Greenpeace: A Long History of Poor Judgment

Published March 1, 2008

Greenpeace Internationals’ Cool Farming report is just the latest in a long line of claims by the organization that have proven unwise and incorrect.

Condemning DDT

In the 1970s, Greenpeace took the lead in condemning DDT–after the chemical had been used successfully to rid North America and Europe of malaria, which had been endemic throughout both continents.

Greenpeace claimed DDT caused cancer in humans, which has since been proven untrue. It said DDT caused thinning in the eggshells of raptors, which isn’t true either. American bald eagles have resurged because the Congressional Bald Eagle Protection Act of 1940 halted the shooting and poisoning of the birds.

Greenpeace’s opposition to DDT has contributed to at least 30 million deaths, most of them African children.

Salmon, Warming Panics

In the 1970s, Greenpeace claimed salmon were going extinct in the Columbia River because of logging, pollution, and irrigated farming. It turned out the real culprit is a long, natural cycle now dubbed the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. It shifts the food sources in the Pacific to favor either the Columbia salmon or the fish in the Gulf of Alaska, but never both at the same time.

Similarly, since the 1980s Greenpeace has predicted the world would lose a million or so species because of global warming, yet the warming has caused no wild species extinctions.

Instead, scientists have found a 130,000-year-old polar bear skull in the Arctic, meaning polar bears not only survived global warmings that occurred 9,000 and 5,000 years ago and were warmer than today, but also the even hotter Eemian Warming that preceded the last Ice Age.

Warmings bring increases in seal numbers, and biologists say the key source of winter fat for polar bears is newly born seal pups still in their dens.

Dennis T. Avery