Regina paying climate crisis skeptic $10K to speak at 'sustainability' conference
U of R scientist 'dismayed' by city's decision to have Patrick Moore speak at conference
A former Greenpeace director who disputes that there's a "climate emergency" and that man-made carbon emissions are harmful has the top billing at the City of Regina's upcoming conference on future sustainability.
The Reimagine Conference 2020: Roadmap to Sustainable Cities will run May 20-21 with keynote speaker Patrick Moore kicking off the event Wednesday morning.
Moore was one of the early figures in the Greenpeace movement, serving as Canadian president for nine years and as a director of Greenpeace International for six before parting ways with the organization in the mid-1980s.
He is now criticized by environmental groups — including Greenpeace — for his views, particularly questioning the link between carbon emissions and climate change.
In March 2019, Moore was interviewed on Fox and Friends and said, "the whole climate crisis is not only fake news, it's fake science." Moore's Twitter bio says "CelebrateCO2!"
Some environmental advocates and city residents spoke out on Twitter soon after Moore's appearance was announced.
Why is <a href="https://twitter.com/CityofRegina?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CityofRegina</a> and <a href="https://twitter.com/MayorFougere?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MayorFougere</a> inviting a known climate change denier to keynote its Renewable Cities conference? Talk about bad faith. <a href="https://t.co/qHGHVEsnEb">https://t.co/qHGHVEsnEb</a>—@simon_enoch
Does the city know he’s anti-science? this is really embarrassing.—@RyanKBrook
I wonder if the <a href="https://twitter.com/CityofRegina?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@CityofRegina</a> social media team expected to come to work today and have to defend why the city booked a debunked, climate change denier for a sustainablity conference...—@nomaddadMatt
Moore undermines city's sustainability agenda: scientist
Britt Hall, a biology professor at the University of Regina, said she's "dismayed" the city picked Moore to speak at the conference.
She said it's a decision that goes against the city's stated agenda that sustainability and climate change are important issues.
"It just makes me feel like, again, the politicians in this city and Saskatchewan just don't get it," she said. "They just don't understand that climate change is an important thing to take seriously."
The city said Moore will be paid $10,000, plus expenses, to speak at the conference, double what the next-highest speaker is receiving.
Science is a fact-driven situation ... you either accept it or you don't.- Britt Hall, University of Regina biology professor
"One of the things that we're aware of is that he would probably create some interest ... and he has — you're here today," said Mike O'Donnell, a city councillor who helped pick the speakers for the event. "Two, he has an interesting background."
Guests will be required to pay $300 to attend the event, according to its website. O'Donnell said that will help the city recover the costs for the event.
Moore told CBC Saskatchewan he's not a climate change denier — "I know that the climate changes" — but said "alarmists" are trying to force a link between carbon dioxide, extreme weather events and increasing temperatures.
"I'm going to give a pretty complete presentation of the long history of climate on this Earth and then I'm going to talk about energy choices because the biggest expense of this, basically, climate emergency hoax ... is not the climate research," Moore said.
"The biggest expense is basically revamping our entire energy system with much more expensive, less efficient technology than we have at the present time."
Hall said the city should "talk the talk" and "walk the walk" if it's going to take sustainability seriously.
"I do not agree that when we are talking about science we have to give a voice to those that don't accept the science," she said. "Science is a fact-driven situation ... you either accept it or you don't. And if you are a scientist there is a very very, very good chance you will accept the data showing that humans cause climate change."
With files from Alex Soloducha and Bryan Eneas.
- A previous version of this story stated a "former Greenpeace employee who has spoken out in opposition to environmental science." It has been clarified to read, " a former Greenpeace director who disputes that there's a 'climate emergency' and that man-made carbon emissions are harmful."Feb 03, 2020 12:34 PM CT