These visions, emerged from United Nations agencies, codified in Agenda 21, refined by the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, and is now being implemented in Missouri, and across America, not by state legislatures and county commissioners, but by “Visioning Councils,” and “Stakeholder Councils,” consisting of non-elected individuals who are not accountable to those who are governed.
Look at all the fanfare, St. Louis has launched its quest for “St. Louis 2004.” Even the most cursory analysis readily reveals the influence of the top-down wisdom of the United Nations, the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, and the U.S. Department of Housing and Development. One of the objectives of St. Louis 2004 is to “Inventory the region’s plants, animals and ecosystems.” The PCSD says “Convene planning sessions among all stakeholders to agree on methodologies for collecting data and conducting assessment of biodiversity.” Agenda 21 says: “Undertake long-term research into the importance of biodiversity, with particular reference to new observations and inventory techniques.”
Another objective is to create “Sustainable neighborhoods – Support residents in the creation of self-sufficient neighborhoods.”
HUD’s vision of a “Sustainable Community,” is discussed above. The PCSD says:
“…provide incentives for regional collaboration on issues such as transportation and land use, that transcend political jurisdictions. Develop design tools [which] include model building codes; zoning ordinances; and permit approval processes for residential and commercial building, use of recycled and recyclable building materials, use of native plants that can reduce the need for fertilizers, pesticides, and water for landscaping….”
Agenda 21 calls for:
“Adopting and applying urban management guidelines in the areas of land management, urban environmental management, infrastructure management…. Developing local strategies for…integrating decisions on land use and land management. To improve the social, economic, and environmental quality of human settlements, countries should adopt the monitoring guidelines adopted by the United Nations Centre for Human Settlements (HABITAT)….”
Still another objective of St. Louis 2004, Air Qulaity, is an “apple-pie-and-motherhood” recommendation behind which lies all manner of planned regulatory initiatives to implement recommendations of the PCSD, Agenda 21, and the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change. The PCSD’s revised Charter instructs the Council to “not debate the science of global warming, but…instead focus on the implementation of national and local greenhouse gas reduction policies.” The instruction to “not debate the science” is consistent with the administration’s position on global warming, despite growing skepticism in the scientific community about the human influence on global climate. More than 140 climatologists and astrophysicists have now signed the Leipzig Declaration, which says, in part:
“The polocies to implement the [climate change] treaty are, as of now, based solely on unproven scientific theories, imperfect computer models — and unsupported assumptions that catastrophic global warming follows from the burning of fossil fuels and requires immediate action. We do not agree. Many climate specialists now agree that actual observations from weather satellites show no global warming whatsoever — in direct contradiction to computer model results. Based on the evidence available to us, we cannot subscribe to the politically inspired world view that envisages climate catastrophes and calls for hasty action.”
In 1992, Agenda 21 called for governments to promote and develop “integrated energy, environment, and economic policy decisions for sustainable development, and integrated rural and urban mass transit for sustainable social, economic and development priorities.” With the approval of the administration, the United Nations adopted the Kyoto Protocol to the Framework Convention on Climate Change which requires that the United States reduce its greenhouse gas emission to a level seven percent below 1990 levels by the year 2008-2012.
The PCSD, and the administration, have been preparing to comply with the requirement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for several years, without debating the science. Then Congressman John Boehner (R-OH) discovered an internal memo within the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), prepared by Michael Shelby in EPA’s Office of Policy, Planning and Evaluation. The memo set forth 39 measures that could be implemented to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, without Congressional involvement. Some of the measures discussed in the memo include:
*Tighten CAFE standards from the current 27.5 mpg to 33.5 in 2010; 40.9 in 2020; and 45.1 in 2025.
Levy a 50-cent per gallon tax on gasoline using the obscure Trade Expansion Act of 1962 which allows the Secretary of Commerce, not the Congress, to authorize a gas tax in certain circumstances.
*Use BACT (Best Available Control Technology) as a condition for construction permits. “The EPA could begin raising objections to state determinations…” the report advises.
*Full pricing for roads — which would require states to match federal funds with monies derived from “user fees,”
*EPA-mandated emission control technology required in State Implementation Plans.
Pay-at-the-pump insurance program (25-cents per gallon).
*Emission-based registration fees.
When the President signed the New Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) into law, more than 700 counties instantly fell into “non-attainment,” which authorizes the EPA to implement whatever measures it chooses to force those counties into compliance — without Congressional involvement.
The extent to which Agenda 21 and the PCSD have influenced public policy in America is truly astounding, especially since there has been no Congressional debate, definition of “sustainable development,” or authority for its implementation. It may be surprising to Representatives Joan Bray and Russell Gunn that their HB994, which creates the “Environmental Equity and Justice Commission,” would comply with the recommendations of both Agenda 21 and the PCSD. Agenda 21 says “Governments should carry out exposure and health assessments of populations residing near uncontrolled hazardous waste sites and initiate remedial measures.” The PCSD says, “Environmental Equity: Develop measures of any disproportionate environmental burdens (such as exposure to air, water, and toxic pollution) borne by different economic and social groups.” Other objectives of that are prescribed by the United Nations and the PCSD include: Race and difference summit; Safe places for kids; Employer commitment to education; Downtown revitalization; Regional Park and Greenway system; New industries; Land trusts; and Minority and women-owned business expansion.
Elected officials should be concerned about both the substance of such “visions” or plans, as well as about the process by which such plans are devised. All such plans are justified by the desire to create a “sustainable future.” Americans should demand that above all, any plans for the future must protect and preserve the bedrock principle on which America was founded: government is empowered by the consent of those who are governed. It is that principle, enshrined in the U.S. Constitution, that guarantees individual freedom, private property rights, free markets, and national sovereignty. Neither the bedrock principle, nor the fundamental freedoms it provides, are mentioned in Agenda 21, or Sustainable America: A New Consensus. Existing government processes are said to be “intractable,” while the President’s Council on Sustainable Development calls for “a new collaborative decision process…”
The “consensus-building” process is designed to by-pass the intractability of elected government officials and the process set forth in the U.S. Constitution. It is a “top-down” policy development process that was initiated with the adoption of Agenda 21, nationalized through the President’s Council on Sustainable Development, and is now being implemented by an army of NGOs (non-government organizations), largely coordinated by federal government agencies and the international NGO leadership.
The World Resources Institute (WRI), the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Maurice Strong’s Earth Council (EC), and the International Council for Local Environmental Initiatives (ICLEI), represent the international NGO leadership. The WRI, IUCN, and WWF are largely responsible for the development of Agenda 21 and the United Nation’s social and environmental policies.
The EC and ICLEI are largely responsible for implementation. According to Jeb Brughmann, Secretary-General of ICLEI, the organization was actually created by the UN. The WRI publishes a newsletter called NGO Networker, which reports the status of various NGOs’ progress toward the implementation of UN policies.
At the local level, NGOs that initiate the consensus process rarely identify themselves with Agenda 21, or any of the international NGOs. The process is designed to appear to be a purely local initiative resulting from the demands of the local community — ostensibly, the people who are governed. Rarely, however, does the community at large –the actual people who are governed — even learn of the process until it is well underway. Typically, the individual or organization that initiates the consensus process in a local community is affiliated, and often funded, by one or more of the international or national NGOs. The first step is to identify other individuals and organizations in the community known to be sympathetic with the goals of Agenda 21. Those individuals are invited to participate in the organization of the effort. A “Visioning Council” will emerge, consisting of individuals selected because of their predisposition of support for the aims of the effort, and to reflect “representation” from across the community spectrum. The Council then holds a series of meetings to solicit input from the community.
Two important problems arise from this process: first, the participants who provide input are often carefully selected, especially in the formative stages; and second, the input solicited is in response to a predetermined agenda. Often, the participants are not aware that the agenda has been predetermined. The facilitator at these meetings is often a trained professional, hired for the purpose. The facilitator’s purpose is to “build consensus.” Consensus is not agreement; it is the absence of expressed disagreement. As the process continues, the local media is recruited to report the wonderful work of “citizens” of the community to develop a “vision for the future.” Occasionally, professional public relations consultants are used to develop a positive community context for the unveiling of the vision document.