It is time to stop quivering in our boots in pointless fear of the future and just roll up our sleeves and build it.
- Ray Pierrehumbert

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Some Obfuscation from Patrick Moore

The Greenpeace apostate, Patrick Moore, has an op-ed in the Vancouver Sun that really includes no falsehoods that I noticed, but seems deliberately contrived to confuse.

Old growth forests are not carbon sinks, bit paper plantations aren't either. Harvesting lumber for furniture and building construction is a minot carbon sink, but using that lumber makes matters worse. In the case of using lumber to incerase the size and energy intensity of housing stock, surely the impacts dominate the modest sequestration.

It is usually possible to make a case for just about anything by selecting your evidence carefully. The usual name for this is cherry-picking. Unlike some other fallacies, cherry-picking arguments are almost invariably disingenuous.

I have no opinion yet on the De Caprio movie that was the occasion for Moore's rant, but this is enough for me to lose any inclination to take Patrick Moore seriously. Apparently, according to Wikipedia, he also appeared in the Great Global Warming Swindle swindle. Enough said.


Bill Layton said...

Patrick Moore may be obfuscating the issue of old growth forests and carbon sequestering, but i believe the issue is valid, and the fact that there aren't easy answers important to point out.

People have been confusing issues of pollution or old growth protection with carbon balances for too long, and it sounds like deCaprio et al have done the same thing in this movie.

Ecologists have long known that temperate old growth forests tend to be carbon emitters not carbon absorbers, simply because the net rate of growth becomes negative. This doesn't say anything bad about old growth forests.

But, if the issue is, how do we maximize the amount of carbon captured as wood, then we need to talk about, 1)young forests, and 2)ensuring the wood from young forests stays as wood for as long as possible.

Two separate issues.

Michael Tobis said...

Harvested wood is not a now and is not proposed to be a significant sequestration sink as I understand it. Do you have information to the contrary?

Sparrow (in the coal mine) said...

Patrick Moore has attacking mainstream science for a long time. I wrote a little about him here:


His errors of the past have generally been much larger.