Kofi Annan, U.N.'s U.S. Critic At Large

Posted: May 23, 2001 12:00 AM
Critics of the United Nations are getting more ammunition each week to prove that this international body is not exactly an America-friendly entity. Ironically, the ammunition is coming directly from that hallowed organization itself. A few weeks ago, the United States -- the most humanitarian nation in world history -- was expelled from the U.N. Human Rights Commission mainly by countries specializing in human rights abuses. This week, U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan denounced our president for his position on global warming. As if speaking on behalf of the Democratic National Committee, Annan castigated Bush during a commencement address at Tufts University School of Law and Diplomacy for his refusal to implement the Kyoto international climate treaty. Worse, Annan’s comments were timed to coincide with the president’s energy speech. "Imagine melting polar icecaps and rising sea levels threatening beloved and highly developed coastal areas such as Cape Cod with erosion and storm surges," said Annan. "Imagine a warmer and wetter world in which infectious diseases such as malaria and yellow fever spread more easily." Yes, and imagine a political climate where actual science was as exalted as junk science. Imagine a society free of the tyranny of political correctness where people could express skepticism about the conventional wisdom among the cultural elite without fear of vilification by the left. Imagine a United Nations not dominated by third world countries congenitally antagonistic to the United States and jealous and resentful of her capitalism and prosperity. Imagine the existence of a dispassionate mainstream media that would report all sides of an issue, instead of just the side comporting with their ideological predisposition. Imagine, but don’t expect it. The Media Research Center, the premiere watchdog of the non-watchdog media, has studied the major networks’ coverage of the issue, and its conclusions are hardly a testimony to their objectivity. ABC, CBS and NBC are all so committed to the notion that human-caused global warming portends disaster for the Earth that they entirely excluded the opposing point of view from their evening newscasts this year. Out of 51 global warming stories aired between January 20 and April 22, only Fox News and CNN acknowledged a lack of consensus among scientists as to global warming, according to MRC. While the likes of Dan Rather insist their networks are agenda-free, they can’t explain why they won’t report that there is no consensus among scientists as to global warming in general and human exacerbation of it, in particular. According to climate expert Fred Singer, head of the Science and Environmental Policy Project, "Weather satellite observations, the only truly global measurements independently confirmed by weather balloon data, show little, if any, rise in mean temperature ... since about 1940." Perhaps even more significantly, Dr. Sallie Baliunas of Harvard’s Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics contends that "while the Earth is about 1 degree F warmer than it was a century ago, it was much warmer a few hundred years ago, long before the smokestack was invented." In addition, an international team of scientists recently found major discrepancies in temperature measurements over the last century, suggesting that the degree of global warming is much less than previously believed. No, you won’t hear about these facts from the media because they, like Annan, are more interested in demonizing America and capitalism -- an evil economic system whose taint only they can escape while simultaneously basking in its fruits. In his speech, Annan revealed his real agenda when he singled out the United States as having special responsibility to fight global warming because it "is the world’s leading emitter of greenhouse gases largely because it is the world’s most successful economy." Annan’s audacity is stunning. Let him reserve his lectures for the angelic, anti-capitalist "developing countries" who initially will be exempted from Kyoto’s requirement that developed countries reduce their greenhouse emissions by an average of 5.2 percent of their 1990 levels over the next decade. Annan obviously fails to grasp the relationship between free markets and environmental measures. By arguing that unless we protect our natural resources we will not be able to sustain economic growth, he has it exactly backwards. Conservation doesn’t promote economic growth; economic growth and technological progress lead to innovative environmental solutions and greater efficiencies (conservation). It is refreshing that President Bush doesn’t rely on Kofi Annan’s energy or environmental advice -- or the DNC’s, for that matter -- and that he has the courage to dare to be guided by real science rather than emotion in his approach to energy and the environment.