Regina / 980 CJME
February 05, 2020 02:03 pm
A scientist whom some critics have labelled a climate-change denier is speaking out after some Calgarians and Reginans called for the cancellation of his appearance at Regina’s sustainability conference in May.
Patrick Moore is scheduled to be a keynote speaker at the city’s Reimagine Conference on the morning of May 20. According to the agenda, he’s to speak about fossil fuels and their usage in the future as well as adopting alternative energy supplies.
“I am a climate crisis skeptic,” Moore said while speaking on Gormley on Wednesday morning.
“I’m not even saying that I don’t believe for sure that humans have a role in the global climate. We possibly do, but we don’t know how to tweeze it out of the other effects, mainly the sun, the oceans, the atmosphere itself, the vegetation on the Earth and all the other factors that are involved.”
A Calgary man has started an online petition calling for Moore’s removal from the conference. By midday Wednesday, it had almost 1,900 signatures.
“This is more a case of free speech. Of course it’s about the climate subject. But I think free speech is what this is all about,” Moore said.
“The idea that they would prevent someone from giving a point of view in an educated fashion in a scientific way, it strikes me as being just politically, totally unacceptable in a country like Canada where we value free speech.”
Moore, who obtained his PhD from the University of British Columbia in the 1970s, says he’s skeptical of the hysteria and the discourse around climate change that says the world is coming to an end.
“I don’t try to predict the future with any accuracy because it is impossible to do so. The Earth’s system is so complicated, chaotic, multi-dimensional, non-linear; these are all factors that are all well-known to every climate scientist,” he said.
He equated attempts to predict the Earth’s future based on computer-generated climate change models with fortune tellers using crystal balls.
“You always get the same results if you put the same assumptions into (a computer),” he said.
Moore emphasized scientists’ roles should be that of skeptics who resist and counter popular consensus, especially when it comes to how climate change may affect the world in the future.
” ‘Consensus’ is a political word, a social word,” he said. “It is not a science word. It has no place in science, because if you think back in history, most important discoveries are actually made by individual people, one person.”
He referenced Galileo, Copernicus, Darwin, Einstein and others as examples.
Moore does accept humans have impacts and effects on the environment at local levels, but he said it’s difficult to make the jump to a global, worldwide scale.
“The urban-heat island effect is an effect on urban climates making it warmer than it is in the countryside, because of all the concrete (in cities) absorbing the sun’s rays … It is a human impact on a local level,” he said.
“But there are 500 cities of over 1 million people on the Earth. So we are warming the Earth in different places. Some of us do not think it’s a global phenomenon that is just caused by carbon dioxide.”
Moore said a scientific approach of repeated observation and verification is the best approach for understanding climate change.
“If you can’t observe and verify for yourself, you depend on activists and politicians and the media to tell you what’s going on,” he said.
Regina Mayor Michael Fougere said Tuesday that the city and the organizing committee that is overseeing the conference are reviewing Moore’s invitation.
“I asked them to take a look at this and it’s up to the committee to make that decision, not me,” Fougere said when asked if Moore’s speech will be cancelled.
“I did so because I wanted to just have them reflect upon the number of people who are concerned on social media. I’m getting a number of people who have sent emails to me who want him to continue on.
“I want to make sure that the committee itself is able to stand back and deliberate without a lot of pressure on them to make that decision what they want to do. I’m not saying that I’m telling them to not have Mr. Moore be there.”
Fougere cautioned that: “We should not presuppose that we’re going to ask Mr. Moore to stand down. He may take another capacity or he may stay exactly where he is.”
The mayor said that of the people he has heard from, 327 want Moore to stay on while 93 people are opposed to his inclusion.