UN Climate Cronies

With UN climate guru Rajendra Pachauri under fire for alleged conflicts of interest and the purveying of flawed "science," another United Nations eco-official is stepping forward to defend UN climate findings.

His name is Achim Steiner, executive director of the UN Environment Program, or UNEP, based in Nairobi. If you are curious about potential conflicts of interest among the UN climate crowd, Steiner, along with Pachauri, is someone to watch.

Like Pachauri, Steiner is still talking about "overwhelming evidence" supporting the findings of Al Gore's co-Nobelist Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change -- despite the growing body of evidence that the IPCC's findings were more a product of UN politics than of science. In recent remarks featured as a top item on the UN's official news site, Steiner has just praised the IPCC and re-issued the UN's usual apocalyptic warnings: "Any delay... risks of a magnitude...urgent international response" -- etc.

Who is Achim Steiner? A German, born in Brazil, he is a longtime environmentalist, former head from 2001-2006 of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, or IUCN(Sample of UN climate networking -- take a deep breath, don't even try to follow this, just roll with it: The IUCN has been phenomenally intertwined over the years with the UN cast of climate characters. When Steiner left the IUCN in 2006, he was succeeded there by a sister-in-law of a former U.S. ambassador to the UN, Richard Holbrooke. This Holbrooke in-law, Julia Marton-Lefevre , in turn, had just finished serving as rector of the UN University for Peace,  in Costa Rica, which had been greatly beefed up in the years prior to her arrival by the so-called godfather of the Kyoto Treaty, Maurice Strong -- first head of the same UNEP that Achim Steiner now runs).

Anyway, in December, 2005, Achim Steiner served as a judge on a panel in Dubai that awarded a $500,000 environmental prize to then-Secretary-General of the UN, Kofi Annan. With a big smile, at a banquet in Dubai, Annan -- then the UN's top official -- accepted this six-figure purse for his personal use. About three months later, Annan named Steiner, one of the judges who picked Annan for the prize, to head UNEP.