Thursday, January 5th 2012, 10:54 AM EST
RIDGETOWN - Southwestern Ontario's flourishing wind energy industry came under fire Wednesday from the co-founder of Greenpeace.
Dr. Patrick Moore told more than 1,000 area farmers the industry destroys more jobs than it creates, and causes energy prices to climb for all users.
“The industry is a destroyer of wealth and negative to the economy,'' said Moore, speaking at the 19th annual Southwest Agricultural Conference at Ridgetown campus of the University of Guelph.
Moore, who now refers to himself as the “sensible environmentalist,'' said the solar bubble has burst and thinks the wind bubble is about to burst.
“I'm happy for the farmers who are receiving royalties for allowing the wind towers to be built on their farms,'' he said. “They deserve it — but the cost to consumers will continue to climb — partly because of rate increases and partly due to tax increases.''
Moore said there wouldn't be wind farms in southwestern Ontario if taxpayers weren't paying the bill.
“They are ridiculously expensive and don't work half the time,'' he said. “And no matter how many are built, they won’t replace coal, gas or hydro or nuclear plants, because they are continuous and wind is not always reliable.''
Moore told his audience the wind energy industry in Spain has resulted in a 30% unemployment rate among people under the age of 30.
The speaker was also highly critical of the organization he co-founded, claiming it's counter-productive today from an environmental standpoint.
“The organization should at least base its positions on science,'' he said.
Moore said Greenpeace, launched in British Columbia, is now based in Europe. He spent 15 years with the organization chasing whaling boats, trying to stop the seal hunt, and protesting against hydrogen bomb testing.
He now serves as chair and chief scientist of Greenspirit Strategies.
“I was against three or four things every day of my life for 15 years,'' he said. “I decided to become a sensible environmentalist and have spent the last 25 years doing just that.''
Moore described as “ridiculous,'' the claims by Greenpeace that chlorine is the devil's element and PVC is the poison plastic.
“Most of our medicines are based on chlorine,'' he said.
He blasted Greenpeace for opposing golden rice, which he said helps prevent blindness in as many as 500,000 children.
Moore took exception to the stance against salmon farming by both Greenpeace and Dr. David Suzuki.
“We have to recognize that poverty is the worst environmental problem today,'' he said.
Chatham Daily News