Canadian journalist Donna Laframboise. Former National Post & Toronto Star columnist, past vice president of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association. New posts: Mondays & Wednesdays.
The disgraced former head of the UN smears skeptics while ignoring the dubious motivations of green opportunists.
When Kofi Annan’s term as Secretary General of the United Nations ended in 2006, few tears were shed. To quote the Economist, the 2004 Iraq oil-for-food scandal had “threatened to discredit the whole United Nations system and almost brought down Kofi Annan.” A UN-appointed panel uncovered $1.8 billion in illegal payments and concluded that Annan had made little effort to address this corruption. For good measure, Annan’s son was also implicated in the mess.
In other words, Kofi Annan has no business talking morality to the rest of us. But there he is, a career UN bureaucrat with a checkered past, being interviewed about climate change in the Guardian as though he has something original to contribute. The article is headlined: Kofi Annan: ‘We must challenge climate-change sceptics who deny the facts’. Here’s the nasty bit:
We seriously have to question the motivation of those people referred to as climate change sceptics, who are denying the evidence of human-caused climate change and preventing us from moving forward by spreading disinformation and supporting unchecked carbon pollution.
It takes a spectacular kind of chutzpah for someone as disgraced as this man to cast aspersions on other people. Evidently, there’s such a dearth of persuasive arguments in favour of the UN’s climate change aspirations that its former officials must spend their time maligning the character of folks who approach these matters with a different analysis.
But since Annan wants to talk about questionable motives, shouldn’t he be honest about the fact that hordes of individuals, industry groups, and corporations have jumped on the climate bandwagon for the sole reason that they see it as an opportunity to make a buck?
Exhibit #1 is the 2008 book, Billion Dollar Green: Profit from the Eco Revolution. According to the front flap of the dust jacket, “The greening of our world is perhaps the greatest wealth-building opportunity of the twenty-first century.” The back flap talks about “big returns” and “your journey down the green path to gold” (bold added).
Money. Filthy lucre. Some people will support anything if they think there’s a chance of getting rich in the process. In the green world, crassly exploitative schemes that rob the poor to benefit the affluent are often disguised as morally-admirable. Crony capitalism abounds. Projects sold to the public as planet-saving turn out to be vehicles for people with government connections to get their hands on taxpayer-funded loans and subsidies.
Human beings – whether they be climate skeptics or climate activists – are motivated by many things. Some are self-serving, others are altruistic. Implying that good people are found on only one side of the climate debate is infantile.
Kofi Annan is 77 years old. He should know better.