Thursday, June 28, 2012

Yale 360 Environment ~ After Rio+20 ~ Where now?

28 JUN 2012: OPINION

Beyond Rio’s Disappointment,Finding a Path to the Future

The Rio+20 Summit produced a largely meaningless document that failed to address the daunting environmental challenges the world faces. But many at the conference looked to an alternative approach they called “green economics” — using market forces to help nations achieve sustainable development.

by fred pearce

Yale environment 360

There were no histrionics, no last-minute deals or walkouts. In fact, no anything really. The Rio+20 Earth Summit last week ended with barely a whimper. Many of the halls emptied by early afternoon on the final day. With the concluding text agreed three days earlier, the journalists had little to report, unplugged their laptops, and headed for the beaches.

And yet, behind the scenes, something really interesting just may have happened in Rio.

The summit was never going to be like its illustrious predecessor in Rio de Janeiro 20 years earlier. At the original event, virtually all the world’s leaders (including a reluctant George H.W. Bush) signed two groundbreaking treaties, on climate change and protecting biodiversity. Neither has turned out to be as effective as hoped back then. But the ambition was clear: saving the planet and achieving “sustainable development” for all.

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