Big Picture News, Informed Analysis

Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise has been watching the climate world since 2009. What she sees isn't pretty.

The Earth League: Self-Important, Self-Appointed Busybodies

Once again, people described as “leading scientists” turn out to be economists, UN officials, and those with links to activist organizations.

Earlier this year, a new organization held its inaugural meeting in London. Called the Earth League, it’s described in a press release as:

a voluntary alliance of leading scientists and institutions addressing earth science and sustainability challenges… [bold added, backed up here]

Among these “leading scientists” we find an old friend – Jennifer Morgan. I’ve been following the career of this individual for a few years and, to my knowledge, she possesses no scientific credentials whatsoever.

Rather, she is a professional activist. Her CV includes a gig with the Climate Action Network. For a period of three years, she was the global climate change director for an organization known as E3G – which stands for Third Generation Environmentalism.

According to an online bio, Morgan joined the World Wildlife Fund

in July 1988 and headed its delegation to the Kyoto Protocol climate negotiations. Jennifer formulated and advocated climate change policies on the international and national level and directed WWF’s science, business and communications efforts, acting as chief spokesperson for the organization on climate change. [screencap here]

Just as her dearth of scientific credentials didn’t prevent her from being recruited by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it was no impediment to her appearing in this photograph of Earth League founding members:

EarthLeague_founding_member

Here’s how that photo looks on the Earth League website. The caption beneath it reads: “Leading scientists launched the ‘Earth League.'”

leading_scientists_EarthLea

click to see source

What purpose does the Earth League serve? It’s yet another organization that thinks we need “a global transformation toward sustainability.” These self-important busybodies intend to “work together to respond to some of the most pressing issues faced by humankind.”

Isn’t that nice. We’re further advised that,

By coming together in a self-organized alliance, the Earth League members will be a united voice in the global dialogue on planetary issues.

According to Guy Brasseur, the acting chair of the league:

This is a wonderful initiative which will address the challenges of sustainable development that are best investigated through a co-ordinated approach by leading experts. One of its roles will be to provide high-level decision-makers in business and government with analysis of the pressing global issues faced by society and potential responses. [bold added]

As far as I can tell, these so-called “leading experts” already have plenty of pulpits podiums from which to preach their version of the environmental gospel. Why they feel the need to establish yet another vehicle to disseminate their views is far from clear.

Their message, however, is tediously predictable. According to the League’s website, “societies around the world are currently witnessing severe crises,” with one of the problems being that “the gains of the human enterprise are distributed quite unevenly.” That last bit is a fancy way of saying that poverty remains a problem, and that these folks regard it as being a matter of “distribution.”

For goodness sake. We’ve been hearing exactly that message for forty years. Books such as:

tilled this ground a long, long time ago.

Every one of us deserves a voice in conversations about how best to respond to environmental and economic challenges. Yet these individuals seem to think that because, get this, they, as scientists,

have “the truth” as a common reference point…

they deserve special access to “high-level decision-makers in business and government.”

Who else is involved – and is thus being described as a “leading scientist”?

  • economist Nicholas Stern, author of the controversial Stern Review
  • Leena Srivastava, a close associate of the IPCC’s Rajendra Pachauri at TERI University – whose PhD is in “energy economics”
  • Youba Sokona, a UN official who “has served in various advisory capacities to African governments”
  • Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, who I’ve described previously as “the furthest thing from an objective, dispassionate scientist”
  • Nebojsa Kakicenovic, an economics professor who advises the UN
  • Pamela Matson, who “serves on the boards of the World Wildlife Fund and the ClimateWorks Foundation”

The complete list appears here.

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