Green activists live the high-flying life on the UN dime

Caption: Hardworking climate activists trudge from one gruelling UN summit to another.

The distinguishing characteristic of almost every tub-thumping climate botherer is just how little they are ever actually prepared to practise what they preach. Celebrity eco-crites fly their private jets all over the world (or, as often as not, from one California city to another) to hector the hoi-polloi from glittering bully-pulpits. Fleets of carbon-spewing limousines and Business-Class flights ferry hordes of grifting activists and huckstering politicians from summit to summit in exotic locales around the globe. All to the clink of carbon dioxide-bubbling champagne.

Perhaps the sweetest gig of all for a Gaia-worshipper, though, has to be getting their well-heeled backsides comfortably planted on the velvet cushions of a UN agency.

Former IPCC chairman Rajendra Pachauri piously opined that choosing to fly was ?irrational?, yet clocked up nearly half-a-million frequent-flyer miles in just 18 months? suckling on the UN teat: including two weekend round trips from New York to Delhi, just to watch cricket. Pachauri allegedly also considered comely female staffers as just another fringe benefit ? leading to a series of accusations and a forthcoming trial for sexual harassment.

The stench around randy Rajendra got so bad that he was reluctantly prised loose from the golden teat, and resigned in 2010. But new revelations, about another UN greenshirt boss, show that little has changed about the gilded lifestyle of the enviroklatura. Quote:

The globe-trotting travels of the UN?s environment chief have been sharply criticised in a draft internal audit as ?contrary to the ethos of carbon emission reduction?.

Erik Solheim, executive director of UN Environment, was travelling for 529 out of the 668 days audited, spending $488,518 (?370,380), according to the report. The audit also said he had ?no regard for abiding by the set regulations and rules? and claimed unjustified expenses. End of quote.

When you?re on a mission from Gaia, though, sacrifices don?t have to be made. Quote:

Responding to staff concern over his leadership of the UN Environment Programme (Unep), he said: ?To secure unprecedented environmental action, we need to change, as individuals, as society, indeed as the UN. No one is immune to the difficulty that type of systemic change often brings.?

The draft audit, leaked to the Guardian, was compiled by the UN Office of Internal Oversight Services (OIOS) and will be finalised after responses from the individuals named. It is particularly critical of Solheim?s frequent flying, which included a weekend trip from the US to France and back?Solheim told a Norwegian aviation magazine, people should not have a ?guilty conscience? about flying and said he held gold frequent flyer cards at all three major airline alliances. End of quote.

?People?, of course, only applies to the better kind of people: the ones who are paid astonishing sinecures to swan about the globe. The little people, on the other hand, need to be put in their place.

It?s just bad form to misbehave in front of the help, though: the servants will talk, after all, and the common muck get all kinds of uppity ideas. Discretion, darling, discretion. Quote:

?This is simply embarrassing,? said Truls Gulowsen, head of Greenpeace in Norway. ?Solheim has made Unep much more visible, which is a good thing, partly through travels and discussions with so many people. But this report puts him in an extremely bad light and weakens the credibility of UN?s entire environmental organisation.? End of quote.

Naturally, the self-serving excuses come thick and fast. Quote:

Solheim said: ?Making good on our global agenda demands engagement with the world and indeed an expanded approach to our work. I am therefore determined to continue to focus on our mandate to create real results for real people, with real impact on the ground.?

?After a request from a UN official to account for days spent in his home country, Norway, Solheim, emailed: ?We cannot accept this question on holiday vs job ? we are not any longer living in the industrial age and they must stop treating me as if I am a 07 to 16 factory worker ? the other side of this coin is that they must stop asking this stupid question.??End of quote.

Quiet, peasants, and peel me another grape.