Never mind where you might stand on the question of global warming, global cooling, climate change or plain old weather. If there’s one constant to  this entire climate debate, it is that in the name of “climate,” the United Nations wishes to regulate and tax the economy of the planet — stripping resources from the most productive economies to hand them out as assorted UN bureaucrats deem fit.

This is an agenda for global central planning — which, at the extreme, is what the Soviet Union envisioned as the radiant future of mankind, at least until the USSR itself collapsed as a basket case of monstrously misallocated resources, pervaded by the nightmare repression required to enforce such a system. Nonetheless, at the UN this agenda keeps coming up, year after year, at one climate conference after another. The proclamations of emergency have varied, but always, in the middle of it, there is the UN, proposing to serve as planner and traffic cop for global commerce — a role that entails the UN aiming to redirect resources and collecting a cut to cover the administrative enterprises of its own neo-colonial empire of agencies, organizations, intergovernmental outfits, programs and special envoys. Somehow that already includes a need for climate conferees to travel great distances at other people’s expense, with UN officials touching down from business class long-haul flights to spend a week, or maybe two, conferring at luxury hotels in locations such as Rio, Copenhagen, Cancun and Bali.

Right now, at the UN Climate Change Conference in Durban, South Africa, they’re at it again, conferring for a fortnight. There, they are trying to design a “Green Climate Fund,” hoping to impose some form of global taxes that would bring in some $100 billion per year, to be redistributed to countries the UN decides are most at risk from change in climate. Reports have been emerging that the UN is eyeing a “carbon” tax on shipping, or international financial transactions, or cross-border aviation. Of course, this would raise the cost of commerce for everyone, so there is a further proposal, reports AFP, to use some of the money to compensate developing countries, at the expense of the most productive countries, for the higher costs. Such an arrangement would presumably require yet more intervention from the UN, since someone would have to decide which countries should be compensated, and to what extent — presumably a changing scene, as economic shifts occur — and of course there would be a need for more international bureaucrats to administer such a scheme. It’s also a good bet that more UN bureaucrats would also devote some of their time to coming up with yet more global tax schemes. The possibilities are staggering.

As a recipe for corruption of monumental scope, this is brilliant. It would open money spigots on a scale the UN to date has only dreamt of. A direct tax on global trade — in whatever form (shipping, aviation or finance) would free the UN from such inconveniences as drumming up voluntary but finite contributions from member states, or operating with a budget somewhat constrained by assessed dues. Not since the UN’s Oil-for-Food program tapped right into a 2.2% cut of the late Saddam Hussein’s oil sales has the UN had such access to rivers of cash… except this is bigger. Much bigger. Tapping directly into global trade would dwarf Saddam’s billions in oil revenues.