UN, Ban Envoy Lagos' Climate Change Record Questioned, Palm Oil Promoted
Matthew Russell Lee of Inner City Press at the UN
UNITED NATIONS, May 8
-- Whether called global warming or climate change, the UN has got religion...
or has it?
Ban Ki-moon's three new envoys on the issue is the former president of Chile,
Ricardo Lagos Escobar. Environmental groups in Chile protested that Lagos'
record while in power, from 2000 to 2006, is indicative of pollution and
corporate control. They point for example to Lagos' role in approving, and
accepting funding from, the
Angellini Group for its Celso wood pulp
plant, which fouled the Cruces
at the UN, Inner City Press asked Lagos to address these concerns. In a
four-minute answer, Lagos began by noting that he had, after all, been elected.
"At the end of the day, it is up to citizens to say what is the record of the
government," he said. So would any person who's been elected qualify as a UN
went on to emphasize how he had "handled dams" while taking care of the people
displaced from the now "irrigated" lands. "I am not here because I was very good
[on the] environment," he said. Video
from Minute 19 to 23:10.
observers remember Lagos not for anything to do with the environment, but as a
skeptic of the Security Council's Iraq resolutions. Lagos emphasized his
diplomatic, not environmental, credentials. The Secretary-General wanted a
political leader to address a "political problem, not a technical problem,"
Ban & his envoys
credentials of other two envoys were not questioned during the press briefing.
The former Prime Minister of Norway, Dr. Gro Harlem Brundtland, is sometimes
described as a founder, or at least coiner, of sustainable development, and as
an early follower of Buckminster Fuller. Even a support, however, interviewed by
Inner City Press on condition of anonymity, wondered whether there has been
Han Seung-soo's appointment is viewed through the prism of his role as former
Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Korea, and thus as Bank Ki-moon's ex-boss.
He did, however, serve as president of the Korea Water Forum, and in the hall
outside the briefing room he told Inner City Press that he will have a role on
"water and sanitation," and he nodded at a mention of Monday's UNICEF-sponsored
conference on 2008 as the "Year of Sanitation." Whether these envoys can take
the UN Secretariat's role in combating climate change beyond buzzwords remains
to be seen.
the UN on Tuesday, a report on bio-fuels was released, click
to view. In the accompanying briefing, involving UN-Energy's Mats Karlsson and
Gustavo Best and Alexander Muller of the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization,
Inner City Press asked about the environmental impacts of palm oil production
replacing rainforest and other uses in Indonesia and Malaysia, for example.
The report's proponents said that "every country is different," and declined to
address the specifics of these two bio-fuel producers. "We need a framework,"
they said. Yes, we do...
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