Regina hires climate change skeptic to speak at energy sustainability conference

The City of Regina has axed controversial climate skeptic Patrick Moore from the agenda of its upcoming sustainability conference. File / Global News

The City of Regina is paying a climate change skeptic to speak at their upcoming energy sustainability conference in May.

Patrick Moore, a paid lobbyist for the nuclear energy sector, will be this year’s keynote speaker at the two-day Reimagine Conference.

His talk is titled “Fake, Invisible Catastrophes and Threats of Doom.”

“I don’t believe that carbon dioxide is the primary driver of the earth’s climate. It’s silly to think that one substance that’s only 0.04 per cent in the atmosphere is the only thing that’s causing the climate to change,” Moore said.

“I know the climate changes. I’ve known that all my life. I’m just saying that I don’t think they’re right about what is causing it to change at this time in history.”

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He’s getting paid $11,400 to attend, which is more than any of the other 45 speakers who are getting paid between $5,000 to $10,000 each.

Moore is known for publicly denouncing anthropogenic climate change.

Some of his most controversial comments stem from a March 2019 appearance on Fox & Friends.

“The whole climate crisis as they call it is not only fake news, it’s fake science,” Moore said, which drew enough attention for President Donald Trump to tweet about it.

“There’s so many things that the people who are crying climate emergency don’t even know, never mind have taken into consideration their understanding of how complex this situation is,” Moore told Global News.

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Some Regina residents are critical of the city’s choice to invite Moore to speak.

“Does the city know he’s anti-science? This is really embarrassing,” tweeted Ryan Brook, an associate professor at the University of Saskatchewan.

“Like is this supposed to be a joke? There are so many people with real-world experience in creating sustainable cities and this is who they invite?” said Simon Enoch, director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives in a tweet.

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Even Regina Coun. Andrew Stevens joined the online conversation.

“Moore has said publicly that we are helping the planet by pumping out CO2 yet the City has committed to becoming 100% renewable. Huh,” said Stevens in a Facebook comment.

However, the City of Regina is defending its decision to have Moore as a keynote speaker.

“We do not wish to be political about this at all. We’re just saying here are some people who have interesting ideas,” said Coun. Mike O’Donnell, who serves on the committee who approved all speakers.

Moore used to be a former director of Greenpeace, but he has since distanced himself from the organization.

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“Our intent is to have a dialogue and make sure all ideas are challenged,” O’Donnell said. He added that anyone who opposes can attend Moore’s one-on-one event during the conference and express their views.

“He is one perspective,” O’Donnell said. “There will be a complete view presented here on sustainability, ultimate energy and that kind of stuff.”

In response to the controversy, Moore said it doesn’t bother him.

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“If you’re controversial, you’re not shaking anything up at all. I just don’t see why that should be taken as a reason why I shouldn’t be speaking somewhere because I’m controversial,” Moore said.

“That’s who people want to hear speak – someone who has something to say who isn’t just mouthing the same platitudes as everyone else is.”

The Reimagine Conference: Roadmap to Sustainable Cities takes place on May 20 and 21 at Evraz Place. According to the event’s webpage, it aims “to bring together innovators, thought leaders and renewable industry experts to share new and emerging practices in energy management and environmental sustainability.”

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