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Nuclear power pundit Patrick Moore in SA February 20, 2008

Posted by Andreas in Climate change, Environment, Nuclear Power, renewable energy, South Africa.

You may have heard that Patrick Moore, a co-founder of Greenpeace and reborn supporter of atomic energy, will be visiting South Africa in March. You may even have received an invitation looking something like this:



3 MARCH – 7th MARCH 2008.

At the invitation of the Nuclear Industry Association of South Africa (NIASA) in association with the Universities of Witwatersrand, Pretoria, North-West, Western Cape and Stellenbosch as well as the MTN Science Centre in Cape Town, Dr. Patrick Moore, world-renowned ecologist, environmentalist and co-founder of Greenpeace, will tour South Africa during the week of 3-7 March 2008 to present a series of insightful public lectures on Global Warming and the Search for Sustainable, Clean Energy.”

Dr Moore, once an ardent opponent and activist against nuclear energy will discuss the impact of global warming and present his views on the challenges and the respective roles that nuclear power, renewable sources and energy efficiency can play in producing a cleaner electricity supply and ensuring a sustainable energy future.

Dr Moore now spends much of his time with his team from Greenspirit Strategies Ltd. advising industry, environmental and social agencies and governments around the world, about sustainable and environmentally safe, alternative energy supplies – refer to the attached biography.

The schedule of public meetings is as follows:

Monday 3 March: 18:00

Great Hall, University of Witwatersrand

Tuesday 4 March: 15:00

Sanlam Auditorium, North-West University, Potchefstroom Campus

Wednesday 5 March: 14:00

Aula, University of Pretoria

Thursday 6 March: 17:00

Main Auditorium, University of the Western Cape, Belville

Thursday 6 March: 19:30

Auditorium, MTN Science Centre, Century City, Cape Town

Friday 7 March: 13:00

University of Stellenbosch, Jannasch Hall, Conservatoire of Music, Victoria street, Stellenbosch

The public meetings are free and open to the public.

That all looks very interesting, doesn’t it. Unfortunately it only tells part of Patrick Moore’s story. I’ve written about him (here and here) previously. Here are the relevant bits:

I recently came across two really good articles (here and here) about how the nuclear power industry in the United States is conducting a massive public relations campaign to make atomic energy palatable.

The industry spends millions of dollars on “media outreach”, lobbying federal officials and in helping to establish and fund pro-nuclear groups such as the Vermont Energy Partnership, the New York Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance, the Massachusetts Affordable Reliable Electricity Alliance and the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition.

The Clean and Safe Energy Coalition employs Patrick Moore as one of its co-chairs. As a co-founder of Greenpeace (he left the organisation in 1986), Moore is frequently quoted in the press and by pro-nuclear pundits as an environmentalist who has come to his senses and now supports nuclear energy as a green solution to global warming. The fact that his salary is paid by the atomic energy industry is less commonly mentioned.

Having been in the doldrums for decades after the nuclear accidents at Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, the atomic energy industry in the USA, in a now rather familiar strategy, has been spending millions of dollars on political lobbying, establishing pro-nuclear organisations and “media outreach”. In 2006, the Nuclear Energy Institute, representing the US atomic energy industry, launched the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition, which is co-chaired by Patrick Moore, one of the founders of Greenpeace.

Moore, who left Greenpeace in 1986 to start a consulting firm that has worked for the logging, mining, biotech and nuclear industries, is frequently quoted in the media as an environmentalist and former Greenpeace activist who has come to the conclusion that atomic power is our only solution. The media also very commonly forget to mention that Moore now happens to be employed by the atomic power industry.

In a pro-nuclear article in this year’s January to June [2007] issue of the South African glossy magazine Greenprint, for example, Moore is quoted as a co-founder of Greenpeace, while his financial attachment to the industry he promotes is not mentioned.

So yes, Patrick Moore was indeed a founder member of Greenpeace, but let’s not forget how he’s been making his money since leaving that organisation.



1. Audrey - February 20, 2008

It hurts when heros fall.

You probably heard that Planktos’ ocean iron-sprinkling carbon-offsets scheme has been derailed by what they call “A highly effective disinformation campaign waged by anti-offset crusaders”. They’ve had to call it off, lack of funds. While this at least is good news, it’s interesting that the founder, president and CEO of Planktos, “get rich by saving the planet” George Russ, was once a Greenpeace volunteer.

Greenpeace is currently supporting the notion of “sustainable” industrial logging of primary and old growth forests, in partnership with The Forest Stewardship Council which is notoriously riddled with corruption and other certification issues. The fact is that primary forests just can’t be logged at all without damage and must be left alone completely. Why Greenpeace would support this naive “sustainable” primary forest logging thing at all is mysterious, and why they’d want to be associated with the FSC is even more so.

I’d go along to Moore’s talk but will be in CT when he’s in JHB and in JHB when he’s in CT. Argh. You’ll go won’t you Andreas? To ask the billion buck questions? This “media outreach” is churning out pro-nuclear converts at a steady rate of knots – find them at a dinner table near you, trotting out the message obediently. Very alarming indeed.

2. Andreas - February 20, 2008

I know what you mean. Best not to have heros in the first place then. We’re all just fallible humans after all.

Good news about the ocean seeding project, but very disturbing stuff re Greenpeace…

I’ll try to make it to one of the CT talks, for sure.

3. Duncan Drennan - February 21, 2008

Andreas, I’m thinking of going to one of the CT talks – which one are you planning on attending?

4. Andreas - February 21, 2008

Duncan, I’m not sure yet… have got fairly complicated time constraints on that Thursday (looking after the kids in the afternoon and leaving for the Drakensberg early the next day), so I’ll probably only be able to decide on the day…


5. Duncan Drennan - February 22, 2008

Drop me a line on the day, and let me know.

6. david lewis - February 23, 2008

Went to the Eskom “Presentation” at the Vineyard Hotel. Turns out, it was an opportunity for a bunch of spin-doctors to corner anyone with a “question”. So there I was surrounded by three industry types when I ask the question. “What is Eskom doing to eliminate the emissions from Koeberg, and will a new plant increase the level of risk, etc?”

Nobody had an answer. A woman writes my question down on a piece of paper and tell’s me it will be addressed in the scoping report. Next thing I’m being dumped on by a woman who once worked with the A-bomb programe. Great. Now I’m probably radioactive and glowing in the dark.

7. Kano - February 26, 2008

Nuclear is awesome
I ❤ fast breeder reactors

8. kim - February 27, 2008

i am definetely going as i would love to hear what he has to say . . . especially as he is being brought out be NIASA (nuclear indsutry association of south africa) . . . . .

9. Christine Garbett - March 5, 2008

If we are apathetic about the proposed nuclear programme in SA – we will get what we deserve – a very bleak radioactive future. The only upside of nuclear power will be found in the pockets of corrupt politicians (but what’s a few million lost among the 800 billion earmarked for the big nuclear spend). Even if the nuclear industry are correct in their gamble (with our lives and our environment) that there are no accidents – we will still have to deal with even more dangerous radon gas from uranium mining – this lethal concoction of heavier than air radon gas moves at ground level on the surface of the planet. If the nuclear industry is wrong, we stand to loose (apart from our lives, our health and maybe our Mother City) more than a major chunk of our tourist industry and along with it hundreds of thousands of jobs. And then there’s the insurance question – nuclear liability insurance cover may cover the first few hundred metres beyond Koeburg after that Capetonians please take note – there is no cover. Liability cover is way too expensive for the nuclear industry to pay for anywhere in the world (that must be because it has so little risk!!!) – in most countries the government is the insurer of last resort. Even if that were the case in SA (and its not) to pay fair market value for our properties would bankrupt the state.

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