An Oil & Gas 360® exclusive interview with a founding member of Greenpeace International
Oil & Gas 360® spoke with Dr. Patrick Moore, cofounder of Greenpeace International about the organization’s purpose in its early days. Initially, the group was formed to stop nuclear bomb testing and to save whales, but the organization went off the rails, according to Moore, who left the organization when it tried to ban chlorine worldwide.
Moore said the organization achieved its initial goals, but became more radical afterwards. “Once you get the job done, you don’t have to keep beating your head against the wall,” said Moore. “When you succeed, all of a sudden it’s a whole new world and you [must] change your approach to the new reality of the fact that you’ve won.”
Climate change runs on fear and fundraising, says Moore. “There’s lots of money in climate change, but it’s all because people are pushing the line that it’s so terribly dangerous that we have to spend all this money in order to find out more about it.” Dr. Moore explains his point of view in the second part of this Oil & Gas 360® exclusive interview.
Dr. Patrick Moore: You’ve got a completely dysfunctional framework here that evolved out of this completely dysfunctional self-interested clique of elites who are pushing the idea that human CO2 emissions are going to cause dangerous or catastrophic climate change. When there is, in fact, no evidence in the real world that that is happening.
What we do know is that the Little Ice Age ended around 1700, and there has been about 300 fits and starts to the warming of the global climate since then, but there has been no acceleration in the rate of warming over those 300 years.
[If you graph it,] it’s not a flat line, but it is a pretty straight line, and actually, it’s about time that it turned around and went the other way, according to the cycles that have been occurring over the last thousands of years. According to the cycles that have been happening over the last 800,000 years that we know about from ice cores in the Antarctic, which show that there are 100,000 year glaciation cycles, perfectly correlated with the Milankovitch Cycles, or the cycles or Earth’s rotations, that you get into a deep period of the ice age and in a then thousand year period it warms back up to an interglacial period. Then there’s a 90,000 year period of gradually sliding back into the peak of another glaciation. That’s all well known, and there’s almost no argument that the Milankovitch Cycles are correlated with the glaciation cycles.
Life would die for lack of CO2
My hypothesis is, if humans hadn’t come along and started putting some of the CO2 back into the atmosphere that life had come along and sequestered into fossil fuel, then the levels of CO2 would have gradually continued to go down, as it has for the last 150 million years, and in a very short time geologically, less than 2 million years, life would begin to die for lack of CO2.
At 150 parts per million [of CO2] (ppm), plants die. During the height of the last glaciation, which was 18,000 years ago, CO2 went down to about 180 ppm, just 30 ppm above the threshold for plant death. If you draw that line into the future, life starts dying as CO2 starts to bottom out around 150 [ppm].
That’s quite a different picture than we’re all going to die from too much CO2.
OAG360: So, in your hypothesis, the emission of CO2 is actually beneficial?
It appears that nearly half of all the CO2 that we’re putting into the atmosphere each year is ending up in increased local biomass. The alarmists say that the other half of that is being absorbed by the sea. There is no evidence of that. It is theoretically implausible because the seas have warmed slightly during this 300 warming period and warm water causes gas to come out, not go in.
They’re saying, ‘well 50% of that CO2 is going somewhere else. Well let’s say that 25% is going into biomass and 25% is going into the ocean.’
It’s more likely that nearly 100% of that missing field too is going into vegetation. There’s hard observational evidence now that trees are growing faster all over the world. It’s called the greening of the earth. It’s well known to a large group of people in science that this is happening, but the ones that want to continue along the alarmist line don’t want to talk about it, and everyone else is pretty much shut out of the media.
The idea that more CO2 in the atmosphere is going to mean more CO2 in the ocean is totally contradictory. A warming ocean gives off gas. Think, for example, when you take a glass of cold water out of the fridge and put it on a table. As it warms up, all these little bubbles form on the inside of the glass. That’s outgassing.
The place where gas enters the sea most prolifically is at the poles, where the water is coldest and sinking. The reason there is so much carbon dioxide in the ocean is because it’s descending into the deep at the poles, and then they well up in the tropical regions of the world as they outgas. The whole ocean acidification thing is based on a completely false premise, just completely false.
It’s true that if the temperature didn’t get warmer, if it stayed the same, and more CO2 went into the atmosphere then there might be more CO2 in the ocean, but even then, the ocean has such an amazing capacity for buffering acidity with the salts that are in it, that it’s impossible to imagine a scenario in which the sea would become poisonous to shellfish and coral reefs.
CO2 is 400 ppm now, it was down to 180 during the glaciation, but it has been at 2,000, 4,000, 7,000, and probably back earlier in life, when there was only marine life, it’s possible that CO2 was up in the neighborhood of 50,000 ppm then.
This is what we’re going to have to try and teach people: life has removed nearly all of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere and turned it into carbonation rocks. Those are limestone, chalk, marble and dolomite. There are one hundred-million-billion tons of carbonaceous rocks, all of which are made of carbon that came from the atmosphere through calcification.
Many forms of marine life learn to make armor-plating for themselves by combining carbon dioxide and calcium into calcium carbonate, which is limestone. The coral reef is made of calcium carbonate, and many plankton species, of which there are quadrillions, have a little calcium carbonate shell around them.
All of those have formed sediments, and that’s where the oil and gas is in the shale deposits. Those shale deposits are largely calcium carbonate deposits from the shells of ancient marine animals. The calcium carbonate portion of the animal, the shell, forms the shale, while the organic part of the animal forms the hydrocarbon.
All life is carbon-based. Carbon dioxide is the most important food for life and carbon dioxide has fallen to levels where plants were in total starvation mode. This is all well documented, but people have forgotten that science is supposed to be based on the observation of things that happen in the real world.
The problem of computer modeling
Climate science is totally about prediction, and almost entirely based on computer models, and the output of computer models is only the observation of a computer model. It is not the observation of the real world.
One way to put it is: yes, CO2 is a greenhouse gas, by that definition of what that is. Therefore, all else being equal, it could be expected to cause some warming of the atmosphere. But there are two important things that come after that:
First, all else is not equal. Ever. Other things are happening and feedbacks occur. The next question is then, if all else was equal, what would be the effect of carbon dioxide? That comes to the issue of sensitivity.
Sensitivity is the other big thing to think about besides the fact that not everything is equal. If CO2 causes warming, which causes increased water in the atmosphere, which one would expect because warm air holds more water vapor than cold air, we would start to see more gaseous water, or water vapor, which is a greenhouse gas, but you would also see more liquid water and ice. No one could ever predict that in a trillion years and computer model and many people believe the water vapor will have a negative feedback on CO2, rather than, as all the climate modelers are assuming, a strong positive feedback.
That’s how they come up with this six degree increase in temperature by 2100. They assume that CO2 will have a strong feedback on the effect of CO2 alone. Then there’s the sensitivity issue, which is: how much of an increase in temperature would you expect from a certain rise in CO2? There is no historical information to give us that answer. It’s all hypothetical and theoretical.