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Greenpeace’s history of misinformation

The protest at Rishi Sunak’s Yorkshire home

“Never let it be said that Greenpeace lacks a sense of its own importance,” says Dominic Lawson in the Daily Mail. When the government cut all ties with the environmental group after its campaigners draped black cloth over Rishi Sunak’s Yorkshire home, its leaders issued a “statement of epic pomposity”. Apparently, being denied meetings with ministers is a “worrying signal about the future of democracy”. On the contrary, I can think of plenty of reasons why the charity “should never have been given such high-level access to government in the first place”. Chief among them: its long history of “serious and effective misinformation”.

Take its “ferocious campaign” in the 1990s to prevent Shell from dismantling an oil storage installation at sea. Greenpeace insisted the unit contained 5,000 tonnes of crude oil, around 100 times what Shell claimed. But Shell had the correct figure all along – and the eventual decision to dispose of it onshore provided “no net environmental gain”. Then there’s the group’s fervent lobbying against “golden rice”, which is genetically modified to provide more Vitamin A and could thus save “countless lives” in the developing world. Worst of all is its entrenched opposition to nuclear power, which it calls “dirty, dangerous and expensive”. In reality, nuclear causes marginally fewer deaths per unit of energy produced than wind power. As for its supposed dirtiness, when Germany decommissioned all its nuclear plants after Japan’s disaster at Fukushima, it had to restart almost 20 coal-fired power stations. Yes, Greenpeace is brilliant at “drawing attention to itself”. But we shouldn’t pay attention to its “profoundly anti-scientific approach”.