Saskatoon

Controversial climate change skeptic speaks at U of S tonight

Controversial Canadian scientist Patrick Moore is speaking at the U of S tonight on agriculture.

Patrick Moore parted ways with Greenpeace in the mid-1980s

Patrick Moore had several speaking engagements in Saskatchewan this week. (Patrick Moore)

A controversial Canadian scientist is speaking at the U of S tonight on agriculture. 

Patrick Moore, who calls himself "an internationally renowned ecologist and environmentalist", will deliver a free public lecture entitled "Agriculture in a Growing World." 

Moore was one of the early figures of 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 on questioning the link between carbon emissions and warming temperatures.

"People should understand that there is actually no proof that there is a direct causal relationship between the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and the temperature of the world," Moore said in an interview Thursday with CBC News.

"In the last 20 years, there has been no statistically significant warming of the planet on average, counting the whole world."

However, according to the Environmental Protection Agency in the U.S. and NASA, 2014 was the warmest year in recorded history. They say the years of 2005 to 2014 are the warmest ones since thermometer-based observations have been recorded. 

'Duty as a scientist to be skeptical'

Moore said his views are based on evidence. 

"I am a scientist and it is my duty as a scientist to be skeptical of hypotheses that have not been proven," he said.

"I agree that humans have an impact on the world's weather and climate, clearing vast areas for agriculture and huge industrial complexes. There's no doubt about that, that we have an effect on this world. But to say dangerous climate change is a different matter."

Moore also questioned how some scientists come to their conclusions.

"I disagree with the scientists who are saying that, most of whom are on taxpayer-paid grants and subsidies."

"They are interested in perpetuating this thing [climate change]," he added.

'Irresponsible' not to act on climate change

David Henry, board member of the Saskatchewan Environmental Society, disagrees strongly with Moore's views. 

"If he wants empirical evidence, people living in the Prairie provinces, we had the forest fires this summer," Henry said. "That's evidence."
Saskatchewan environmental David Henry says it is irresponsible not to act on climate change based on the consensus of 90 per cent of scientists. (CBC)

"It's been documented that 90 per cent of the scientists today, are of the consensus that climate change is caused by human activities," Henry said.

"I think it's irresponsible to not support taking actions on this issue before it gets worse."

Province paid Moore speaking fee

Moore made other presentations on agriculture and the environment this week as part of Agriculture Month 2015. 

Moore also spoke in Regina at the U of R and Miller High School earlier this week, and at a ministry management forum on Tuesday.

According to the province, his total fee, including travel, will be approximately $17,000, payable from Growing Forward 2 (GF2), a fund that includes both federal and provincial contributions. 

The province said the goal of the presentations to youth were two-fold: "improve student understanding of modern agriculture, its reliance on science and technology, and relationship with the environment; and encourage critical thinking and evaluation of information based on science."

When asked about the financial support Moore received, Henry said, "I think we need a government in Canada that views climate change as one of our highest priorities."

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