When Maurice Strong died on November 27, mainstream news media, global-warming activists, and international bureaucratic types around the world began churning out the superlatives. In his own home country, for instance, the Toronto Star, beneath a headline extolling him as “a model of vision and persistence,” called him “remarkable” and “legendary” while praising his “extraordinary insight and persistence” and “extraordinary far-sightedness.”
Who was Maurice Strong? Here’s a brief bio. Born into a poor Alberta family in 1929, he went into business and enjoyed early success, striking it rich in the oil and gas game and being named, in 1976, by Pierre Trudeau, as head of Petro-Canada, that country’s newly established national oil company.
Strong went on to serve as an executive or board member at major firms around the world. He also became one of the top-level UN bureaucrats of all time. His CV consists largely of a mind-bogglingly long list of commissions, conferences, councils, forums. He was the first head of the UN Environmental Programme. He served on the UN’s World Commission on Environment and Development. He co-chaired the Earth Charter Commission, chaired the World Resources Institute, was a director at the World Economic Forum, and was a senior advisor to the president of the World Bank. His shining hour – about which more presently – was perhaps his role as Secretary General of the 1992 UN Earth Summit, aka the Rio Conference.
For some observers, as we’ve seen, Strong was a hero – specifically, an environmental hero. The New York Times called him “the planet’s prime custodian”; the Toronto Globe and Mail, in its obituary, celebrated him as “the last of the mythic founders of the international environmental movement”; the Guardian hailed him as “the founding father of international cooperation on the environment and sustainable development.”
When you scratch the surface of the man’s career, however, the picture becomes more problematic – a lot more problematic. James Delingpole, remembering Strong’s life at Breitbart News, said he was “[o]ne of the most dangerous men of the Twentieth Century.” Why dangerous? Well, for one thing, as Delingpole put it, Strong probably did more than anyone else in our time to make the world “more expensive, inconvenient, overregulated, hectored, bullied, lied-to, sclerotic, undemocratic.” And he did all this in the name of “climate change,” which, thanks to him, notes Delingpole, “is now so heavily embedded within our system of global governance that it is now almost literally impossible for any politician or anyone else whose career depends on the state to admit that’s it not a problem.”
And Strong did all this from his various perches at the UN – an institution that Delingpole described as Strong’s “perfect playground,” a place “where, he quickly realized, he could achieve his dream of a world of global governance by a self-appointed elite. And the best way to go about this, Strong understood, was by manipulating and exploiting international concern about the environment.” Delingpole wasn’t making this up; Strong himself argued explicitly that if we wanted to save the planet, the inhabitants of the affluent West would have to make radical lifestyle changes – changes that most of those people would not be willing to make unless forced to do so by international organizations vested with the power to force them.
But was Strong really devoted to the environment? Or was something else going on here? We’ll get around to these questions next time.