The Week That Was
April 15, 2000

Here in Washington we are getting ready for the major demonstrations against the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, scheduled for April 16 and 17. Of course, there are some sober economists who would gladly abolish both organizations, particularly the IMF. [As they see it, neither the Bank nor the Fund address the fundamental problems bedeviling the Third World -bad government, corruption, and a lack of freedom and property rights; they just keep shoveling money into often inappropriate projects, preempting private investment.]

But this is different. The demonstrators don't want to do away with the Bank, but rather bend it to their own goals. Like building solar power plants instead of fossil-fueled ones. Or a whole slew of other goals, from doing away with genetically modified crops to population control. And as the National Taxpayers Union has discovered, more than $15 million of federal grant money has gone to sponsors of the demonstrations or to labor and environmental groups whose affiliates are participating.

Their technique is civil disobedience, honed by such groups as the Ruckus Society, which styles itself as the "nation's boot camp" for civil disobedience. Their training camp is sponsored by the Rainforest Action Network, by Free The Planet, and by Ozone Action, the group that serves as an attack dog and does the dirty work for more respectable Green zealots.

According to a story by Craig Pittman of the St. Petersburg (Fla.) Times, Ruckus has trained about 2000 activists in the last 5 years, at a cost of $30,000 to $40,000 each. The support for what some would call eco-terrorism comes from Ted Turner and a slew of foundations (listed on the Ozone Action web page). Ruckus' founder, Mike Roselle, trained with Greenpeace and Earth First! and boasts of more than 40 arrests. Ozone Action shows its true colors; they are in this to fight "corporate greed" -- while taking corporate money.

This recalls a (Sept. 1998) speech by Malcolm Wallop, former US senator from Wyoming and now chairman of the Frontiers of Freedom Institute. He discussed the $5 million grant by the Pew Charitable Trust to set up the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Joe Pew was a rib-rocked Republican who built his fortune on Sun Oil. The Center bearing his name is now used to promote the Kyoto Protocol, which seeks to phase out all fossil fuels including oil. The Center sees its main mission as signing up major corporations to advance Kyoto, asking them to put aside their own special interests to pursue the "common good" - whatever that may be. Several companies have jumped on the global warming bandwagon and abandoned the anti-Kyoto Global Climate Coalition to pursue this fuzzily-defined, feel-good common good.

"That at least is the ostensible reason. On the other hand, cynics may claim that those companies on the Pew Center's list think they can gain some competitive advantage with implementation of the Kyoto Protocol. The world may indeed be poorer after Kyoto's targets are met, but their companies will be more profitable." Wallop continued: "There is probably something to this charge. And it is also true that some of these companies simply want to get some good publicity for being 'pro-environmental'. Indeed, one company sent out a press release when it joined the Pew Center, which explained that the company did not actually support ratification of the Kyoto Protocol, but simply wanted to be seen as a constructive participant in the debate."

Just to close the circle on this appalling story, we quote from "The Observer," a major left-leaning British Sunday paper, part of the Guardian group:

"…Global warming must be accepted unambiguously as the trigger for increasingly unstable weather fronts, storms, melting glaciers and rising seas. 'We can no longer say we are still unsure whether extreme weather events are caused by global warming or not,' says Dr Mike Hulme, of the Climate Research Unit at East Anglia University. 'When we look at the Mozambique floods, at the storms in France, at the absence of winter in Britain this year, at the avalanches in the Alps, we are witnessing events that are now clearly tainted by human actions.' Many experts predict that the family of someone killed in a storm or avalanche may soon follow the example of litigants against cigarette companies and sue oil companies for pumping carbon dioxide in to the atmosphere."

The Observer applauds the fact that (prime minister) Tony Blair has upped Britain's goal from 12.5% to a 20% cut in CO2 emissions. "Other European nations have been equally enthusiastic." Not so the United States, the "one major blot on the political landscape," where Congress has refused to ratify Kyoto. "This failure can be traced to US experts" who aim to "turn global warming from a 'fact' into a 'theory' in the minds of the American public."

Unfortunately (acc. to The Observer), "the reformers and the world have been undone by a combination of factors: the election of a right-wing Republican Senate opposed to any attempt to curb Americans' right to have lives as wasteful and as profligate as they like, the entrenchment of the Global Climate Coalition, and (quoting from the book 'Earth Odyssey' by author Mark Hertsgaard) 'the long-term and deeply ingrained relationship between the Gore family and one of industry's giants Occidental Petroleum.'" [The Observer conveniently ignores the fact that the Senate vote in July 1997 was 95 to 0,and obviously bipartisan].

What irony! We don't know whether to laugh or to cry…

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