….we should secure their file cabinets.
(Yes, I believe that entire institution should either be torn down to the ground, or at least moved to Zimbabwe where delegates’ double-parking tickets and towing charges will be the least of their worries. I can no long find any redeeming quality in the United Nations.)
But about those file cabinets…
…inside them you will find evidence of some of the most heinous crimes against humanity imaginable, the global warming scam probably the least among them.
For also inside them, we will find the cures for many of the economic woes of the Third World. But I repeat myself.
Let me explain this with a story.
In the late 80s I was approached by an old friend who ran a left-of-center poverty law institute. He in turn had a friend at a state law school who wanted me to meet a scientist…so I drove up there to see them.
Now this scientist/inventor was a real genius, but mad as a hatter, insufferably arrogant, and the manners of a kid still in knee pants. But he “invented” a process of incalculable value, to my mind, so I listened.
This was the period, if you will recall, of worldwide famine, from Ethiopia across the breadth of the Sahel in Africa, to the floodplains in Bangladesh, mostly caused by man-made deforestation.
In both Africa and the subcontinent, deforestation was associated with tribal peoples killing living bushes and shrubs, which held the soil, for cooking fuel after all the dead wood had been used up. Sort of like Congress, they were mortgaging tomorrow for a hot bowl of soup today.
Even into the 90s I still saw village women in Europe, in the Balkans, carrying rushes of deadwood some times from a mile or two, only, while the labor was hard and the foraging often at long distance, their wood supplies were renewable to point, for each year they could take down trees to season through the winter.
If you don’t know, cooking fuel is a low b.t.u. fuel, and wood best suits it. Coal burns too hot, and charcoal is too expensive. Just a few 1-inch logs, 8″ or so long, brought to white hot, and you can have a good hot meal for four.
As you may guess, every time you pull up a live bush, there is less to hold the soil, causing flooding downstream, or in Africa, to hold back and encroaching desert.
My mad scientist friend had found a cure; both the end-use product and the process. He designed a kindling/log-sized piece composed of waste coal (with a very low b.t.u) plus biomass and an entrained solid gas similar to Trioxane used in military field cook stoves.
What a wonderful solution I thought. My mind immediately dashed all over the world where variations of this products could be used, from sea level to 10,000 feet up.
Only how much would it cost, per tonne, per unit? And who, other than AID agencies would buy it?Â The technology was already there to produce it in volume.
So I quickly drafted an R&D plan in my mind, figuring two years to get some field results and then market those results to the right international aid groups. I knew of various technologies in Kentucky being tried with coal gasification, and knew the company in New Jersey that currently had the contract for military fuel pellets. Slam dunk.
All we needed was enough product to do some field tests at various altitudes, in order to establish b.t.u. parameters, and my scientist friend said he could produce 200-300 pounds in his lab.
Then came the hard part. Dr Strangelove thought he was going to be brazillionaire, and I told him, no, more like a cubanaire, for profit margins had to be kept to the 2%-3% range inasmuch as the end users (the word’s poorest people) would never be the ones paying for this fuel, and if they had to pay, they’d keep on cutting down live shrubs for free. Moreover, with some past experience getting goods off the docks in Mombasa, I figured 25% minimum of pilferage, even under UN supervision…if the product was any good at all.
Well, my mad scientist would have none of it, and we fought and fought…very LOUDLY…for over a month, while I was also trying to find $25,000 to run three field tests…one in the Atlas Mountains in Morocco, another in the Himalayan foothills, and a third in the Sahel.
I finally talked Dr Strangelove down to 3%, and began trying to shop the idea. I was a listed consultant with the UN, as well as 2-3 other regional development banks, but finally decided to by-pass the United Nations, for reasons I will outline shortly, for that is the punchline to this story.
Instead I tried some of the private sector NGO’s like OXFAM and Bandaid. This was before the internet, so I had to send out individual letters. I actually got a reply from Bandaid in London (a pretty good outfit for awhile) and was asked to call a lady named Jenny Penden, or Penny Jenden (I can’t recall) who, when she picked up the phone, sounded like Lulu in “To Sir With Love”.
At 4.00/min I explained what I had already cited in the letter, and all the wondrous things we could do to stop deforestation, and save lives and fragile eco-systems, and Miss Penden-Jenden just cooed. I explained that all we needed was USD 25,000 to conduct field fuel efficiency tests at various altitudes. And then, to cap off the deal, which I thought was well in hand, I mentioned that I had even talked the inventor of the process down to a 3% profit margin. I could hear a deep sound of sucking air on the other end, and Miss Penden-Jenden asked, “You mean this is a for-profit venture?” Why yes, why do…but before I could say Mick Hensley, she said “Bandaid can’t be involved in any venture that shows a profit.” And she hung up.
So, you’re asking why didn’t I go to the UN in the first place? Or at all?
For one, the UN, while a very for-profit organization, if you know what I mean…(remember Kofi Annan’s son did quite well the Oil for Food ProgrammeÂ a few years later)…does not take a shine to private for-profit companies. Rather, it prefers non-profit NGO’s with “Assistance, Children, Aid”, or something like that in the title, and you must still know someone who knows someone just to get a good idea heard. And you must be able to speak baksheesh in at least forty languages, including braille.
But while everyone understands a crook, it may be more difficult to understand the overall UN world view…the bureaucratic, grant-award world view, where quite frankly, the research is more important, and certainly more profitable, than the solution.
In my research of this new fuel (I subscribed to a lot of Leftie mags in those days, one in particular, South, a great source if you could just wade through the Marxist doggerel) I ran across a report by two midwestern profs about the cooking culture of the Sahel. They had received a nice UN grant for a 2-3 year study of stove manufacturing in tribal areas up around Timbuktu, at the big crook when the Niger River turns south.
They had designed some new stoves they felt would fit into the local manufacturing culture, so as not to put local potsmiths out of business, and which were about 30% more fuel efficient. Men after my own heart. I talked to one of them, can’t recall which, and asked if the stoves were really that good, then explained the fuel I was working on.
So, where can I get some of these stoves? When will the stoves be inserted into local economies?, I asked. Oh, probably never, he said. First, our report has to go out for peer review, which lasts at least two years, and there is always a lot of beard-stroking, and nay-saying among academicians around the world. No matter how much we try to advance-guess those “what-if’s” one never can. It’s all a kind of game. Never do projects like these actually go into production.
So, why don’t you just take the design and put it into the public domain? Oh we can’t do that. First, we agree by contract not to. We even have to turn over our field notes. Part of the contract. They own everything. We get a nice stipend and get written up. It’s a resume enhancement.
The point is, we can study a problem, and the pay is good, but if we ever fix that problem, dozens of other scientists and researchers will lose their chance at a grant.
He said this without even a hint of sarcasm or remorse.
At least when we ask where Yassar Arafat learned to keep his Palestinians sick, hungry, uneducated and poor…so as to keep them strapping bombs around their waists, we’ll know where he learned it.