History shows that right-wing media are not big fans of the United Nations. So it was no surprise, then, that the release this week of a U.N. survey prompted panic and fearmongering among some conservative media.
L. Brent Bozell III, president of the Media Research Center, took to Fox & Friends today to call the report, "World Economic and Social Survey 2011: The Great Green Technological Transformation," "outrageous" and claimed it calls for "global socialism," "global governance," and a "one-world government." From the broadcast:
MOLLY LINE (guest host): The United Nations is pushing for a green economy, but what exactly does that mean? A new report says, quote, a comprehensive global energy transition is urgently needed in order to avert a major planetary catastrophe. And the price tag, $76 trillion over the next 40 years. Brent Bozell is the president of the Media Research Center, here to join us and chat about it this morning. Good morning, Brent. Thanks for being here.
BOZELL: Good morning. How are you doing?
LINE: Good, good. All is well. Let's talk a little bit about the money that is involved here, because it's a lot of money. A grand total of $1.9 trillion per year, 40 years adding up to that $76 trillion. U.N. researchers claimed it would cost $600 billion a year over the next decade to go green previously, so the number has really jumped quite a bit. But we're not hearing a lot about this. Why do you think that is?
BOZELL: It's so outrageous. If the American people knew that the U.N. Secretary General has signed off on this report -- this is serious stuff. This is what they want. If the public knew what they want -- they're calling for a radically new economic system. They're calling for global governance. Folks, that's one-world government. I'm not a nut bag here. This is what they're calling for in this paper. It went from $600 billion two years ago to $1.9 trillion over -- per year for 40 years. $76 trillion. They want half of it to go to developing countries. That's a massive redistribution of wealth. This is global socialism. If the American people knew about it, the first thing they'd be asking themselves is what in the world are we doing making contributions to this socialist enterprise? The media coverage on this, absolutely nothing.
LINE: There -- this is a tremendous amount of money we're talking about, more than five times America's GDP. There is another quote here. A Chinese diplomat at the U.N., connected to the Rio summit, said this, that the United States of America is a country that people around the world admire for its can do attitude. Here people believe that no problem is too big for human ingenuity to solve. The world has never needed that ingenuity more than it does now. The people need your leadership. So in a sense, the question here really is, what will the price tag be for America? Right now, we're paying about 22 percent of the U.N. agency's budget already.
BOZELL: Of course they admire us. They admire our success. They admire our money even more than our success. Here is something interesting. One week before this report came out about this global warming, another U.N. report came out going after China for causing global cooling with their coal policies. I wish they could decide which one it was. By the way, when you have global cooling and global warming, what do you have? Climate change. It's also called weather.
Just to address Bozell's last few points quickly, it's true that a recent report found that sulfur pollution from China may have had a global cooling effect; but, as a July 4 Associated Press article noted, the effect was only that "the rise in Earth's temperature paused for a bit during the 2000s," which is still "one of the hottest decades on record." Also, as Media Matters has previously noted, climate change and weather are not the same thing -- climate change is a long-term trend observed over many years.
Now, on to Bozell's fearmongering over the U.N. report. This survey, released annually from the U.N., does not call for a "one-world government." It's a lengthy "guide" with suggestions about how the world might achieve a "greener, cleaner global economy" and ways to address "the challenge of feeding a global population [of 9 billion] in 2050." As the preface explains:
The world faces important decisions on how we generate energy and manage our natural assets -- choices with implications that will reverberate for generations to come. Against a backdrop of a rising global population and unceasing pressure on the natural environment, this 2011 edition of the World Economic and Social Survey can guide our collective efforts to achieve a much-needed technological transformation to a greener, cleaner global economy.
The past two decades have seen considerable economic growth, particularly in the emerging economies. Hundreds of millions of people have risen from poverty -- in Asia, Latin America and, increasingly, in Africa.
But with global population expected to reach 9 billion by 2050, we need to accelerate the pace of productive economic expansion. At the same time, this growth must be balanced with respect for the human and natural capital that is its foundation, lest we risk profound and potentially irreversible changes in the planet's ability to sustain progress.
Rather than viewing growth and sustainability as competing goals on a collision course, we must see them as complementary and mutually supportive imperatives. This becomes possible when we embrace a low-carbon, resource-efficient, pro-poor economic model.
A comprehensive global energy transition is critical to this process. With data, analysis and careful projections, this Survey illustrates the feasibility of such a transformation. It also highlights the hurdles, and outlines what will be required of governments and the international community as a whole to make the most of available green technologies -- and to generate new applications and inventions that meet the needs of countries at different levels of development.
The Survey also addresses the challenge of feeding a global population that will be nearly 35 per cent larger in 2050 than it is today -- looking back at the first green revolution in agriculture, and ahead to future models that can be far more effective in improving the global food supply while protecting its sources.
The survey does suggest that "incremental green investment of about 3 per cent of world gross product (WGP) (about $1.9 trillion in 2010) would be required to overcome poverty, increase food production to eradicate hunger without degrading land and water resources, and avert the climate change catastrophe." But it also suggests that "a large proportion of the incremental investment would ultimately be financed from developing countries' public and private resources." In other words, according to this report, most such investments should come from within the developing world itself.
This fearmongering over a "one-world government" seems to be a common response from the right-wing media any time the subject of the U.N. comes up. For example:
- October 2009: Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh both applauded comments made by a British lord claiming that upcoming U.N. climate talks would lead to a "world government."
- February 2011: Beck ranted about the White House Council for Community Solutions, claiming it was related to implementing a "New World Order ... a borderless world" which might be "run through ... the United Nations."
- June 2011: During the final days of his Fox News show, Beck hyped the conspiracy theory that the U.N.'s Agenda 21, a plan for sustainable development, would implement "centralized control over all of human life on planet Earth." Fox Business host Eric Bolling picked up this torch a few weeks later on his show Follow the Money, claiming that Obama's Rural Council has objectives that sound "eerily similar to a U.N. plan called Agenda 21" and adding -- of course -- that the council is evidence of a coming "one-world order."
So when a conservative media figure goes on television to claim that a U.N. report means a "one-world government" is coming, it's hard to take it seriously.