EXCLUSIVE: Godfather of Global Green Thinking Steps Out of Shadows at Rio+20
June 20, 2012
Maurice Strong, the godfather of global environmentalism and organizer of the United Nations’ 1992 Rio environmental Earth Summit, is making a quiet comeback to the limelight on the eve of that meeting’s successor, the Rio + 20 summit on “sustainable development,” which starts June 20 in Brazil.
Strong, 82, has been taking part in a variety of conference side-events prior to the three-day meeting of some 130 top-level international leaders, part of a growing wave of hoopla and promotion that will climax at the summit leadership sessions. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is leading the U.S. delegation there.
His appearance at Rio + 20 is also the latest stage in a Long March through controversy that has kept Strong, a native Canadian who is widely deemed to be one of the key instigators of the global environmental movement, living a low-profile life in China for the past half-decade.
Now Strong is back on one of the stages where he feels most comfortable–a global U.N. conference on the environment–though the role he may play in the leaders’ sessions is not known. Questions sent by Fox News to the Rio + 20 conference organizers on Monday about his role had not been answered before this article was published.
Nonetheless, on Monday evening, Strong was introduced as a “very special guest of honor” at a “Corporate Sustainability Forum” organized by the U.N. Global Compact, a corporate group that has signed onto a variety of U.N. social and development goals. In a brief address, Strong lauded the assembled executives as “the most important meeting of Rio + 20,” and noted the number of corporate representatives attending from “the country where I live, which is called China.”
“If we are going to achieve the world we want, and not just the world we are going to get if we stay on the same course, it’s got to be led by the business community,” he said. “The real actors, the people who are going to make the change are the people in this room.”
While Strong’s presence is low-key, there is no doubt the U.N. has brought him to Rio in an official capacity, if nothing else as a living relic of the successful 1992 Earth Summit, where Strong served as conference secretary general. Strong has recently described himself as a “senior advisor to the secretary general” of the Rio + 20 conference, a high-level Chinese bureaucrat named Sha Zukang, who is also a top member of the U.N. Secretariat.
Documents examined by Fox News show that the Beijing office of the United Nations Development Program has paid Strong’s way, with a $13,000 round-trip air ticket from Beijing to New York to Rio and back. His hotels and living expenses are also being picked up, in what amounts to a three-week Rio + 20 junket.
Along the way, Strong has stirred up controversy, after he stopped off in Canada late last month to slam the incumbent Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, as a man whose “ideology seems to over-ride his understanding” on issues of climate change. Many Canadians were dismayed by the comments.
Conservative Party leader Harper, withdrew Canada late last year from the Kyoto Protocol on reducing greenhouse gas emissions, citing its crippling costs. Betwixt and between his many U.N. postings, Strong has been associated with the opposition Liberal Party.
Controversy, along with radical environmental and economic views, is what Strong has long been known for. He took up residence in Beijing in 2005, after serving as the U.N.’s special envoy to North Korea, when investigators of the Oil for Food scandal uncovered the fact that he had cashed a check for nearly $1 million from Tongsun Park, a South Korean political fixer later convicted of conspiring to bribe U.N. officials on behalf of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.
Strong was never accused of any wrongdoing, and said his move to China at that time was no more than a coincidence.
Since then Strong, an avowed life-long socialist, has been engaged, in low-key fashion, in a number of business deals involving the Chinese government. He also served as a director of the Chicago Climate Exchange, one of the first attempts to create a commercial cap-and-trade market in the U.S. Recently, he has also taken part in preliminary walk-up meetings for Rio + 20 in China, though without official title.
Giving Strong one last star turn on a U.N. environmental stage, despite his past brushes with scandal, is an interesting gambit for the U.N, though it has apparently approached the matter cautiously.
The fact is that Strong is the closest thing to global environmentalism’s patron saint–or, to conservative critics, the foremost grey eminence of the movement to expand “global environmental governance”–which is once more on the international agenda at Rio + 20. His presence adds another dimension of historical luster among fervent environmentalists, something that has been lacking as the gathering bogged down in negotiating acrimony in its preliminary stages.
Rio + 20 conference: Negotiators producing a mammoth, messy and expensive grab bag of regulations and demands
Three of the continuing, controversial themes of Strong’s long U.N. career, are uppermost at Rio + 20: strong support for China as a world power, a greater role for global regulation of the environment, and a radical overhaul of the world’s economic system.
RELATED to the EARTH CHARTER:
From Canada Free Press: More information about Maurice Strong and financier George Soros.
All that President Barack Obama is doing to transform America, Free World over to One World Government begins and ends with one Maurice Strong. Soros is merely the financier
By Judi McLeod Thursday, May 13, 2010
PAY ATTENTION AMERICA!
Read by clicking on blue lettered link below
Obama believes the most important issue of second term is ‘climate change’. Crony Capitalism Continues. What About the American People, Jobs and the Economy?
President Obama Signs Executive Order Allowing for Control Over All US Resources. Is the Center for American Progress the Shadow Party that Controls Obama?
If Progressives Can’t Get A Climate Bill Passed: An End Around Congress AGAIN! The Green Climate Fund; Mammoth New Fund NOT Part of the UN. Who Is Behind it?
(The Shadow Party created by George Soros, Hillary Clinton and Harold Ickes? )
***Van Jones is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress**
Making the Green Climate Fund a Reality
A Durban Push Could Launch Tool to Help Developing Countries Respond to Global Warming
By Richard W. Caperton, Andrew Light | December 9, 2011
The Green Climate Fund is part of the pledge made in the Cancun, Mexico, U.N. climate summit agreements to mobilize $100 billion annually by 2020 for climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts in developing countries, which are the most vulnerable to climate impacts in the years to come. While the fund itself is not tasked with mobilizing all of this financing, it will be a key component of those efforts.
Signs the fund will come together are also good news for those observing the evolution of the United States’ negotiating position at the summit in the past two weeks. The United States approved the agreement at the Cancun summit last year to create the fund, but its confidence in the fund was in question recently.
In Cancun an official “Transition Committee” of 40 countries was created to meet over the course of the past year to create an implementing document to make the fund a reality. The “TC,” as it came to be called, met four times, with the last meeting in Cape Town, South Africa, in mid-October. At that meeting the United States dissented in the final hours with the other members of the TC and, along with Saudi Arabia, withheld its consent to the implementing document.
Because this U.N. process operates under a de facto consensus process, many parties were concerned that the failure of the TC to come to consensus in Cape Town would mean disaster in Durban.The co-chairs of the TC believed that if the TC came to consensus in Cape Town, then the 194 parties in the full U.N. meeting of the Conference of the Parties of the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change would simply adopt the document and establish the Green Climate Fund.
But without consensus among the TC, many experts thought that this could lead to an outcome where the TC’s work would be put in jeopardy as other parties picked over the draft until it was changed so dramatically that agreement was no longer possible. Still, hoping for the best, the co-chairs of the TC sent their draft implementing document on to the UNFCCC. With the work of the TC done, it is now up to parties to the UNFCCC to approve the GCF in Durban in the final hours of this meeting.
While a few questions remain, it now looks like the United States is getting closer to approving the Green Climate Fund. In his press conference on December 8 in Durban, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change Todd Stern said he was “confident” that despite lingering questions, the fund would get done.
The United States said in Cape Town that they were concerned both about the UNFCCC’s authority over the governing board of the fund, and the ability of the fund to engage and mobilize private finance. The United States has been clear that it does not want to create a fund that is controlled by climate negotiators rather than finance experts, and it wants to ensure that these finance experts have free reign to attract as much private capital as possible with limited public resources. But we argue that the current draft document is sufficient to overcome these concerns.
Over the last two years, CAP has talked with clean energy companies, global investors, international development advocates, and environmental leaders about the new fund. Our research finds that a successful Green Climate Fund will have several characteristics,including the following:
The fund’s management will have independence from the UNFCCC bureaucracy to make the most cost-effective funding decisions.
The fund will be specifically designed to attract large amounts of private capital.
The fund will have a variety of financial tools to provide targeted supports that meet the specific needs of each funding recipient.
The fund will have a trustee capable of managing billions of dollars in accordance with the strongest possible accounting standards.
The fund will make both adaptation and mitigation funding available.
The fund will consider gender balance, including in the composition of the board and designing projects.
The fund will be performance-based and data-driven.
Our conclusion is that there is no way a fund without these characteristics will play a significant and effective role in mobilizing $100 billion per year by 2020 for climate adaptation and mitigation, the goal agreed to by parties at the 2009 UNFCCC meeting in Copenhagen. If the fund has to seek approval from the revolving set of climate negotiators that make up the UNFCCC meetings from year to year to use a limited set of tools—just grants for adaptation projects, for example—to disburse money that only comes in from public sources—primarily donations from developed countries like the United States—it simply will not work. A fund that worked like this would be a wasted opportunity.
Fortunately, though, the draft text of the fund describes an institution that does not have to work like this. The proposal creates a fund where independent management can use a wide variety of tools to attract both public and private capital, and can use that capital to finance both adaptation and mitigation projects.
In fact, the proposed fund meets all of the criteria for it to be a success. The proposal is an exciting opportunity to build a fund that will mobilize large amounts of capital to help the world avoid the most catastrophic effects of climate change. For reasons discussed below, we are optimistic that the fund will be successful if the negotiators in Durban allow it to move forward.
First, the proposed fund creates a management system that insulates decision-making from the cumbersome U.N. bureaucracy. It does this by creating a board, and then putting the board in charge of appointing a secretariat, who is tasked with the day-to-day operations of the fund. While the UNFCCC is technically in charge of the board, they have not built in tools that you would expect to see from an organization that expected to exercise significant control over the board or the fund’s operations. The proposal, for example, does not have a procedure for removing someone from the board, nor does it list specific decisions that have to come before the UNFCCC.
Second, the proposed fund can help draw private capital into international climate finance. Not only is the board specifically authorized to create “instruments or facilities” beyond just grants and low-interest loans, but the proposal also clearly states that “The Fund will seek to catalyze additional public and private finance through its activities.” CAP has previously proposed financial instruments such as policy insurance, loan guarantees, and equity investments that will attract private investors to this market, and we are glad to see that the proposed fund would allow those tools.
Third, the new tools the board creates are not just useful for bringing in private capital but are also good ways for the fund to use public money efficiently. Consider a renewable energy project: If the project will bring in money by selling power, it may be able to pay money back to its funders. In this case, the fund could be better off by providing a loan to the project instead of a grant. This is a simplified example that shows how having a variety of tools at its disposal can help the fund get the most bang for its buck.
Fourth, the fund will be working with billions of dollars every year, and it has selected a trustee that will be able to manage that money competently. The World Bank—whom the proposal names as the trustee for the first three years of the fund—has the relevant expertise to fill this role. Then the fund will be able to select a new trustee, which will allow commercial banks to bid on providing this service.
Finally, every aspect of the proposed fund is designed to meet the needs of both adaptation and mitigation investments. The board will ultimately decide how much money is directed toward each type of project, but the proposal instructs them to make these decisions using a “results-based approach.” That is, the fund must be used cost effectively.
For those that do not know Maurice Strong and his connections to Al Gore, Joel Rogers and George Soros:
Chicago Climate Exchange
Maurice Strong is one of the current Directors of CCX. He was also one of the main architects of the failing Kyoto Protocol.
Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX) operates North America’s only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide.
CCX Members are leaders in greenhouse gas (GHG) management and represent all sectors of the global economy, as well as public sector innovators. Reductions achieved through CCX are the only reductions made in North America through a legally binding compliance regime, providing independent, third party verification by the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA, formerly NASD). The founder and chairman of CCX is economist and financial innovator Dr. Richard L. Sandor, who was named a Hero of the Planet by Time Magazine in 2002 for founding CCX, and in 2007 as the “father of carbon trading.”
CCX emitting Members make a voluntary but legally binding commitment to meet annual GHG emission reduction targets. Those who reduce below the targets have surplus allowances to sell or bank; those who emit above the targets comply by purchasing CCX Carbon Financial Instrument® (CFI®) contracts.