Researchers Prove Lack of Transparency and Accountability in Global Governance
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Critics of the United Nations global governance agenda often point to the lack of transparency and accountability associated with UN research efforts. Last week, the soundness of this criticism was supported by news that some of the world's leading global climate change scientists had deleted, doctored, withheld, or stonewalled the publication of information that might prove detrimental to the UN's effort to regulate human activity that allegedly causes global warming.
At issue is the veracity of the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) Fourth Assessment Report, presented in 2007 as the consensus view on the degree to which man-made climate change has become a global crisis. The Fourth Assessment Report, referred to in the climate change scientific community as "AR4," was one of the foundational documents supporting the call for the adoption of an international climate treaty at the upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. Earlier this month, due in part to the waning support of the Obama Administration's policies, UN climate negotiator Yvo de Boer concluded that it is "unrealistic" to expect the Copenhagen conference to produce a new, comprehensive climate treaty. Now, developments in the climate change scientific research community have likely sealed the deal against the adoption of such a treaty.
As it turns out, thousands of e-mails and documents, posted on the Internet last week after being hacked from the Climate Change Research Unit at East Anglia University in the United Kingdom, raise ethical questions about a group of influential scientists who contend that humans are responsible for global warming. The e-mails and documents reveal a pattern of conduct that includes:
• Considering ways to delete any information that might be sought under the Freedom of Information Act by two leading critics of the man-made global warming contention. ("Can you delete any emails you may have had with Keith re AR4? Keith will do likewise.");
• Privately lamenting the fact that there is no evidence that temperatures have increased over the past ten years. ("The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't. . . . Our observing system is inadequate.");
• Discussing ways on how to keep opposing views from being published in The UN IPPC's report. ("I can't see either of these papers being in the next IPCC report. Kevin and I will keep them out somehow - even if we have to redefine what the peer-review literature is!"); and
• Considering how to tweak published reports so as to hide actual declines in global temperatures that were revealed by certain data ("I've just completed Mike's Nature [the science journal] trick of adding in the real temps to each series for the last 20 years (ie, from 1981 onwards) and from 1961 for Keith's to hide the decline").
In the words of Pat Michaels, a climate change scientist at the Cato Institute in Washington who is mentioned negatively in the e-mails: "This is horrible. This is what everyone feared. Over the years, it has become increasingly difficult for anyone who does not view global warming as an end-of-the-world issue to publish papers. This isn't questionable practice, this is unethical."
Obviously, this research scandal will have a significant impact on the debate over man-made climate change. More important, however, is the impact of the research scandal on the UN-led global governance movement. The Matrix of Human Rights Governance Networks depends on a multitude of researcher networks covering many fields of economic and social rights that the UN, its agencies, and non-governmental organizations seek to globally govern. These human rights areas include the right to health, right to food, right to energy, right to education, right to housing, and the right to water. Obviously, for the UN to aggravate its undemocratic human rights governance ambitions by relying on non-transparent and unaccountable scientific research networks is, at best, unacceptable, and, at worst, extremely dangerous for humanity.
Yet, it is unfathomable how UN Member States and their citizens can ever institute the necessary level of transparency or hold the behemoth UN bureaucracy and its vast research networks accountable.
Jim Kelly is the President of Solidarity Center for Law and Justice, P.C., a public interest civil and human rights law firm based in Atlanta, Georgia. The opinions expressed herein are his own.