Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Greenpeace & UNEP – Cozy Under the Bedcovers

Greenpeace envisions a new system of global governance – in which unaccountable UN bureaucrats gain “real powers.”



The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) publishes a magazine called Our Planet. The February 2013 edition may be downloaded here. Of particular interest is an article on pages 16-17 written by Greenpeace.

To be precise, by Kumi Naidoo – the head of Greenpeace International – and by Daniel Mittler whose title is, get this, “Political Director, Greenpeace International.”

Greenpeace not only knows, it fully admits, that environmentalism is a political movement. The people who work for Greenpeace are advancing a particular worldview.

There would be nothing wrong with this if everyone was clear on that point. Indeed, if the media treated environmental activists with the skepticism that any political lobbyist deserves, if members of the public were reminded that lobbyists of every stripe mislead and exaggerate, if everyone understood that greens want power in exactly the same way that members of Conservative, Democrat, Labour, Liberal, Republican, and Tory parties want power, we’d all be better off.

Instead, when we look at a green activist too many of us still see a saint rather than a politician.

So what is Greenpeace’s political vision? Judging by this magazine article, it’s all about strengthening the position of the most unaccountable political body on the planet – the United Nations.

Most of us don’t pay much attention to the UN. But when you stop to think about it, it sounds like a recipe for disaster. Ordinary voters don’t elect UN officials. Nor do we have the ability to toss them from office when they misbehave.

Nothing like a democratic system of checks-and-balances exists at the UN level. Instead, UN organizations are all about elites who’ve managed to secure themselves a position at the top of the world’s political pyramid drawing up never-ending waves of rules and regulations the rest of us should follow.

Rather than doing something productive with their own lives, these unaccountable, meddling busybodies want to run yours. And Greenpeace is cheering them on.

According to this article, Greenpeace believes fervently that governments must deliver “transformational change” and “urgent action” in order to “safeguard our planet’s future.” But since democratically elected politicians (who actually need to care about public opinion) failed to follow that script at the Rio+20 summit last June, Greenpeace is determined to get its way via other means.

This involves “strengthening and upgrading” UNEP. In other words, by giving it more more money and more power. In Greenpeace’s words, UNEP should be transformed into

a global authority for the environment, with greatly enhanced implementation, compliance and enforcement mechanisms.

It should be given

the tools needed to effectively monitor implementation of multilateral environmental agreements – and to impose sanctions on those breaking the rules.

But that’s not all. Greenpeace envisions:

  • “global rules that change power dynamics and investment incentives”
  • global “rules on corporate accountability and liability”
  • “A binding global instrument that ensures full liability for any social or environmental damage global corporations cause”

The Greenpeace article disparages free markets and says that applying “strong controls” to such markets is “an integral part of the needed reform of global governance.” But it isn’t done yet. According to the article,

New fiscal instruments, such as a Financial Transaction Tax, need to be adopted to slow harmful speculation and deliver much needed finance for development and environmental protection. A complete social and environmental review of the global trade system is also long overdue.

Just in case we overlooked this article’s first two references to global governance, the last paragraph reminds us one more time that, in Greenpeace’s view,

We must thus strive for a true transformation of global governance… [bold added]

When you donate money to Greenpeace you are funding people who advocate a system of global governance. A system in which unaccountable UN bodies have “real powers” to pass extensive new regulations and then to force people, businesses, and nations to comply.

When you donate money to Greenpeace you are funding people who want new taxes, who want to meddle with the economic system in myriad ways, who believe the entire “global trade system” is their plaything.

What’s missing from this article is any discussion whatsoever of accountability, of checks-and-balances, of the necessity to ensure that a strengthened and upgraded UNEP would’t abuse its power. That’s not even on the radar.

Which means these Greenpeace officials aren’t serious grownups. They don’t live in the real world, where we’ve learned the hard way that good intentions often lead to horrific results.

Instead, these are old-fashioned lefties, recycling mush-headed, broken-record analyses. If only corporations were made to follow more rules. If only free markets were rigorously controlled. Why, the world would be perfect.

The next time you read about UNEP in the newspaper, remember that it and Greenpeace are the coziest of bedfellows – and that the world these people want to create will diminish your voice and your vote.



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This entry was posted on February 21, 2013 by in Greenpeace, NGOs and tagged , , , , .
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