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---------- Forwarded message ----------
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2003 10:00:59 -0000
From: Glen EP Kealey <[EMAIL PROTECTED]>

Sunday, July 13, 2003



Maurice Strong Joins NCSE Board of Directors

Maurice Strong, Under Secretary General of the United Nations, has
joined the Board of Directors of the National Council for Science and
the Environment (NCSE). Strong also serves as Special Advisor to the
Secretary-General of the United Nations, Senior Advisor to the
President of the World Bank, and President of the United Nations
University for Peace in Costa Rica.

A native of Canada, Strong is one of the world?s foremost political
and environmental figures. He served as Secretary-General of the
historic 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, and currently serves as Chairman of
the Earth Council, an organization formed to promote the Earth Summit
agreements. From 1970-1972, he was Secretary-General of the United
Nations Conference on the Human Environment in Geneva. He then served
as the first Executive Director of the United Nations Environment
Programme until 1975.

Strong?s career also encompasses the business sector, where he has
headed several major companies, including Ontario Hydro and
Petro-Canada. He is currently Chairman of Strovest Holdings, Inc. and
Technology Development Corporation. Strong also served on the board of
the World Economic Forum Foundation, and is former Chairman of both
the Stockholm Environment Institute and the World Resources Institute,
and former board member of the United Nations Foundation.

Strong has received many honors and awards throughout his lifetime,
including 51 honorary doctorates. In 2001, he was awarded the first
NCSE Lifetime Achievement Award at the Second National Conference on
Science, Policy, and the Environment . He attaches special importance
to NCSE?s mission of improving the scientific basis of environmental
decisionmaking, saying ?these decisions must be guided by the best
knowledge and advice that science can provide.?

Honorary Board Members . Robert S. McNamara and James Gustave Speth
have been appointed as Honorary Members of the Board. McNamara served
on the NCSE Board for six years as part of his distinguished public
service career. Speth, Dean of the Yale School of Forestry and
Environmental Studies, has been a member of NCSE?s Council of
Environmental Deans and Directors (CEDD) since 2001. Speth commented,
?As one of the founders of NCSE, I feel immensely proud about what its
University Affiliate Program has been able to achieve in bringing the
academic community?s educational, training and research programs to
the attention of key policymakers.?



The adventures of Maurice Strong & Co. illustrate the fact that
nowadays you don't have to be a household name to wield global power.
By Ronald Bailey Published in The National Review September 1, 1997.
Mr. Bailey is a freelance journalist and television producer in
Washington, D.C. He is author of Eco-Scam: The False Prophets of
Ecological Apocalypse (St. Martin's) and The True State of the Planet
(Free Press).

"The survival of civilization in something like its present form might
depend significantly on the efforts of a single man," declared The New
Yorker. The New York Times hailed that man as the "Custodian of the
Planet." He is perpetually on the short list of candidates for
Secretary General of the United Nations. This lofty eminence? Maurice
Strong, of course. Never heard of him? Well, you should have. Militia
members are famously worried that black helicopters are practicing
maneuvers with blue-helmeted UN troops in a plot to take over America.
But the actual peril is more subtle. A small cadre of obscure
international bureaucrats are hard at work devising a system of
"global governance" that is slowly gaining control over ordinary
Americans' lives. Maurice Strong, a 68-year-old Canadian, is the
"indispensable man" at the center of this creeping UN power grab.

Not that Mr. Strong looks particularly indispensable. Indeed, he
exudes a kind of negative charisma. He is a grey, short, soft-voiced
man with a salt-and-pepper toothbrush mustache who wouldn't rate a
second glance if you passed him on the street. Yet his remarkable
career has led him from boyhood poverty in Manitoba to the highest
councils of international government.

Among the hats he currently wears are: Senior Advisor to UN Secretary
General Kofi Annan; Senior Advisor to World Bank President James
Wolfensohn; Chairman of the Earth Council; Chairman of the World
Resources Institute; Co-Chairman of the Council of the World Economic
Forum; member of Toyota's International Advisory Board. As advisor to
Kofi Annan, he is overseeing the new UN reforms.

Yet his most prominent and influential role to date was as Secretary
General of the 1992 UN Conference on Environment and Development --
the so-called Earth Summit -- held in Rio de Janeiro, which gave a
significant push to global economic and environmental regulation.

"He's dangerous because he's a much smarter and shrewder man [than
many in the UN system]," comments Charles Lichenstein, deputy
ambassador to the UN under President Reagan. "I think he is a very
dangerous ideologue, way over to the Left."

"This guy is kind of the global Ira Magaziner," says Ted Galen
Carpenter, vice president for defense and foreign-policy studies at
the Cato Institute. "If he is whispering in Kofi Annan's ear this is
no good at all."

Strong attracts such mystified suspicion because he is difficult to
pin down. He told Maclean's in 1976 that he was "a socialist in
ideology, a capitalist in methodology." And his career combines oil
deals with the likes of Adnan Khashoggi with links to the
environmentalist Left. He is in fact one of a new political breed: the
bi-sectoral entrepreneur who uses business success for leverage in
politics, and vice versa.

Strong started in the oil business in the 1950s. He took over and
turned around some small ailing energy companies in the 1960s, and he
was president of a major holding company -- the Power Corporation of
Canada -- by the age of 35. This was success by any standard. Yet on
more than one occasion (including once in Who's Who), Strong has been
caught exaggerating. He claimed, for instance, to have forfeited a
$200,000 salary when he left Power. The real figure, said a company
officer, was $35,000. Why this myth-making? Well, a CEO is just a CEO
-- but a whiz-kid is a potential cabinet officer.

And it is in politics that Strong's talents really shine. He is the
Michelangelo of networking. He early made friends in high places in
Canada's Liberal Party -- including Paul Martin Sr., Canada's
external-affairs minister in the Sixties -- and kept them as business
partners in oil and real-estate ventures. He cultivated bright
well-connected young people -- like Paul Martin Jr., Canada's present
finance minister and the smart money's bet to succeed Jean Chretien as
prime minister -- and salted them throughout his various political and
business networks to form a virtual private intelligence service. And
he always seemed to know what the next political trend would be --
foreign aid, Canadian economic nationalism, environmentalism.

In 1966, by now a Liberal favorite, Strong became head of the Canadian
International Development Agency and thus was launched
internationally. Impressed by his work at CIDA, UN Secretary General U
Thant asked him to organize what became the first Earth Summit -- the
Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment in 1972. The next year,
Strong became first director of the new UN Environment Program,
created as a result of Stockholm. And in 1975, he was invited back to
Canada to run the semi-national Petro-Canada, created by Prime
Minister Pierre Trudeau in the wake of OPEC's oil shocks.

Petro-Canada was a sop to Canada's anti-American Left, then denouncing
American ownership of the country's oil companies. Strong talked a
good economic-nationalist game -- but he himself was a major reason
why Canada's oil companies were U.S.-owned. Ten years before, while at
Power Corporation, he had enabled Shell to take over the only
remaining all-Canadian oil company by throwing a controlling block of
shares in its direction. As Maclean's wrote, he now returned "amid
fanfares" to rectify this.

After a couple of years, Strong left Petro-Canada for various business
deals, including one with Adnan Khashoggi through which he ended up
owning the 200,000-acre Baca ranch in Colorado, now a "New Age" center
run by his wife, Hanne. (Among the seekers at Baca are Zen and Tibetan
Buddhist monks, a breakaway order of Carmelite nuns, and followers of
a Hindu guru called Babaji.) Not for long the joys of contemplation,
however. In 1985, he was back as executive coordinator of the UN
Office for Emergency Operations in Africa, in charge of running the
$3.5-billion famine-relief effort in Somalia and Ethiopia. And in
1989, he was appointed Secretary General of the Earth Summit --
shortly thereafter flying down to Rio.

Strong's flexibility, however, must not be mistaken for
open-mindedness. His friends, his allies among Canadian Liberals, his
networks in the UN and the Third World, even his long-term business
partners (like the late Paul Nathanson, wartime treasurer of the
Canadian-Soviet Friendship Committee) all lean Left. He has said the
Depression left him "frankly very radical." And given his ability to
get things done, the consistency of his support for a world managed by
bureaucrats is alarming. As Elaine Dewar wrote in Toronto's Saturday
Night magazine:

It is instructive to read Strong's 1972 Stockholm speech and compare
it with the issues of Earth Summit 1992. Strong warned urgently about
global warming, the devastation of forests, the loss of biodiversity,
polluted oceans, the population time bomb. Then as now, he invited to
the conference the brand-new environmental NGOs [non-governmental
organizations]: he gave them money to come; they were invited to raise
hell at home. After Stockholm, environment issues became part of the
administrative framework in Canada, the U.S., Britain, and Europe.

IN the meantime, Strong continued the international networking on
which his influence rests. He became a member of the World Commission
on Environment and Development (the Brundtland Commission). He found
time to serve as president of the World Federation of United Nations
Associations, on the executive committee of the Society for
International Development, and as an advisor to the Rockefeller
Foundation and the World Wildlife Fund. Above all, he served on the
Commission on Global Governance -- which, as we shall see, plays a
crucial part in the international power grab.
Sometimes, indeed, it seems that Strong's network of contacts must
rival the Internet. To list a few:

-- Vice President Al Gore. (Of course.)

-- World Bank President James Wolfensohn, formerly on the Rockefeller
Foundation Board and currently on the Population Council Board; he was
Al Gore's favored candidate for the World Bank position.

-- James Gustave Speth, head of the Carter Administration's Council on
Environmental Quality, crafter of the doomladen Global 2000 report,
member of the Clinton - Gore transition team; he now heads the UN
Development Program.

-- Shridath Ramphal, formerly Secretary General of the (British)
Commonwealth, now Co-Chairman of the Commission on Global Governance.

-- Jonathan Lash, President of the World Resources Institute -- which
works closely with the World Bank, the UN Environment Program, and the
UN Development Program -- and Co-Chairman of the President's Council
on Sustainable Development.

-- Ingvar Carlsson, former Swedish prime minister and Co-Chairman of
the Commission on Global Governance.

But Strong is no snob; he even counts Republican Presidents among his
friends. Elaine Dewar again:

Strong blurted out that he'd almost been shut out of the Earth Summit
by people at the State Department. They had been overruled by the
White House because George Bush knew him. He said that he'd donated
some $100,000 to the Democrats and a slightly lesser amount to the
Republicans in 1988. (The Republicans didn't confirm.)

I had been absolutely astonished. I mean yes, he had done a great deal
of business in the U.S., but how could he have managed such

Well, he'd had a green card. The governor of Colorado had suggested it
to him. A lawyer in Denver had told him how.

But why? I'd asked.

"Because I wanted influence in the United States."

So Strong gave political contributions (of dubious legality) to both
parties; George Bush, now a friend, intervened to help him stay in
charge of the Rio conference; he was thereby enabled to set a deep
green agenda there; and Bush took a political hit in an election year.
An instructive tale -- if it is not part of Strong's mythmaking.

Most of Strong's friends are more obviously compatible, which may
explain why they tend to overlap in their institutional commitments.
For example, James Wolfensohn (whom Strong had hired out of Harvard in
the early Sixties to run an Australian subsidiary of one of his
companies) appointed him as his senior advisor almost immediately upon
being named chairman of the World Bank. "I'd been involved in . . .
Stockholm, which Maurice Strong arranged," says Wolfensohn, who, more
recently, has been credited with co-drafting (with Mikhail Gorbachev)
the Earth Charter presented for consideration at the Rio + 5 meeting
in Brazil earlier this year. As head of the Earth Council, Maurice
Strong chaired that meeting.

It's not a conspiracy, of course: just a group of like-minded people
fighting to save the world from less prescient and more selfish forces
-- namely, market forces. And though the crises change -- World War II
in the Forties, fear of the atom bomb in the Fifties, the "energy
crisis" in the Seventies -- the Left's remedy is always the same: a
greater role for international agencies. Today an allegedly looming
global environmental catastrophe is behind their efforts to increase
the power of the UN. Strong has warned memorably: "If we don't change,
our species will not survive. . . . Frankly, we may get to the point
where the only way of saving the world will be for industrial
civilization to collapse." Apocalypse soon -- unless international
bodies save us from ourselves.

LAST week, Secretary General Annan unveiled Maurice Strong's plan for
reorganizing the UN. To be sure, the notoriously corrupt and
inefficient UN bureaucracy could do with some shaking up. Strong's
plan, however, mostly points in a different direction -- one drawn
from a document, Our Global Neighborhood, devised by the interestingly
named Commission on Global Governance.

The CGG was established in 1992, after Rio, at the suggestion of Willy
Brandt, former West German chancellor and head of the Socialist
International. Then Secretary General Boutros Boutros-Ghali endorsed
it. The CGG naturally denies advocating the sort of thing that fuels
militia nightmares. "We are not proposing movement toward a world
government," reassuringly write Co-Chairmen Ingvar Carlsson and
Shridath Ramphal, ". . . [but] this is not to say that the goal should
be a world without systems or rules." Quite so. As Hofstra University
law professor Peter Spiro describes it: "The aim is not a superstate
but rather the establishment of norm-creating multilateral regimes . .
. This construct already constrains state action in the context of
human rights and environmental protection and is on a springboard in
other areas."

The concept of global governance has been fermenting for some time. In
1991, the Club of Rome (of which Strong is, of course, a member)
issued a report called The First Global Revolution, which asserted
that current problems "are essentially global and cannot be solved
through individual country initiatives [which] gives a greatly
enhanced importance to the United Nations and other international
systems." Also in 1991 Strong claimed that the Earth Summit, of which
he was Secretary General, would play an important role in "reforming
and strengthening the United Nations as the centerpiece of the
emerging system of democratic global governance." In 1995, in Our
Global Neighborhood, the CGG agreed: "It is our firm conclusion that
the United Nations must continue to play a central role in global

Americans should be worried by the Commission's recommendations: for
instance, that some UN activities be funded through taxes on
foreign-exchange transactions and multinational corporations.
Economist James Tobin estimates that a 0.5 per cent tax on
foreign-exchange transactions would raise $1.5 trillion annually --
nearly equivalent to the U.S. federal budget.

It also recommended that "user fees" might be imposed on companies
operating in the "global commons." Such fees might be collected on
international airline tickets, ocean shipping, deep-sea fishing,
activities in Antarctica, geostationary satellite orbits, and
electromagnetic spectrum. But the big enchilada is carbon taxes, which
would be levied on all fuels made from coal, oil, and natural gas. "A
carbon tax," the report deadpans, ". . . would yield very large
revenues indeed." Given the UN's record of empire-building and
corruption, Cato's Ted Carpenter warns: "One can only imagine the
degree of mischief it could get into if it had independent sources of

Especially significant for the U.S. was the CGG's proposal for
eventual elimination of the veto held by the five permanent members of
the UN Security Council. The Commission knew that the current
permanent members of the Security Council, including the U.S., would
not easily surrender their vetoes, and so it recommended a two-stage

In the first stage, five new permanent members (without a veto) would
be added to the Security Council -- probably Japan, Germany, Brazil,
India, and Nigeria -- along with three new slots for non-permanent
members. But the real threat to U.S. interests is the second stage: "a
full review of the membership of the Council . . . around 2005, when
the veto can be phased out." These plans are advancing. In March, the
president of the UN General Assembly, Razali Ismail of Malayasia,
unveiled his own formula for reforming the Security Council. It
closely tracks the CGG's proposals. In particular, Razali proposed
"urg[ing] the original permanent members to limit use of the veto . .
. and not to extend [it] to new permanent members." He wanted to make
the veto "progressively and politically untenable" and recommended
that these arrangements be reviewed in ten years.

In July the State Department compromised -- accepting five new
Security Council members but remaining silent on the veto. It plainly
hopes that the veto issue will go away if the U.S. concedes on
enlarging the Council. Yet the CGG's report makes clear that we are
facing a rolling agenda to expand the power of UN bureaucrats. The
veto issue may be postponed for ten years -- but what then?

"This is an initiative that should be resisted by the United States
with special vehemence," says Ted Carpenter. For if the veto were
eliminated, the United States would face the prospect of having other
countries make key determinations that affect us without our consent.

THE Commission also wants to strengthen "global civil society," which,
it explains, "is best expressed in the global non-governmental
movement." Today, there are nearly 15,000 NGOs. More than 1,200 of
them have consultative status with the UN's Economic and Social
Council (up from 41 in 1948). The CGG wants NGOs to be brought
formally into the UN system (no wonder Kenneth Minogue calls this
Acronymia). So it proposes that representatives of such organizations
be accredited to the General Assembly as "Civil Society Organizations"
and convened in an annual Forum of Civil Society.

But how would these representatives be selected? This June, the
General Assembly held a session on environmental issues called Earth
Summit +5. President Razali selected a number of representatives from
the NGOs and the private sector for the exclusive privilege of
speaking in the plenary sessions. "I have gone to a lot of trouble
with this, choosing the right NGOs," he declared. So whom did he choose?

Among others: Thilo Bode, executive director of Greenpeace, to
represent the scientific and technological community; Yolanda
Kakabadse, the president of the International Union for the
Conservation of Nature; and "from the farmers, I have chosen an
organic farmer, Denise O'Brien from the United States, who is a member
of the Via Campesina." In what sense are these people
"representative"? Whom do they represent? Were the head of the U.S.
Chamber of Commerce, the chairman of Toshiba, and the president of the
Farm Bureau all too busy to come talk to the General Assembly?

Another example of how this selection process operates was the "great
civil society forum" convened at the behest of Strong's Earth Council
and Mikhail Gorbachev's Green Cross International this past March.
Some five hundred delegates met, supposedly to assess the results of
the Earth Summit, but in reality to condemn the "inaction" of
signatory countries in implementing the Rio treaties. The delegates
were selected through a process based on national councils for
sustainable development, themselves set up pursuant to the Earth
Summit. Membership in these councils means that an organization is
already persuaded of the global environmental crisis. So you can bet
that the process did not yield many delegates representing business or
advocating limits on government power.

This kind of international gabfest is, of course, a sinister parody of
democracy. "Very few of even the larger international NGOs are
operationally democratic, in the sense that members elect officers or
direct policy on particular issues," notes Peter Spiro. "Arguably it
is more often money than membership that determines influence, and
money more often represents the support of centralized elites, such as
major foundations, than of the grass roots." (The CGG has benefited
substantially from the largesse of the MacArthur, Carnegie, and Ford

Hilary French, Vice President of the alarmist Worldwatch Institute,
justifies this revealingly as "a paradox of our time . . . that
effective governance requires control being simultaneously passed down
to local communities and up to international institutions."
Paradoxically or not, the voters hardly appear in this model of
governance. It bypasses national governments and representative
democracy in order to empower the sort of people who are willing to
sit in committee meetings to the bitter end. Those who have better
things to do -- businessmen, workers, moms -- would be the losers in
the type of centralized decentralization envisioned by Worldwatch. The
result would be decisions reached by self-selecting elites. In
domestic politics, we have a name for such elite groups -- special

ANOTHER CGG recommendation is that the old UN Trusteeship Council "be
given a new mandate over the global commons." It defines the global
commons to include the atmosphere, outer space, the oceans beyond
national jurisdiction, and the related environmental systems that
contribute to the support of human life. A new Trusteeship Council
would oversee "the management of the commons, including development
and use of their resources . . . [and] the administration of
environmental treaties in such fields as climate change, biodiversity,
outer space, and the Law of the Sea."

It is hard to see what this expansive definition would exclude from
the jurisdiction of the Trusteeship Council. Biodiversity encompasses
all the plants and animals on the earth, including those that live in
your backyard. Will UN troops swoop in to stop you from cutting down
trees on your property? Doubtless not. But a recent case near
Yellowstone National Park may be a foretaste of how international
agencies can meddle in U.S. domestic affairs.

Yellowstone has been designated a "World Heritage Site." These Sites
are natural settings or cultural monuments recognized by the World
Heritage Committee of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and
Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as having "outstanding universal
value." Sites are designated under a Convention ratified by the U.S.
Senate in 1973, and it is possible to place such sites on a "List of
World Heritage Sites in Danger."

In this case, a mining company wanted to construct a gold mine outside
the boundaries of Yellowstone. The normal environmental review of the
project's impact was still proceeding under U.S. law. But a group of
environmentalist NGOs opposed to the mine were not content to wait for
that review to take its course. They asked that members of the World
Heritage Committee come to Yellowstone to hold public hearings. George
Frampton, the Clinton Administration's Assistant Secretary of the
Interior for Fish, Wildlife, and Parks, wrote to the WHC saying: "The
Secretary [Bruce Babbitt] and the National Park Service have clearly
expressed strong reservations with the New World Mine proposal."
Frampton added: "We believe that a potential danger to the values of
the Park and surrounding waters and fisheries exists and that the
committee should be informed that the property as inscribed on the . .
. List is in danger." Four officials of the WHC duly came to
Yellowstone and held hearings. And at its December 1995 meeting in
Berlin, the Committee obligingly voted to list Yellowstone as a "World
Heritage Site in Danger."

"It was, in my opinion, a blatantly political act," declared Rep.
Barbara Cubin (R., Wyo.) during congressional hearings about the
listing. "It was done to draw attention, public reaction, public
response, and public pressure to see that the mine wasn't developed."
Jeremy Rabkin, a Cornell political scientist, agrees that the
international listing of such sites "provides an international forum
through which to put pressure on U.S. policy."

Would the mine really have endangered Yellowstone? We'll never know.
The environmental-impact statement was never issued, and, under
pressure, the mining company accepted a $65-million federal buyout
plus a trade for unspecified federal lands somewhere else. Thus, even
with no enforcement power, this UN dependency was able to make
land-use policy for the United States.

These events prompted Rep. Don Young (R., Alaska) to introduce the
American Land Sovereignty Act. With 174 co-sponsors to date, the Act
aims to "preserve sovereignty of the United States over public lands
and . . . to preserve State sovereignty and private property rights in
non-federal lands surrounding those public lands." Congress would have
to approve on a case-by-case basis land designations made pursuant to
any international agreements.

But is U.S. sovereignty really in danger? In an interview, Strong
dismissed Young's anxieties. "I do not share his concern. It is no
abdication of sovereignty to exercise it in company with others, and
when you're dealing with global issues that's what you have to do." He
continues: "If you put yourself in a larger unit, of course, you get
some advantages and you give up some of your freedom. And that's
what's happening in Europe, that the states of Europe have decided
that overall they're better off to create a structure in which they
give up some of their national rights and exercise them collectively
through the Union."

This example of the European Union, however, worries Ambassador
Lichenstein. The EU's bureaucracy in Brussels, he complains, "is
responsible to no one. Governments get together -- foreign ministers,
finance ministers -- they presumably hand down the guidelines, but
don't kid yourself, the bureaucrats are running things."

The Yellowstone case is an example of how "feel-good" symbolism about
the environment can be transformed into real constraints upon real
people imposed outside the law, with no democratic oversight and no
means of redress. Ironically, Strong himself had a run-in with
Colorado environmentalists over local water rights. They did not have
the wit to call in an international agency against the New Age rancher
-- or maybe they realized that Strong was one property owner whose
rights the UN would respect.

AS troubling as the Yellowstone incident is, much greater potential
for mischief lies in a new series of "framework treaties" designed to
handle global environmental issues. Initially, the treaties called for
voluntary actions by governments and set up a consultative process.
But environmental activists like Hilary French know very well how this
process works. "Even though it can look disappointing, the political
will created [by these framework conventions] can lead to commitments
of a more binding nature," she said. This is already happening.
"Although its declaration of principles was transparently
aspirational, the 1972 Stockholm world conference on the human
environment is generally recognized as a turning point in
international environmental-protection efforts," wrote Peter Spiro.
"From it emerged a standing institution (the UN Environment Program);
weak but more focused 'framework' treaties followed, which in turn are
being filled out by specific regulatory regimes. The 1985 Vienna
Convention on the Protection of the Ozone Layer itself included no
obligations, but the 1987 Montreal protocols and subsequent amendments
set a full phaseout of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and other
ozone-depleting substances by 1996. The regime covers 132 signatories
with a total population of 4.7 billion people. Between 1987 and 1991,
global CFC consumption was in fact reduced by half. A similar
filling-out process is likely to occur with the biodiversity and
climate-change conventions signed at Rio."

The "conventions" that Spiro was talking about emerged from the Earth
Summit chaired by Maurice Strong. They deal with two of the alleged
global environmental crises -- global warming and species extinction.

At the time of the Earth Summit, some scientists predicted on the
basis of climate computer models that the earth's average temperature
would increase by 4 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit over the next century
because of the "greenhouse effect." These predictions are
controversial among scientists. And as the computer models are
refined, they show that the atmosphere will warm far less than
originally predicted. Furthermore, more accurate satellite
measurements show no increase in the average global temperature over
the last two decades. Finally, an important study published in Nature
concluded that even if the warming predictions are right, it could
well be less costly to allow greenhouse gas emissions to continue to
rise for a decade or more because technological innovations and
judicious capital investment will make it possible to reduce them far
more cheaply at some point before they become a significant problem.
In other words, we needn't take drastic and costly action now.

The process forges ahead anyway. The Framework Convention on Global
Climate Change signed by President George Bush at the Rio Earth Summit
is already beginning to harden. Initially, countries were supposed
voluntarily to reduce by the year 2000 the "greenhouse gases" to the
level emitted in 1990. Then, a year ago, at a UN climate-change
meeting in Geneva, the Clinton Administration offered to set legally
binding limits on the greenhouse gases the United States can emit. In
June of this year, at the UN's Earth Summit +5 session, President
Clinton reaffirmed this commitment. And mandatory limits on carbon
emissions are to be finalized at a global meeting of Convention
signatories in Kyoto this December.

Estimates of the costs to the United States of cutting emissions range
from $90 billion to $400 billion annually in lost Gross Domestic
Product and a loss of between 600,000 and 3.5 million jobs. Global
costs would be proportionately higher.

Yet while the U.S. may be committing itself to limits, 130 developing
nations, including China and India, are excluded under the Framework
Convention from having to reduce their emissions, which, on present
trends, will outstrip those of the industrialized world early in the
next century. If the U.S. and other industrial countries have to limit
energy use while the Third World is exempt, many industries will
simply decamp to where energy prices are significantly lower.

If they are permitted to do so. For, as Sen. Chuck Hagel (R., Neb.)
asked at a conference on "The Costs of Kyoto" held by the Competitive
Enterprise Institute: "Who will administer a global climate treaty? .
. . Will we have an international agency capable of inspecting,
fining, and possibly shutting down American companies?" Sen. Hagel is
not alone is his concern. In July the U.S. Senate passed 95 to 0 a
resolution urging the Clinton Administration not to make binding
concessions at the Kyoto conference.

But the climate-change treaty is not the only threat to U.S.
interests. Though Mr. Bush refused to sign the Bio-diversity
Convention at the Rio Earth Summit -- chaired, remember, by GOP
contributor Strong -- that only delayed things. The Clinton
Administration signed shortly after its inauguration. Since the treaty
obliges signatories to protect plant and animal species through
habitat preservation, its implementation could make the World Heritage
Committee's activities on U.S. land use seem penny-ante by comparison.

MEANWHILE, how much further down the path sketched out by the CGG will
the UN reforms developed by Maurice Strong and announced by Kofi Annan
last week take us?

The most important initiative is the recommendation that the General
Assembly organize a "Millennium Assembly" and a companion "People's
Assembly" in the year 2000. (The "People's Assembly" mirrors the CGG's
"Civil Society Forum" idea -- among other things, only accredited NGOs
would be invited to advise the General Assembly.) But what would these
grand new bodies actually do? The Millennium Assembly would invite
"heads of Government . . . to articulate their vision of prospects and
challenges for the new millennium and agree on a process for
fundamental review of the role of the United Nations [emphasis
added]." That last innocuous phrase is diplomatese for opening up the
UN Charter for amendment. If that happens, so could anything --
notably eliminating the veto in the Security Council.

The Millennium Assembly would also consider adopting Strong's Earth
Charter. For the most part the Charter reads like another feel-good
document -- its draft says that "we must reinvent
industrial-technological civilization" and promises everybody a clean
environment, equitable incomes, and an end to cruelty to animals --
but we have seen how such vacuous symbolism can have real consequences
down the line. Inevitably, the Charter advocates that "the nations of
the world should adopt as a first step an international convention
that provides an integrated legal framework for existing and future
environmental and sustainable-development law and policy." This is, of
course, a charter for endless intervention in the internal affairs of
independent states.

Which leaves external affairs. Hey presto! In line with the CGG's
plan, Annan/Strong urge that the UN Trusteeship Council "be
reconstituted as the forum through which member states exercise their
collective trusteeship for the integrity of the global environment and
common areas such as the oceans, atmosphere, and outer space."

For the time being, however, Annan and Strong have avoided calling for
global taxes or user fees to finance the UN. One spokesman said that
the issue was simply "too hot to handle right now." What they propose
is a Revolving Credit Fund of $1 billion so that the UN will have a
source of operating funds even if a major contributor (e.g., the U.S.)
withholds contributions for a time. In short, the CGG's blueprint for
a more powerful UN closely resembles the movement to expand the
requirements of the Framework Convention on Global Climate Change.
While the process may be piecemeal, the goal is clear: a more powerful
set of international institutions, increasingly emancipated from the
control of the major powers, increasingly accountable not to
representative democratic institutions but to unelected bureaucracies,
and increasingly exercising authority over how people, companies, and
governments run their affairs -- not just Americans, but everyone. In
short, Col. Qaddafi's definition of his leftist Green Revolution:
"Committees Everywhere."

If so, the future looks good for Maurice Strong. One UN source
suggested that, at the very least, he would like to be made Secretary
General of the Millennium Assembly or the People's Assembly. Others
suspect that, even at age 68, Strong is angling to be the next UN
Secretary General.

Such eminence may help explain a puzzling incident in his early
career. Having long had political ambitions, he decided to enter the
Canadian Parliament. A candidate was evicted from a safe constituency
by the Liberal leadership, and Strong moved in. Then, with only a
month to go before the 1979 election, he suddenly pulled out of the
race. Strong's business deals were especially complicated at the time
-- he was setting up a Swiss oil-and-gas exploration company with
partners that included the Kuwaiti Finance Minister and the Arab
Petroleum Investment Corporation -- and that is the explanation
usually given. But maybe he just decided that for a man who wants
power, elections are an unnecessary obstacle.

posted by The SculPTor 2:01 AM

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