Thursday, February 7, 2008

Submitted to TJ

Hi all - another one, I'm not sure will be published. It was published 9 Feb. in the TJ and 12 Feb. in the King's County Record.

Equal coverage on nuclear debate

On Feb. 5, the Telegraph Journal wrote a long front page article on Dr. Patrick Moore and his support for the nuclear industry. Given the provincial interest in nuclear power and uranium mining, I attended his talk to see what he might have to say.

While he provides an interesting case and is quite obviously a polished speaker, a number of people were taken aback by his attack on climate change science. I found his stance interesting because if climate change is untrue then why don’t we continue to generate power using fossil fuel technology which is, by Dr. Moore’s admission, cheaper than nuclear? (For the record, I am convinced that current climate change is accelerated by human activity and I conduct research studying how economic methods can be used to reduce emissions and enhance cooperation.)

I was taken aback when he claimed that only 60 people died in the Chernobyl nuclear disaster when Russian scientists and officials claim the number is in the hundreds of thousands.

Perhaps most disturbing was the emphasis of his academic credentials and the “credentialization” of his current stance on nuclear power. Dr. Moore has absolutely zero peer-reviewed - the hallmark of scientific credibility - papers on the subject of nuclear power. After extensive research, I found that, including his thesis, Dr. Moore has exactly one peer-reviewed publication at all – his thesis!

To show fairness to the hardworking taxpayers of New Brunswick, all of our weekly newspapers should give equal coverage to an expert like Dr. Helen Caldicott (who visited New Brunswick recently) who opposes expansion of the nuclear industry. That way the taxpaying and rate-paying public is informed and can enter into meaningful debate.

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