—whether their disappearance is linked to the action of the human being or the cruelty of Mother Nature in person—is a goal we must seek for the same reason that cosmopolitanism (mondialism) must be fought: living creatures, including those social organisms that are human nations and ethnicities, must survive and flourish in the richness of their respective natures; the flowering and diversity of life must be recognized, preserved, sanctified. Do you agree with the above?
Patrick Moore: I think you are referring to what is commonly called “globalism.” Which is the idea that there should be no borders and that people should be free to move wherever they wish on the earth and to live there. This is expressed today in the United States in the “Sanctuary cities” movement; even the Sanctuary State, California had declared itself a “Sanctuary State.” Which is interesting because it is kind of the opposite of the use of the word “sanctuary” from past times, when sanctuary meant a place where you could be private, and not be disturbed from the outside, whereas now the idea of a sanctuary is as if the city is a church, where anybody can come and escape from the law or from their plight or their trouble, they can come there.
I hardly think that such an evolution will occur in this world. Even in nature, birds and animals have territories and they have tribes, and they have families and they defend these territories. The North American native people who were there for 10 000 or more years before Europeans arrived, for example, they lived with territories. People have this romantic vision that it was all a common property. That is not true. The Native people in North America had nations and they had orders and they fought, and they would kill you if you came on their territory to take things from your territory. It is obviously deeply engrained in human psychology and society to have territory, in other words a city-state and now the nation state.
There is a vision that we should move beyond that, to one world government. How do you have, just for openers, one world government that is democratic in nature? It is simply impossible, there is no way you could ever get an agreement of any kind. To make that leap from the Nation State system of 250+ sovereign countries to the idea that this could just be all one big melting pot anybody can go wherever they want and… I don’t know who makes the laws, should the United Nations make the laws? In a microcosm, the European Union reflects this idea to some extent in that the EU made it so that it was possible to move around wherever you want, if you were member of the EU.
But if you look at the Brexit example, and it is in a way understandable that Britain would be the first country to not want Europe to be telling them what to do, I mean, it is an island that has shaped its character all through the History of Europe for the other countries are all connected to each other as they always have been. But I do not believe it is even remotely possible to have a global government and I think it is actually not remotely desirable. I mean, I don’t like my own government in this point in time, I am Canadian and I think the Canadian government is not doing a very good job, but all government have their problems, you’re never going to have a perfect government.
Right now, [in December 2017] Germany is having one of the most difficult times in modern History with trying to form government, they can’t even form a government, I don’t know what the latest is there, but it is a very difficult time at a national level, and part of the reason for that is because they allowed people to just freely come in to the country by the millions, who were in no way assimilated to the German way of life and will change it fundamentally, in ways people won’t enjoy. But I am not a political philosopher, I’d be the first to admit that, but on a face of it, I think the idea that there could be one world government is not only utopian but it is a false utopia that would not be a good thing for the history of civilization.
If countries want to cooperate with each other through treaties that is fine, and many countries are very closely aligned. The United States and Canada being an example of two countries that even though Canadian has this undeserved superiority complex with regard to United States, the two countries get along pretty well. The border is not open to anybody but it is open as borders can be, the only people that aren’t allowed to come through are people with criminal records etc. I don’t get it that in the Europe, and in the United States today there is this large number of people who do not differentiate legal and illegal immigration, they just call them “immigrants,” whether they came there with permission or not and the idea that you should not have to ask permission to cross a national boundary is beyond me.
I think it would be total chaos if the world went in that direction and indeed it has proved to be total chaos in Europe. I don’t think it has anything to do with race, it just has to do with complete dislocation and change in the shorter time period. I mean, everybody is an immigrant at one time or an other. The human species immigrated into Europe tens of thousands of years ago but it didn’t happen overnight. We can’t expect some kind of global government to just fall out of the air overnight, it’s not going to happen, and if it is indeed our goal to have one government, we have to expect that it would take 5 000 years for it to come about, I would think, rather than something that could happen overnight.