Eco-socialist Shell Game
by Jennifer A. Gritt

What do you get when you combine the Kyoto Protocol, the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, and a Department of Energy report? A blueprint for a globalist victory.

On October 18, 2000, the U.S. Senate, in an unrecorded voice vote, ratified the UN Convention to Combat Desertification. This treaty was not debated. There was absolutely no mass media coverage leading up to the vote; there was virtually no media coverage after. Most Americans were completely unaware of what this treaty was about, and those few who did have some knowledge of it were generally under the impression that it only concerned those nations that are currently battling drought, such as those in Africa. But despite its name, the Desertification treaty is not about combating drought. It is about regulating land use, and the body it designates as the authority responsible for overseeing enforcement of its measures is the United Nations.

In November 2000, the UN held a climate conference in the Netherlands. Delegates from around the world gathered in the Hague to begin the arduous task of hammering out the details for implementing the Kyoto Protocol on global warming. Ever since its creation, concerns over the treaty were voiced by GOP senators, the agricultural lobby, and many other groups of concerned Americans due to the radical nature of the global environmental program. If ratified, the United States, along with other industrialized nations, would be susceptible to UN regulations on major industries, forcing them to incorporate expensive carbon emissions reduction programs in order to comply with the emissions standards set by the 1997 Kyoto accord. Kyoto would have immediate and dire effects on the industrialized economies of the world, causing a dramatic increase in the bureaucratic framework of the UN and further enabling the world body to impose its will upon sovereign nations. It is for these reasons, along with the fact that the the global warming theory is seriously flawed, that this treaty met with strong grassroots conservative opposition.

Both these treaties contain stipulations for the transference of greater regulatory power to the UN over domestic policy in America. One was ratified; the other was stopped. Why? In examining how these treaties unfolded and the histories behind them, there is an unfortunate connection. It is a connection that has transformed a successful opposition campaign in the Hague into a victory for internationalists intent on completing globalization under the UN.

As the crescendo of conservative applause continues to greet the entrance of the Bush administration, the constitutionalists of America are facing a monumental challenge. What the Clinton administration has failed to accomplish overtly during the past eight years due to strong conservative opposition is now being pursued covertly with strong conservative support. Now, in the legacies of the Kyoto and Desertification treaties, a globalist blueprint for the further undermining of the U.S. Constitution can be found ? a blueprint that is designed to erode American sovereignty quietly and with less resistance.

America?s Reality

Introduced by Senator Craig Thomas (R-Wyo.), the UN Convention to Combat Desertification was included in a package of 34 treaties, most of which were single-issue treaties with individual nations. Originally, the Desertification treaty was one of many environmental treaties that emerged from the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Signed by the Clinton administration in 1994, the treaty was then buried in the Senate Foreign Relations Committee until the October 2000 vote. It is important to note that a similar treaty that also emerged from the Rio de Janeiro conference, the UN Convention on Biological Diversity, failed ratification in 1994. The Biodiversity treaty is closely related to the UN?s "Wildlands Project" in that its backbone is the UN?s Global Biodiversity Assessment (GBA). As William Norman Grigg points out in the next article (see page 17), the GBA specifically refers to the Wildlands Project as the template for biodiversity protection. Unlike the Desertification treaty, the Biodiversity treaty was heavily debated in the Senate where it was shot down due to specific concerns regarding UN intrusion into U.S. domestic policy.

During the Senate debate on the Biodiversity treaty on September 30, 1994, Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-Texas) stated: "I am especially concerned about the effect of the [Biodiversity] treaty on private property rights in my state and throughout America. Private property is constitutionally protected, yet one of the draft protocols to this treaty proposes ?an increase in the area of connectivity of habitat.? It envisions buffer zones and corridors connecting habitat areas where human use will be severely limited. Are we going to agree to a treaty that will require the U.S. Government to condemn property for wildlife highways?" (This vision of connected buffer zones and corridors reflects in its entirety the UN?s "Wildlands Project.") In 1994, U.S. senators answered Hutchison?s question by allowing the Biodiversity treaty to die on the Senate floor. But with the subsequent ratification of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the Senate has agreed to a treaty that will require the U.S. government to condemn property under the pretense that the person who owns it can potentially cause the land to become a desert.

As Henry Lamb, executive vice president of the Environmental Conservation Organization, points out: "The United States is now bound by international law that claims the power to dictate land use in 70% of the earth?s land." He also notes that "the treaty seeks to prevent land use that its enforcers think may lead to desertification." According to literature provided by the UN, this includes converting forests to pasture, pasture to crops, or crop land to subdivisions.

So why was the Desertification treaty allowed to pass with such ease? Since the unrecorded voice vote does not provide the information as to who voted how, thereby eliminating the ability to ask the senators responsible, one can only look to the Senate?s resolution of ratification ? and it opens some rather interesting doors.

The Congressional Record for October 18, 2000 provides the resolution with annexes as it was read to the Senate. Included in the clause entitled "Understandings" is a section subtitled "United States Land Management." Here it is emphasized that because the U.S. falls under the category of "developed country party" as defined by the treaty, it is not "required to prepare a national action program," nor is it required to change its "existing land management practices and programs." However, that which the UN is apparently not "requiring" from America, the U.S. Senate demands in its "Provisos."

Part one of the "Provisos" specifies that, "two years after the date the Convention enters into force for the United States, and biennially thereafter, the Secretary of State shall provide a report to the Committee on Foreign Affairs of the Senate." This report will include "an assessment of the adequacy of each national action program (including the timeliness of the program submittal), the degree to which the plan attempts to fully implement the Convention, the degree of involvements by all levels of government in implementation of the Convention, and the percentage of government revenues expended on implementation of the Convention." The report will also include "an identification of the specific benefits to the United States, as well as United States persons, (including United States exporters and other commercial enterprises), resulting from United States participation in the Convention."

So it would appear that the United States has imposed upon itself the requirement to develop a "national action program" ? the UN qualification notwithstanding. However, the Senate will not have to wait two years for the development of a national program because it has already been outlined. It is one of many things encapsulated in a recent Department of Energy (DOE) report entitled Scenarios for a Clean Energy Future ? a report that played an important role in the UN climate talks in the Hague.

America Distracted

Despite the Clinton administration?s support for ratifying the Kyoto treaty, strong opposition in the Senate has kept it from becoming a reality. Of the American politicians who attended the November climate talks in the Hague, Senators Chuck Hagel (R-Neb.) and Larry Craig (R-Idaho) consistently maintained their wariness of Kyoto?s potential strain on the U.S. economy and threat to sovereignty. Hagel?s new found internationalism though, casts doubt on the sincerity of his opposition to such globalist instruments as the Kyoto Protocol.

In 1997, the Republican senator was known for adamantly opposing the Kyoto accord. However, upon becoming a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Hagel was not shy about revealing his globalist sympathies. According to a published report of the annual meeting of the Trilateral Commission in March 1999, the senator declared: "There is no such thing as a border anymore. Congress is behind in grasping this fact.... We have to face the fact that we live in a global community anchored by a global economy." Hagel, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee (which attached the Desertification treaty to the package of treaties ratified in October), may still oppose Kyoto. However, being party to the process of ratifying the Desertification treaty, it would seem highly unlikely Senator Hagel was not aware that this treaty preserved Kyoto?s internationalism while at the same time offering a more circumspect approach to combatting the nebulous threat of global warming.

And so, in what appeared to be an effort to appease those who, like Hagel, rejected the radical nature of the climate talks, the U.S. proposed the use of agricultural "sinks" as a way to meet target emissions standards. Basing its arguments on the aforementioned DOE report, the U.S. introduced what at first glance appears to be an economically friendly way to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by way of "emissions credits." These credits would be earned by creating, supporting, and protecting large areas of vegetation and soil that absorb carbon. The credit would be counted against current emissions, thereby alleviating the need to impose regulations on industry. The DOE report provides multiple "national action programs" ranging from "business as usual" to "advanced." Since the long-term benefits predicted in the "advanced" program (which includes support for agricultural sinks as well as tax incentives for major industries) are seemingly benevolent both environmentally and economically, it is easy to understand how some people would initially applaud this proposal. In fact, according to a Reuters report dated November 16, 2000, the U.S. plan was received positively by the EU as a "good ?first step? toward reaching a compromise in the difficult talks on how to slow global warming."

Then, in a peculiar shift, the EU (whose presidency is currently held by France) suddenly rejected the U.S. plan, accusing the United States of ducking out on its global responsibility to reduce carbon emissions. According to another Reuters report dated November 20, 2000, French President Jacques Chirac criticized the U.S. by declaring: "It is in the Americans, in the first place, that we place our hopes of effectively limiting greenhouse gas emissions on a global scale. No country can elude its share of the collective effort." On November 22nd, Guardian reporter Paul Brown quoted French environment minister Dominique Voynet as saying, "We are seeking ways we can meet our commitments, not ways we can avoid them and create new escape routes. The US is trying to avoid domestic measures to curb emissions and create a series of loopholes, in effect unravelling the treaty." Dismissing the approach offered by the United States, Voynet seemed more concerned with protecting the radical integrity of the Kyoto treaty. "We are not prepared to be led down a road which would destroy the particularly hard work we have built over three years, " she concluded.

Leftist environmental groups were quick to agree. The Los Angeles Times for November 24, 2000 reported that the UN talks were gridlocked with "many environmentalists and delegates casting the United States in the role of chief villain." Philip Clapp of the National Environmental Trust told a press conference organized by U.S. ecological groups, "we have concluded that the U.S. has brought these negotiations to the brink of failure by seeking loophole after loophole." Bill Nye, a television host and a member of the Union of Concerned Scientists, stressed that "if the U.S. can take that extra step, I think we can go forward and ? dare I say it ? change the world."

Conservatives opposing Kyoto reacted differently. In response to the attack by President Chirac, Senator Hagel told reporters at the Hague: "To single out the United States as he did rather directly, does not facilitate a cooperative spirit." Senator Larry Craig, although admitting that the United States was guilty of wasting energy, agreed with his fellow senator in denouncing the attacks on the U.S. proposal as being "unproductive." Craig went on to point out that two-thirds of the U.S. agricultural industry is exported to countries around the world. "Are [our farmers] large consumers of energy? Yes. Are they large producers? Yes. They?re proud of it."

Yet pride is not the only factor motivating American farmers. According to a Reuters report for November 18, 2000: "The United States would be more likely to sign up to a deal on cutting global warming ?greenhouse gases? if it were allowed to pay its farmers to use unwanted fields as carbon ?sinks.?" Farmers would receive financial compensation by setting aside farmland for forestry and incorporating "climate friendly" agricultural methods ? like not turning forests into pastures, or pastures to crops. U.S. Under Secretary of Agriculture Jim Lyons told reporters, "there?s some excitement about the potential to compensate farmers for carbon sequestration." The American Farm Bureau, which greatly opposed Kyoto, pointed out in a letter to U.S. Farm Secretary Dan Glickman: "If we are to move beyond the deeply held concerns of the agricultural community, it is important that the current negotiations provide the greatest possible flexibility for the U.S. to fully and immediately account for carbon sequestered through agricultural activities." John McClelland, director of energy and analysis at the National Corn Growers Association, emphasized, "if sinks are not included, what that says to farmers is that you can pay [extra fuel] costs for the Kyoto Protocol but you won?t get any benefits."

So in what appeared to be a result from pressure from the agricultural lobby, as well as other conservatives opposing Kyoto, the United States did not back down from its proposal at the UN climate conference. Despite the numerous attacks by the EU and environmental groups, the American stance in the Hague was immutable. The talks ended in failure, but not before revealing an ominous connection to the Desertification treaty.

According to the November 20th Reuters report, after criticizing the United States proposal, President Chirac called for a "revolution in our way of thinking" in order to change the way industrial economies consume natural resources. He stated: "Cutting down on our consumption of raw materials, diversifying our sources of supply, recycling waste, [using] new materials, energy efficiency and developing renewable energies: these are the choices that ought to inspire us in our policy making." Remarkably, the DOE report on which the U.S. proposal was based outlines in great detail how these exact "choices" can be incorporated into domestic policies. In a tragic display of irony, Chirac continued: "If it were to be [scientifically] confirmed that reforestation, the fight against desertification and the fight against global warming can be mutually reinforcing, then we would be wrong to rule out this course."

Support for the Kyoto treaty died as a result of conservative opposition being heard. The Desertification treaty came alive without any opposition at all. The tie that binds these two together is the DOE report that not only outlines how America can meet her target emissions standards, but also maps out the "national action program" that will inevitably be "required" in order to "combat desertification." The DOE report also serves to pacify the conservative opposition that rejected Kyoto by rendering popular the compromise that speaks directly to desertification ? namely the agricultural "sinks." And now, due to the October 18th actions of the U.S. Senate, these "sinks" fall under the regulatory control of the United Nations.

A Wolf in Sheep?s Clothing

The quiet ratification of the Desertification treaty sets a dangerous precedent for the future of American politics. Despite the dubious conservative "victory" over Kyoto, the UN still achieved U.S. assistance in further building a body of global law that upon acquiring the means to enforce it (through military or policing mechanisms) and the means to settle international disputes that might arise because of it (through the establishment of the ICC) would allow the UN to legally dictate domestic policy in America. But what is an even greater cause for alarm is the neutralizing of the grassroots conservative voice of opposition that permeated the American heartland.

During the Clinton administration, this voice was heard protesting the numerous occasions the president invoked the Antiquities Act of 1906 to justify signing into perpetual protection huge chunks of the American homeland. This voice protested the payment of UN dues and called for bringing U.S. soldiers home from Kosovo. This voice succeeded in stifling the Test Ban Treaty. And now that the political dust has settled from the 2000 election and America watches the Bush administration unfold, this voice of opposition has voluntarily faded into conciliatory silence.

It is up to the concerned citizens of America to recognize the possibilities introduced as a result of the events in the Hague. Now more than ever, political vigilance is called for. Most American conservatives believe that George W. Bush represents the chance to reverse the radically socialist agenda of the Clinton administration. Conservative America is not only breathing a sigh of relief, it is anxiously awaiting the implementation of campaign promises ? and yet certain questions remain. Exactly how many UN treaties are currently buried in Senate committees? How many individual rights will perish because of them? How much American freedom will ultimately be destroyed? Because as it stands, the United States is being eroded from within ? swept from history by the resonating sound of a faceless unison of "yeas."