'GREENPEACE FOUNDER SUPPORTS BIOTECHNOLOGY' ran the headline on the AgBioworld press release about Patrick Moore's support for AgBioWorld's 'Declaration in Support of Agricultural Biotechnology'.
Although the headline proclaimed Moore to be Greenpeace's 'founder', it's opening sentence changed his background to 'ecologist and co-founder of Greenpeace'. A paragraph later Moore's status was reduced yet further to ' a founding member of Greenpeace'.
The press release went on to say that despite many years of involvement with the organisation, 'Recently... he broke with Greenpeace, accusing it of abandoning science and following agendas that have little to do with saving the Earth.'
The biotech industry flew Patrick Moore to appear as one of its expert witnesses in front of the Royal Commission on Genetic Modification in New Zealand. His only 'expertise', however, was his connection with Greenpeace.
Press articles have also portrayed Moore and his support for GM in terms of the recent disillusion with Greenpeace of its founder. But far from leaving Greenpeace recently, Moore quit almost two decades ago and he was never more than a founding member.
Moore has given different accounts of the reasons for his departure. He has claimed, for instance, that he quit because 'in the mid-Eighties the ultraleftists and extremists took over'. But he has contradicted this by claiming that there were no indications of such problems with the organisation when he left, 'I had no idea that after I left in 1986 they [Greenpeace] would evolve into a band of scientific illiterates who use Gestapo tactics to silence people'. In fact, according to Greenpeace's Tamara Stark, Moore's exit from the organisation was 'not necessarily by his own choice'.
After leaving Greenpeace, Moore set up a fish farm, which failed, and in 1991 set up his own environmental consultancy, Greenspirit. This attracted controversy of its own. Around the same time, he became a full-time paid director and consultant for the British Columbia Forest Alliance. The Alliance, although presented as a 'citizens group', was the brainchild of PR firm Burson-Marsteller.The Alliance has a budget of around $2m derived mostly from the forest industry and its 170 or so corporate members, and it campaigns for clear-cutting.
Moore's activities on behalf of the Alliance have been extremely controversial. He claimed, for instance, that the World Wildlife Fund in some cases supported clear-cutting, provoking a furious response from Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, head of the forest programme of World Wide Fund for Nature International, who accused Moore of 'grossly misrepresenting' WWF's position, something WWF 'deplored'.
To some, Moore's pro-GM stance seems less part of a road-to-Damascus conversion away from ultra-leftism, pagan beliefs and junk science, and more part of a career trajectory over the last two decades that has been industry-symathetic, and often industry-funded.