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Authors: Jacob Nordangård

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  1. (28) Humanitarianism.
  1. (30) Cultural homogenization.
    “There will be a standardization of all human beliefs and activities—political, economic, educational, sexual, artistic, scientific, and recreational—due to the increase in travel, migration, communication, and freight transportation, which will prevent isolation of human groups. The most significant homogenization trend will be the further Europeanization of all non-European countries.”

Planning the Stockholm Conference

In 1967, British diplomat and mathematician William Penney (who had created the first British nuclear bomb) proposed an environmental conference arranged by the United Nations.

However, it was Swedish diplomat Sverker Åström (Sweden’s Permanent Representative to the UN from 1964) who made the official request in the General Assembly.
The United States representatives were sympathetic to the proposal – which is hardly surprising as it was the result of diplomatic negotiations between Sweden and themselves.
There were also the joint research projects on population and climate.

The background paper, written by Swedish lobbyist Hans Palmstierna, included concerns over what rising CO
emissions might lead to. In 1968, Palmstierna helped spread environmental awareness to the general public through his bestselling book
Plundring, svält, förgiftning
(Looting, Starvation, Poisoning
), where the carbon dioxide issue was mentioned as one of several looming threats.

The choice of hosting country for the conference was likely no coincidence, as American initiatives were often met with mistrust from many developing nations, and in light of the Vietnam war having escalated when Lyndon B. Johnson assumed office as U.S. President (with Robert McNamara as Secretary of Defence). Stockholm became an ideal location, given Sweden's good standing in the Third World.

Part of the planning and agenda for the Stockholm Conference had been developed at the Aspen Institute and the International Institute for Environmental Affairs (IIEA), founded in 1971 to assist the conference secritariat. The Aspen contribution specifically stressed the need for international governance to handle the environmental problems.
The board of IIEA included Robert O. Anderson (ARCO, Aspen Institute), Maurice Strong (Aspen Institute), and Robert McNamara (newly appointed head of the World Bank after his post as Secretary of Defense).

IIEA was later renamed the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) when the institute relocated from Washington DC to London, under the direction of Dame Barbara Ward.

The Club of Rome

The following year, 1968, the powerful environmental think tank, the Club of Rome, was created by Aurelio Peccei (President of Olivetti, executive at Fiat, and founder of Alitalia), and Alexander King (Director General for Scientific Affairs of OECD), with contributions from Fiat president Gianni Agnelli (1921–2003, grandson of Fiat Founder Giovanni Agnelli).

Agnelli, seen as the most powerful capitalist in Italy, was a close ally of David Rockefeller’s and was part of the International Advisory Committee of Chase Manhattan Bank. This network would grow to become a major player in the international arena, with David as coordinator.

In 1965, Peccei had attracted the interest of U.S. Secretary of State, Dean Rusk (former chairman of the Rockefeller Foundation and panelist in RBF’s Special Studies Project) when delivering a speech to the private investment organization ADELA (Atlantic Community Development Group for Latin America) in Buenos Aires. (ADELA members included industrialists such as Agnelli, Marcus Wallenberg Sr., and Henry Ford II.)

Peccei had talked about global crises such as population explosion, environmental degradation, the gap between North and South, and the need for a new industrial electronic revolution, with long-term planning at a global level.

These concerns were also of interest to Jermen Gvishiani, vice-president of the State Committee for Science and Technology in the Soviet Union. An international collaboration between East and West was initiated, that was to lay the foundation for the Club of Rome and for the institutes IIASA (International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis) in Laxenburg, Austria, and IFIAS (International Federation of Institutes of Advanced Study) in Stockholm.

Astrophysicist, systems theorist, and futurist, Eric Jantsch
further developed Pecceis ideas (“Framework for Initiating system-wide planning on a world scale") during a conference at the Academia dei Lincei in Rome in April 1968.
The meeting was described as a failure and no consensus could be reached, but some of the participants (Peccei, King, Jantsch, Hasan Özbekhan) decided to go ahead and assumed the name Club of Rome.

A few months later (on October 27—November 2, 1968), the Working Symposium on Long-Range Forecasting and Planning was held at the Rockefeller Foundation's conference center Villa Serbelloni, in Bellagio, organised by the OECD and funded by Rockefeller Foundation.
Several Club of Rome founders attended, and also some of its future spokespersons, such as René Dubos (Rockefeller University) and Jay Forrester (MIT).
The conference resulted in the
Bellagio Declaration on Planning,
(1969) highlighting the need for international and holistic planning to handle technological, economic, political, and social stresses.

In 1970, after a rather disorganised start, the Club of Rome got a more solid foundation. Its stated purpose was “to promote understanding of the global challenges facing humanity and to propose solutions through scientific analysis, communication and advocacy” – with the creation of a planetary civilisation as the ultimate goal.

The philosophy was largely based on cybernetics and systems theory, originating from Ludwig von Bertalanffy’s view of the world as a closed system with interdependent parts which, according to the Club of Rome, was in need of a central governance – a technocratic system with a futurist dream of being able to predict and handle all upcoming challenges. The systems theorists also used John von Neumann’s ideas about controlling the world by making mathematical calculations about future development. This was the basis of the computer modelling later used as political motivation for a global transformation into a new system.

The Club of Rome had close connections to the Rockefeller family and the financial elite. Max Kohnstamm, member of the Club of Rome inner circle, was also involved in the Bilderberg group steering committee with David Rockefeller and Gianni Agnelli.
Detlev Bronk from Rockefeller University was recruited in 1969.
The executive board included Nelson Rockefeller’s personal friend, Carroll Louis Wilson from Sloan School of Management at MIT.

Limits to Growth

In 1972, Club of Rome published
Limits to Growth
, with pessimistic Neo-Malthusian data projections about future development. The computer models used in the book, on commission from Carroll L. Wilson, had been developed at the MIT Sloan School of Management (a private business school founded by GM CEO Alfred P. Sloan, headed by the Rockefeller family’s financial advisor, William F. Pounds). The book suggested two solutions: a system transformation into Global Governance and zero growth.

The Climate Conferences SCEP and SMIC

During the prelude to the upcoming Stockholm Conference, Carroll L. Wilson was the one who put the climate change on the international agenda
by organising the two conferences Study of Critical Environmental Problems (SCEP) in Williamstown, Massachusetts (1970), and Study of Man's Impact on Climate (SMIC) in Wijk, Sweden (1971).

The conference reports are often cited as the origins of public interest in the emerging climate discourse. According to climate researcher and author of the climate chapter of the SMIC report, William Kellogg (NCAR), they were “required reading” for all participants at the Stockholm Conference and inspired a whole generation of climate scientists.

The conferences were initiated by the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute (where Wilson was a board member with Detlev Bronk), and MIT.
Funding came from National Science Foundation, Ford Foundation, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation and American Conservation Association (ACA). The influence of the Rockefeller family was significant through Laurance Rockefeller being chairman of ACA and board member of the Sloan Foundation, besides Wilson being a close associate. The SCEP report was directly financed by the Rockefeller Foundation.

For the conference in Williamstown (SCEP), Wilson had gathered 40 scientists and experts from a number of disciplines with the goal “to raise the level of informed public and scientific discussion and action on global environmental problems.” The research group wanted to find leverage points where relatively small human environmental stressors might have a significant and global impact on climate change.

The second conference was held in Svante Arrhenius' birthplace Wijk outside Uppsala, Sweden, in collaboration with the Royal Academy of Sciences (KVA) and the Royal Academy of Engineering (IVA).
The Swedish–American connections remained strong. This conference was intended to serve as an authoritative source of virtually all issues connected with climate change and related areas, and had been sought for by Maurice Strong, who was Secretary General of the Stockholm Conference.

There was still at this time some disagreement on whether the main problem was aerosols (with soot causing cooling) or carbon dioxide (having a warming effect). It was concluded that in any case
influenced the climate system through the burning of fossil fuels.

The reports did not gain much attention during the Stockholm Conference but would soon prove very useful as basis for research programs such as ICSU–SCOPE and Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP).

Big Oil and Auto Fund the Green Movement

At the end of the 1960s more active measures were taken to spread environmental awareness to the general

In 1967, the Environmental Defence Fund was funded by George Woodwell from Conservation Foundation to inform about the dangers of DDT.

Three years later, the closely related National Resources Defence Council (NRDC) was founded by, among others, environmental lawyer
James Gustave Speth, with Woodwell on the board of directors and funded by Ford Foundation. Laurance Rockefeller was
of both organisations. His son Larry, who would later succeed him as chairman of the American Conservation Association, would work for NRDC for 25 years.

Woodwell, Speth, and RBF, would in the 1980s come to play crucial roles in making the climate a global political concern. Speth (a Rhodes Scholar), would in 1982 also found World Resources Institute and thereafter be appointed to the board of directors of RBF.

In 1969, Rockefeller Foundation and Ford Foundation launched their environmental programme, Quality of the Environment.

Around the same time, the British had convinced the Council of European Union to declare 1970 the
European Conservation Year.

Through the Rockefeller family’s efforts, conservation was also included in the agenda of the new U.S. President, Richard Nixon.

Russell E. Train from Conservation Foundation became chairman of the President’s Council on Environmental Quality, while Laurance Rockefeller continued as presidential advisor.

Shortly thereafter, several new climate research institutes were formed. In 1971, the Climate Research Unit (of later “climategate” fame) at the University of East Anglia in England was founded by Graham Sutton and Lord Zuckerman, and funded by BP, Shell Oil and Rockefeller Foundation.

Friends of the Earth

In 1969, Friends of the Earth (FoE) was launched, as a more radical branch of the nature and wildlife conservation movement (previously dominated by the upper class concerned mainly with the creation of national parks).

Funding came from oil magnate Robert O. Anderson from Aspen Institute. David Brower from the Sierra Club was recruited as chairman. Aurelio Peccei (chairman of the Club of Rome and founder of Alitalia) was also a board member.
It was all quite contradictory.

Friends of the Earth
now attracted young people and radicals who fought the establishment and resented the big finance dynasties’ undue influence over politics and business, without understanding who was really pulling the strings. The aim of the organisation was to change the economic world order towards one based on solidarity and ecological sustainability.

During the 1970s, nuclear power and nuclear waste became a target of Friends of the Earth activism. It was seen as a competitor by the oil industry, which can explain some of its support for radical environmentalism. Such unholy alliances would persist and be developed further in coming decades.

BOOK: Rockefeller – Controlling the Game
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