The World Resources Institute is under investigation for trying to influence environmental policy. What else are they up to?
Investigators working for the House Natural Resources Committee sent a letter demanding answers from the World Resources Institute. The non-profit think tank is supposed to be representing “green” tree-hugging policies, but the committee thinks what they’re really doing is illegal lobbying for Chinese interests.
They’ve worked closely with the Bill Clinton and Barack Obama administrations in the past and also played a large role in defining the Paris climate agreement. There are those who wonder if WRI might even be the addressee for the “courtesy copies” of every message that went to and from Hillary Clinton’s secret server.
The Inspector General for the Department of Justice uncovered anomalous code, “embedded in Clinton’s server,” that was sending a “courtesy copy” to a third party, as each email message went in and out, “in real time.” Daily Caller reported “two different reliable sources having direct knowledge of the matter, at least one of whom is “an intelligence official.”
Both sources verify the “Chinese state-owned company based in Northern Virginia… was part of an ongoing Chinese government intelligence operation.”
On Wednesday, the congressional watchdog committee sent a letter to WRI requesting documents and materials “dating as far back as 2014, as part of its probe into possible attempts by foreign actors to influence U.S. environmental and natural resources policy.” They have until September 12, to comply.
Specifically, the committee is looking at the tax-exempt group for its “role in aiding China’s perception management efforts with respect to pollution control and its international standing on environmental issues in ways that may be detrimental to the United States,” they penned.
What the company has been doing seems to cross a red line, enough to require formal registration as a Foreign Agent. “The Committee is concerned that WRI’s relationship with the Chinese government may [influence] its political activities in the United States.”
The panel’s ranking Democrat, Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) once patted WRI on the back for their agreement in the Paris accord to “max out greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.”
The promise is completely meaningless and allows China to continue increasing pollution for more than a decade, but Grijalva praised it as “a serious and credible contribution.” As the Manhattan Institute’s Oren Cass notes, that commitment “is merely tantamount to business as usual.”
Wednesday’s letter points out that while WRI had nothing but good things to say about China, they tried to “cripple” the United States. “Conversely, WRI advocated for unrealistic Paris Climate Agreement commitments by the United States in the face of sustained criticism that such commitments would cripple our country’s economic competitiveness.”
“[China] masks its political motives behind laudable human-interest or cultural projects, blurring the battle line with its adversaries,” the committee wrote. “Chinese officials continually work to control environmental information and news stories in an effort to counter the country’s status as the world’s largest polluter.”
In July, Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Christopher Wray, called China “the broadest, most challenging, most significant counterintelligence threat to the U.S. intelligence community.”
He notes that he has seen recent reports which indicate “China sometimes makes financial support and access to other resources like visas contingent upon academic institutions, think tanks, and nonprofit groups promoting pro-Chinese viewpoints.”
WRI pushed back, claiming that for decades they have been using “independent, nonpartisan, and evidence-based” approaches. What that actually means isn’t clear and they didn’t elaborate.
As reported in the Washington Examiner, “in order to respond to the world’s most urgent sustainability challenges,” a spokesperson relayed, “it’s vital to work in the world’s developing countries and major economies, including China, the world’s most populous country.”
“We are proud of our work in China, including on issues related to air pollution, traffic congestion, and water quality.”
In China, the air is so bad people often wear masks. Bags of fresh air are available for purchase. A large clear trash bag full of mountain air captured near a hiking trail sells for about $5 worth of the local currency.
The World Resources Institute was named in a subpoena request in a suit against the Department of State by “free-market” rights groups in February of 2017 regarding “records sent between the department and Jennifer Morgan.” At the time she was the global director of the WRI’s climate program.
The conservatives wanted documents relating to Morgan’s “role coordinating efforts between green pressure groups and China to keep the climate gravy train chugging in the post-Obama world.”
The Paris accord has been on life-support since President Donald Trump pulled America out of the sham arrangement. Most people don’t realize the focus of the Paris agreement wasn’t to limit pollution, but to turn smog into cash is a basic redistribution of wealth scheme.
Polluting countries like China could pay for their pollution “sins” by purchasing “carbon credits” from cleaner countries. President Trump pointed out that without the deal, we have cleaned up our own act significantly and refuses to “enable” countries like China to thumb their nose at reform.
In July, there was a worldwide meeting of the carbon credit mafia in Katowice, Poland. After hammering out a draft for an updated agreement without the U.S. that covered more than 300 pages, Jo Tyndall recommended not getting too excited yet.
What they have is “an agreed basis for negotiations that narrows down the options.” She calls it a “cautious formula” that reflects the difficulties of getting 195 countries to agree on anything.
“We are getting on the road towards that but we are not there yet. Broadly speaking, we think the willingness and the engagement is very much there. Parties are working incredibly hard and long hours.”
It all boils down to the money. A key principal, French diplomat Paul Watkinson adds, “is that progress must be balanced to reflect the competing priorities of different blocs.”
“There can be no deal on carbon accounting rules without commitments on the transfer of finance from rich to poor countries, for example.” Communism 101.