To this day, global climate policy is still shaped by the agenda of Maurice Strong, a Canadian multimillionaire
A very odd thing happened last weekend. The death was announced of the man who, in the past 40 years, has arguably been more influential on global politics than any other single individual. Yet the world scarcely noticed.
Had it not been for this man, we would not last week have seen 150 heads of government joining 40,000 delegates in Paris for that mammoth climate conference: the 21st such get-together since, in 1992, he masterminded the Rio “Earth Summit”, the largest political gathering in history. Yet few people even know his name.
Some years back, when I was researching for a book called The Real Global Warming Disaster, charting how the late-20th-century panic over climate change came about, few things surprised me more than to discover the absolutely central role played in the whole story by a Canadian socialist multimillionaire, Maurice Strong.
During the Second World War, having emerged from humble origins in the Great Depression, Strong became convinced that the new United Nations should become a world government, dedicated to ensuring that the wealth enjoyed by the richer countries of the West should be spread out around the world’s underprivileged majority.
In the Sixties, having become very rich himself from Canada’s oil industry, Strong came to see that the key to his vision was “environmentalism”, the one cause the UN could harness to make itself a truly powerful world government.
A superb political operator, in 1972 he set up a UN “Environment Conference” in Stockholm, to declare that the Earth’s resources were the common inheritance of all mankind. They should no longer be exploited for the benefit of only a few countries, at the expense of poorer countries across the globe.
To pursue this, he became founding director of a new agency, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), and in the Eighties he took up the cause of a tiny group of international meteorologists who had come to believe that the world faced catastrophic warming. In 1988, UNEP sponsored this little group into setting up the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
In 1992, now allied with the IPCC, Strong pulled off his greatest coup when he set up another new body, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), to stage that colossal “Earth Summit” over which he presided in Rio, arranging for it to be attended not only by 108 world leaders and 100,000 others but also by 20,000 UN-funded “green activists”. […]
But the wonderful irony is that the reason why Paris will fail, like Copenhagen before it, is that those “developing countries”, led by China and India – now the world’s first and third largest “CO2 emitters” – have not the slightest intention of curbing their emissions. It is for the West to do that, for creating “the problem”. Thus, just as he died, Strong’s dream is more than ever falling apart – thanks to those very countries his socialist vision was intended to help.