John Gummer And The World Future Council
By Paul Homewood
Lord Deben, the politician formerly known as John Gummer, has recently been appointed as Chairman of the UK’s Committee on Climate Change.
The Committee was established under the Climate Change Act (2008), and advises the UK Government on setting and meeting carbon budgets and on preparing for the impacts of climate change. As such, it carries a good deal of influence on UK government policy and action.
Prior to his appointment, concerns were expressed about some of Gummer’s outside business interests, such as being chairman of Forewind Ltd, (the consortium who are hoping to build the Dogger Bank wind farm), and Sancroft International Ltd, (a lobbying firm, that specialises in advising businesses how to make money out of climate change).
(James Delingpole has more details here.)
Both of these chairmanships were acknowledged in the press announcement by the Dept of Energy, (DECC), which announced his appointment. They are also included in his list of outside interests, registered at the House of Lords.
Just as intriguing, though, is his membership of a shadowy outfit, called the World Future Council, according to their website. This membership was neither mentioned by DECC, nor included in his register of interests in Parliament. ( A short explanation about this. The interests, that a member must declare, are not necessarily simply financial, but must include anything that could potentially lead to a conflict of interest).
World Future Council (WFC)
Before we look at just what the WFC do, let’s take a look at their organisational structure, and see what “Members” do there.
There is a Council, with up to 50 members. It meets once a year in Hamburg to decide about a work programme and to form expert commissions and working groups. In addition , there is a Supervisory Board and Management Board who run affairs on a day to day basis.
In other words, membership of the WFC is not the same as being, say, a member of the Church of England, or the local stamp collecting club. On the contrary, membership of the WFC is extremely select, and each member has both a good deal of influence on what the Council does, and a personal obligation to carry out, or lobby for, WFC policies back at home.
But don’t just believe me! This is what they say “Makes Us Unique”.
The WFC Councillors come from a vast variety of culturally and politically diverse countries and regions of the world. They are all united by the common trait of having achieved great things in their respective fields of work. This guarantees that the WFC can tackle the problems humankind faces, such as addressing climate change, in a holistic and inclusive manner and find solutions that consider the entire complexity of the problem. The aim of the WFC is to advise politicians to create frameworks that enable a fair and ecologically intact world for current and future generations. Our main focus is on political decision-makers. We support them with the goal of ensuring that their decisions and policies are always made with sustainability and intergenerational fairness in their minds.
Vision, Mission and Values
The WFC’s Vision Statement fairly summarises what their objectives are :-
We envision a sustainable, just and peaceful future, where the dignity and rights of every living being and the connectedness of human beings to all life are universally respected.
By 2020 we envision the WFC:
- to be an independent and respected institution;
- that is accredited for disseminating future just policies;
- that actively approaches international, national, and sub-national policy-makers and advises them on introducing identified better policies;
- that actively condemns the authentication of future unjust policies and sees to a conviction of responsible policy-makers;
- that is actively approached by international, national, and sub-national policy makers for guidance in drafting future just policies;
- that is actively approached by international, national, and sub-national policy makers for guidance to judge the justness of existing policies.
It could almost have been lifted from a Greenpeace manifesto! Two points, though, stand out from the usual eco nonsense.
1) “that actively approaches international, national, and sub-national policy-makers and advises them on introducing identified better policies”.
Gummer’s job is to advise the UK government on climate change issues. How can he possibly offer impartial advice, that is not influenced by policies espoused by the WFC?
2) “that actively condemns the authentication of future unjust policies and sees to a conviction of responsible policy-makers”.
As we will see shortly, they really do mean “conviction”. They propose to criminalise acts that cause environmental damage.
Global Policy Action Plan
Amongst their various publications is one called “The Global Policy Action Plan”. This makes utterly clear that the WFC is about a lot more than just climate change or environmentalism. As you read through it, you will see that it is a highly political document.
It lists 24 policies to help achieve its stated aims, including:-
- High Commissioners/Ombudspersons for Future Generations to be elected by the United Nations and national parliaments to integrate a long-term perspective in policy-making and represent the rights of future generations in political decision-making.
- Governments to agree an amendment to the statutes of the International Criminal Court to criminalise acts that cause irreversible damage to our natural environment.
- Nuclear weapons, to be outlawed in national legislation (as in New Zealand). The nuclear-weapons-possessing States to fulfil their obligation to commence negotiations on a Nuclear Weapons Convention to ban and eliminate all nuclear weapons in a phased, verifiable and irreversible manner.
- The $1.6 trillion p.a. military spending to be shifted gradually through a global treaty to fund environmental, food and water security and the protection of the common heritage of humankind (oceans, atmosphere and outer space).
- The State Pension Fund Divestment Law banning harmful investments, thus ensuring that our savings do not threaten us, to become the basis of a global treaty.
- A Comprehensive Global Transition to Renewable Energies to be initiated.
- The “New Money” proposal based on IMF Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) which can provide immediate funding for a rapid shift to renewable energies in developing countries (including Bio-fuels when they do not threaten food security).
- Nuclear subsidies to be phased out.
- Securing Food and Water: Policies that ensure access to safe food and water to all to be adopted.
- Preserving our depleted biodiversity, forests and oceans. The UN Strategic Biodiversity Action Plan 2011-2020 to be implemented.
- Global common goods to be placed in trusts, coordinated by a revived UN Trusteeship Council, setting sustainable usage caps and distributing “commons income” usage fees as a basic citizen’s income.
- Taxes to be gradually (10% p.a.) shifted from labour to resources (‘Green Tax Shift’).
- New Debt-Free Money Creation by Central Banks to be legalised to speed up the creation of “green jobs”.
- An ecological literacy test to be introduced for candidates for public office, economists and business school graduates.
- Candidates for public office to be given public funding and the right to equal media access, once they can demonstrate public support. Private funding to be dis-allowed to reduce corruption.
- Valuing and accounting for natural capital and ecosystem services to be given equal weight to GDP in government decision-making.
- Equal educational opportunities and legal access for women, as well as equal access to contraceptive services, ensuring that every child born is wanted, to be legally mandated.
Most of these policies would involve huge transfers of sovereignty from national governments to global bodies, such as the UN, and would certainly be regarded as highly controversial.
Conflict of Interest
If Gummer wishes to be a member of this organisation, then that is his decision. However, the following questions must be raised:-
1) Was DECC aware of his membership of WFC, before Gummer’s appointment to the Committee on Climate Change?
2) If they were, what evidence do they have that such membership would not raise potential conflicts of interest?
3) If they were not aware, then why not?
4) Why is Gummer’s membership not shown in his Register of Interests at the House of Lords?
5) Gummer’s appointment was also vetted by the Energy and Climate Change Select Committee in Parliament. Were they made aware of Gummer’s membership, either by himself or by the authorities?
At the start, I called the WFC a “shadowy organisation”. I believe this is a fair description of any organisation that works behind the scenes to infiltrate and influence political decision making. For one that proposes such far reaching changes, not just to policy making, but also to democratic processes world wide, it is, perhaps, an understatement.
How did this man ever get near public office?
We deserve answers, and quickly.
Gummer’s profile at the WFC is shown here.