Patrick Moore has called me a "jerk." He may not be Queen Elizabeth, but it feels like being made Knight of the Realm.
Moore is a supporter of nuclear power. He is also an advocate for clear-cutting forests, genetically modified foods and a wide range of other corporate eco-assaults. The companies behind them fund Moore's "consulting" agency, which appears to specialize in greenwashing.
Moore's mission also seems to include tagging the Greenpeace name onto things Greenpeace opposes. As a voting member of Greenpeace USA, my e-mail box is often filled with contemptuous messages about Moore's latest outrage, and anger about his claim to be a Greenpeace founder. Many advocate ignoring him.
I'm not of that faith. Based on his appearances, too many people ask me why Greenpeace now "supports nuclear power." It doesn't. Its opposition to atomic reactors is as strong and clear as it was when Moore made his brief appearance on the organization's staff list, decades ago.
Moore is quoted calling me a "jerk" in a long piece on the greenwashing of nukes that has graced the cover of the San Francisco Bay Guardian, for which I've written occasionally over the years.
The piece correctly quotes me as advocating "Solartopia," a world gone totally to renewables and efficiency by the year 2030. It is a world in which King CONG---the coal, oil, nukes and gas industry---has been vanquished, and the way cleared for green technologies that are cleaner, cheaper, safer, more reliable and more job-creating. Those would include wind, solar, bio-fuels, geothermal, ocean thermal, wave, current, tidal, trash gas and other forms of renewable generation, along with massively increased efficiency and a revival of mass transit.
My choice of the year 2030 for Solartopia works in tandem with a theory of "Thermageddon" put forth by the late Bob Hunter, who really was a founder of Greenpeace. Hunter called Moore an "eco-Judas." Moore says Bob recanted.
But King CONG is now Patrick Moore's employer. He advocates a "renaissance" for atomic power, a technology inseparable from the murderous melt-downs at Chernobyl and Three Mile Island, with fifty years of proven economic failure.
In the half-century since the first commercial reactor opened at Shippingport, Pennsylvania, in 1957, there has been no solution to the storage of high level radioactive waste. Since the terror attacks of 9/11/2001, it is more obvious than ever that commercial reactors are pre-deployed weapons of nuclear mass destruction. The private insurance industry appears to agree, as none will independently underwrite the risk of a major reactor catastrophe, either by terror or error.
Overall, the nuke power industry simply would not exist without gargantuan federal subsidies. The latest now involve huge proposed loan subsidies to drag Wall Street into a technology it would not otherwise touch.
None of this seems to bother Mr. Moore, whom I've never met. But I'd like to. Patrick, when you read this (and I'm sure you will), please accept my invitation to debate anywhere, anytime, with any format you choose, on any medium willing to host us.
Think of it as a form of renewable energy generation. Or as a "renaissance" of democracy.
But above all, think of it as a trip to Solartopia, where nukes are banned along with fossil fuels and all other forms of waste, and there is a green-powered confluence of pollution-free prosperity.
The only greenwashing in such a world, Mr. Moore, will be with mint and aloe vera. I'll bring you some of both.
Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, is at www.solartopia.org. He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and writes regularly for www.freepress.org, where this article first appeared.