It’s official. In a Rose Garden photo-op, April 19, the president,
secretary of state, and EPA administrator, announced the U.S.’
intention to sign the U.N. Convention on Persistent Organic Pollutants, in ceremonies in Stockholm, May 22-23.
The announcement, one of several recent pro-green initiatives, comes on
the heels of massive criticism of the Bush administration for perceived
“anti-environmental” actions, especially for walking away from the Kyoto
Protocol deliberations. The POPs treaty has received very little media
attention and is potentially as destructive as the Kyoto Protocol.
Brooks Yeager headed the U.S. delegation that negotiated this treaty.
Yeager served as vice president of government relations for the Audubon
Society before joining the Clinton administration in 1993. He was
praised by the Bush administration for his good work.
The treaty identifies eight chemicals that are to be banned outright.
Most are used in pesticides. Chlordane and DDT, already banned in the
U.S., are among the chemicals to be banned. Of far more concern, are
the four chemicals identified to be “controlled.” They are: PCBs,
hexachlorobenzene, dioxins, and furans.
It is worth noting, that the common practice among extreme green policy
makers is to get the camel’s nose under the tent with any kind of bland
policy mechanism, and then work to expand. The Endangered Species Act
was sold on the basis of protecting the bald eagle; now several hundred
odd-ball bugs are protected, and several thousand more are on the
waiting list to be protected.
The Vienna Convention on Ozone Depleting Substances was ratified on the
basis that compliance was voluntary, but immediately, the Montreal
Protocol made it legally binding, and required the banning of Freon and
The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change whizzed through the U.S.
Senate, because compliance was voluntary. But the first meeting of the
Conference of the Parties produced the Berlin Mandate to create a
legally binding Kyoto Protocol.
The POPs convention bans only eight chemicals initially, and identifies
four to be controlled. The Conference of the Parties to this convention
will identify additional chemicals whenever they wish, and will set the
policies for controlling others.
Keep in mind that principle No. 8 of the Rio Declaration, from which Agenda
21 arises, requires the reduction and elimination of “unsustainable
patterns of production and consumption. …” Agenda 21 is not legally
binding; treaties are. The POPs treaty can be used to bring to a halt
patterns of production and consumption that the U.N. has declared to be
There is no single chemical named “dioxin.” The term “dioxin” applies
to a family of about 75 compounds, many of which are produced when
organic material is burned, and as by-products of various manufacturing
processes. Some of these dioxins are toxic in some concentration,
particularly TCDD (2,3,7,8-tetra-chlorodibenzo-p-dioxin); others are not
toxic at all. The entire family of dioxins, however, has been
deliberately vilified, and painted by environmental extremists, as
brutal, cancer-causing killers.
The processes that produce PVC pipe, and most plastics, use chlorine.
Chlorine is not on the list of chemicals to be banned. Greenpeace, and
the World Wildlife Fund, have been on an unsuccessful crusade for years
to ban chlorine. Because chlorine is used to purify about 98 percent of the
public water supply, and in the production of so many beneficial
products, head-on efforts to ban chlorine have had no success.
The POPs treaty has the potential to force an end to the use of
chlorine, by using a back-door approach; by controlling the production
of dioxins, which the treaty authorizes and the public has been
conditioned to accept, the Conference of the Parties to the treaty can
control chlorine. By controlling what comes out the end of the pipe,
the controller controls what goes into the pipe.
This is the system used by the EPA and environmental extremists to
control which chemicals and fertilizers farmers use on their crops. The
TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) program, is a back-door way to control
what farmers put on the ground. By regulating the maximum quantity of a
particular chemical that may be in a stream, the regulator can control
the use of that chemical by anyone whose ground water drains into the
Chlorine was targeted to be banned in the early 1990s by Greenpeace and
the World Wildlife Fund. The proposed method at that time was to list
chlorine as one of the chemicals that could not be found in municipal
ground water runoff, under the NPDES (National Pollution Discharge
Elimination System) program. Then-Congressman Bill Richardson tried
unsuccessfully in two sessions of Congress to enact this legislation.
Environmental extremists are never defeated; they are sometimes delayed,
but always come back again with the same objective wrapped in a new
program. The POPs treaty is far more potent than the NPDES, or the TMDL
programs in the U.S, as a weapon to end the use of chlorine, and shut
down industry to force a reduction or elimination of “unsustainable
patterns of production and consumption.”
Consider the loss of PVC plastics. It is almost impossible to
comprehend a world without plastic. Narrow the consideration to just
PVC pipe — and try to imagine the world without it. Before PVC,
galvanized pipe supplied water to kitchens and bathrooms. The pipe
itself was quite expensive, and the laborers who installed it commanded
premium wages. Were we forced to return to galvanized pipe, the cost of
homes would soar.
The metal required to make the pipe would not be available in sufficient
quantities to meet the demand because the environmental extremists have
shut down nearly all mining operations.
Consider packaging, and medical supplies — without plastic. Are
housewives ready to go back to waxed paper and aluminum foil? Look
around the room at what you would have to do without if plastics were
banned. Environmental extremists know that the public would never allow
a head-on attack on plastic. But the public will allow a treaty to
control cancer-causing dioxins. Once the treaty is in place, the legal
authority is established, and little by little, the noose can (and will)
be tightened around the production and consumption patterns around the
world, particularly in the United States.
The POPs treaty, by virtue of authorizing control over these four
chemicals, gives to the Conference of the Parties, the authority to set
policies which can govern the production of most coatings and paints,
glues, lubricants, a wide range of construction materials, appliances,
household furnishings, medicines, medical supplies, pesticides,
herbicides and other products that Americans have come to rely on.
The treaty will have to be ratified by the U.S. Senate, which has now
perfected a process which results in ratification without any debate, or
a recorded vote. The previous Senate ratified 34 treaties in one fell
swoop on Oct. 18, 2000, by a voice vote and a show of hands. Included in
the package was the U.N. Convention on Desertification.
Proponents of the POPs treaty could well use this process again and get
the treaty ratified with virtually no opportunity to even register
opposition or examine the possible negative consequences. The treaty
will become international law when it is ratified by 50 nations, quite
probably before the Rio+10 celebration in Johannesburg, South Africa in
the summer of 2002.
The treaty will create a permanent secretariat, with a permanent annual
budget, that will grow each year, as has every other treaty secretariat
since 1992. The growing staff will have to identify new chemicals to
ban and control, and monitor to justify their existence. It is yet
another mechanism created within the United Nations to reach its
tentacles out to control yet another facet of human life.
This is the essence of global governance in progress.