- Called the “godfather of the U.N.’s 1997 Kyoto treaty”
- Leading figure in the international environmental movement and in “cap and trade”
- Received $1 million from the regime of Saddam Hussein, when it was facing UN sanctions
- Died in November 2015
Born on April 28, 1929, Maurice Strong grew up in Manitoba, Canada. His cousin was Anna Louise Strong, a Marxist journalist and activist with strong ties to Communist China. Mr. Strong went on to hold top positions in some of North America’s largest energy corporations and environmentalist entities. Notwithstanding his desire to replace American capitalism with a socialist alternative that would limit the wealth which any one person could acquire, he saw nothing wrong with being extremely rich himself: Maurice Strong became a billionaire.
In 1947, Strong took his first job as a clerk at the United Nations in New York. There, he befriended David Rockefeller, who helped to advance Strong and provided him with a network of influential contacts.
In 1966, Strong became head of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA). Six years later, UN Secretary General U Thant asked him to organize the 1972 Stockholm Conference on the Human Environment, which became the first Earth Summit.
In December 1972, the UN General Assembly elected Strong as the first executive director of the new UN Environment Program (UNEP), which was an outgrowth of the Stockholm Conference. During his three-year tenure with UNEP, Strong worked to establish the agency’s Earthwatch network and its foundational programs: the Global Environment Monitoring System (GEMS), the Global Resource Information Database (GRID), the International Environmental Information System (INFOTERRA), and the International Register for Potentially Toxic Chemicals (IRPTC). In its 1976 report from the first World Conference on Human Settlements, UNEP articulated a strongly anti-capitalist, pro-socialist position: “Private land ownership is a principal instrument of accumulating wealth and therefore contributes to social injustice. Public control of land use is therefore indispensable.” Accordingly, added UNEP, “[p]ublic ownership of land is justified in favor of the common good, rather than to protect the interest of the already privileged.”
In 1975, Strong was invited back to Canada to serve as CEO of Canada’s national oil company, Petro-Canada.
In 1976 Strong described himself as “a socialist in ideology, a capitalist in methodology.” He also advocated a “collectivist global government.”
In 1979, Strong left Petro-Canada to pursue a variety of business ventures, including a deal with Saudi billionaire Adnan Khashoggi which resulted in Strong owning the 200,000-acre Baca ranch in Colorado — land which Strong and his wife subsequently turned into a “New Age institution” called the Manitou Foundation. Mr. Strong also founded an entity called the Conservation Fund, whose purpose was “to study the mystical properties of the Manitou Mountain.”
Strong was the most active and influential member of the Brundtland Commission, a panel which the UN General Assembly established in 1983 to promote “sustainable development.” He helped produce the Commission’s 1987 report, Our Common Future, which, as a result of Strong’s influence, placed a heavy emphasis on the dangers of anthropogenic climate change and the virtues of socialist redistributionism. In the words of a report in the American Thinker, the Brundtland report:
- “was a call for social and economic egalitarianism within a simple Marxist dialectical framework”;
- “[claimed that] the antagonism between capitalist and proletarian worker mirrored the antagonism between industrialized and developing nations”;
- “identified [the First World] as the primary culprit behind Third-World underdevelopment [and] environmental degradation”;
- “[argued that] more money to the developing world from rich Western nations [was] the solution”; and
- “would become so influential that Western governments would try reversing the effects of the Industrial Revolution in their own countries through restrictions on CO2 emissions and increasing dependence on unreliable biofuels and green technologies.”
In 1985, Strong was named the executive coordinator of the UN Office for Emergency Operations in Africa.
In 1988, Strong persuaded UNEP and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to co-found an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to monitor manmade global warming and recommend measures — most notably wealth transfers from affluent to impoverished nations — by which the UN and Western governments could address that problem.
In 1989, Strong was appointed secretary-general of the upcoming 1992 Earth Summit.
In the early 1990s, Strong founded Agenda 21, a program run by the United Nations to promote sustainable development, curb global warming, and minimize the ways in which humans negatively impact the environment.
Also in the ’90s, Strong continued to promote the possibility of a new global order founded upon the tenets of radical environmentalism. From 1991-93, he served as secretary-general of the UN Conference on Environment and Development. Upon taking that post, Strong called for a radical change in the free-market economic system that had created so much wealth in the U.S. and elsewhere. Said Strong: “Current lifestyle and consumption patterns of the affluent middle class – involving high meat intake, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and workplace air-conditioning and surburban housing – are not sustainable. A shift is necessary which will require a vast strengthening of the multilateral system, including the United Nations.”
In 1992, Strong chaired the UN’s Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, a conference that shaped new international agreements on climate change and provided the foundation for what would eventually become the Kyoto Protocol five years later. Strong opened the 1992 Summit with a speech in which he declared that late 20th-century capitalism was suffering from the fact that industrialized countries had “developed and benefited from the unsustainable patterns of production and consumption which have produced our present dilemma.” He claimed that the world’s environmental ills were caused, in large measure, by middle-class lifestyles whose hallmarks included “high meat intake, consumption of large amounts of frozen and convenience foods, use of fossil fuels, appliances, home and work-place air-conditioning, and suburban housing.” Asserting that such features of modern life were “not sustainable,” Strong said: “A shift is necessary toward lifestyles less geared to environmentally damaging consumption patterns.” “We may get to the point,” he added, “where the only way of saving the world will be for industrialized civilization to collapse. Isn’t it our responsibility to bring this about?”
Also in 1992, Strong founded the Earth Council Alliance (ECA) and became its chairman for many years. Through ECA, he worked with Mikhail Gorbachev (acting as chairman of the Green Cross International) to create the Earth Charter, which called for a “sustainable global society founded on the principles of respect for the Earth and life in all its diversity, economic and social justice, and a culture of peace and non-violence.” Likening environmentalism to a religious faith, Strong declared that “the real goal of the Earth Charter is that it will in fact become like the Ten Commandments.” He and Gorbachev urged the UN to adopt the Charter, which they called a “citizen-based initiative.” They pointed out, however, that if the Charter were to be implemented, it would not “be subservient to the rules of state sovereignty, demands of the free market or individual rights.” Strong himself had long supported global governance at the expense of national sovereignty. In a 1992 essay, for example, he wrote: “It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation-states, however powerful. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the imperatives of global environmental cooperation.”
Claiming that the creation of a One World Government would help to promote security for all the Earth’s people, Strong wrote on another occasion: “The concept of national sovereignty has been an immutable, indeed sacred, principle of international relations. It is a principle which will yield only slowly and reluctantly to the new imperatives of global environmental co-operation. It is simply not feasible for sovereignty to be exercised unilaterally by individual nation states, however powerful. The global community must be assured of global environmental security.”
Additional examples of Strong’s commitment to global governance include the following:
- Strong served for some time on the Commission on Global Governance, whose manifesto, titled “Our Global Neighborhood,” called for a dramatic redistribution of the world’s wealth and political power. It advocated a phasing out of America’s veto in the UN Security Council, while increasing UN authority over member nations, declaring, “All member-states of the UN that have not already done so should accept the compulsory jurisdiction of the World Court.” To further advance the cause of wealth redistribution, the report advocated on behalf of: (a) the international taxation of multinational corporations; (b) the imposition of a worldwide carbon tax; and (c) the creation of a new international “Economic Security Council” to ensure that the world’s economic growth remains subjugated to “sustainable development” principles.
- Strong also believed that global governance could be achieved by manipulating and exploiting international concern about the alleged degradation of the environment. This, he said, might require an all-powerful, authoritarian government to terminate the voting process by which people have traditionally elected their political leaders. “Our concept of ballot box democracy may need to be modified to produce strong governments capable of making difficult decisions,” Strong asserted, “particularly in terms of safeguarding the global environment.”
In 1995 Strong headed a Massachusetts-based company called Molten Metal Technology, Inc. (MMTI), which claimed to have invented a process for recycling metals from waste but had failed to demonstrate that the technology could work on a commercial scale. Another MMTI leader was Peter Knight, the firm’s registered lobbyist and Al Gore’s former top Senate aide. On “Earth Day” in April 1995, Gore traveled to MMTI’s headquarters and praised the firm for its environmentally responsible work. At that time, MMTI had already received more than $25 million in U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) research-and-development grants. And although the company had no other sources of revenue, Gore’s laudatory speech caused its stock value to soar to $35 per share.
But in March 1996, MMTI’s corporate officers learned that the DOE was planning to drastically cut back its funding (for MMTI) in the near future. Between March and October 1996, seven MMTI officers—including Maurice Strong—quietly sold off $15.3 million in personal shares in the company, whose per-share value continued to hover around $35. Then on October 20, MMTI issued a press release announcing, for the first time, that its DOE subsidies would be scaled back dramatically. The next day, MMTI’s stock plunged by 49%, and it eventually dwindled to a mere $5 per share. In early 1997, stockholders filed an insider-trading class action lawsuit against MMTI and its officers. The suit closely resembled a previous insider-trading lawsuit in which Maurce Strong had also been involved.
During the 1990s as well, Strong was a member of the Foundation Board of the World Economic Forum, eventually becoming the board’s co-chair. In 1995 he was named senior advisor to the president of the World Bank. And in 1997 he became under-secretary-general of the United Nations and served as a special advisor to Kofi Annan, the head of the UN at that time.
Strong was a leading architect of the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement that set binding greenhouse-gas-reduction targets for 37 industrialized countries.
Also in the Nineties, Strong became involved in the United Nations Oil for Food Program. In 1997 he chaired Kofi Annan’s reform panel which reorganized the program’s scattered administration into one centralized office. That same year, Strong received a $988,885 check, issued by a Jordanian bank and financed by Saddam Hussein‘s regime, which was facing UN-imposed economic sanctions at that time. The check was personally delivered to Strong by Tongsun Park, a South Korean businessman, who was eventually convicted — in a New York federal court — of conspiring to bribe UN officials.
It was not until 2005 that Strong’s actions vis-a-vis Oil-for-Food were scrutinized. He denied any involvement in wrongdoing: “I had no involvement at all in Oil-for-Food … I just stayed out of it.” Strong initially denied any knowledge of the existence of the Jordanian check as well. But when investigators showed it to him, endorsed with his own signature, he stated that the money had been earmarked for a legitimate investment. Strong was never charged in the matter, but his involvement did cast a shadow over his UN career. He subsequently relocated to the city of Beijing in Communist China, where he served on the China Advisory Board of the Cleantech Group, an organization that provides investors, entrepreneurs, and global corporations with industry market intelligence vis-a-vis innovation in clean technologies.
In 2000 and 2001, the Joyce Foundation, on whose board Barack Obama sat at that time, made a grant of $1.1 million to fund the establishment of the Chicago Climate Exchange (CCX), which described itself as “North America’s only cap and trade system for all six greenhouse gases, with global affiliates and projects worldwide.” Maurice Strong became one of CCX’s nine directors. Al Gore’s General Investment Management, a carbon offset company, also exerted considerable influence over CCX and other carbon credit trading firms. Strong was a longtime friend of Gore and was a silent partner in Gore’s company.
In addition to his aforementioned pursuits, Strong was also involved in the UN Education Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). Through his work there, he promoted the concept of Gaia, the Earth God, to young people around the world. Moreover, he was the director of the New York City-based Temple of Understanding, located in St. John the Divine Church in Upper Manhattan. This Temple exhorted people concerned about the environment to replace Christianity with the worship of “mother earth.” Toward that end, the Temple sponsored a number of “Spiritual Summit” conferences and cultivated a worldwide network of spiritual leaders. It is reported that media mogul Ted Turner donated some $1 billion to Strong and his cult, of which Strong and Mikhail Gorbachev were the two top promoters.
Further, Strong served as president of the Council of the United Nations’ University for Peace, which was established under the authorization of the UN General Assembly and headquartered in Costa Rica.
Strong died on November 28, 2015.
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