Twenty years ago the first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro marked the ascension of environmentalism as a political force in international affairs. That conference in 1992 produced the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change and the Convention on Biological Diversity. At the time, Chris Flavin of the Worldwatch Institute crowed, “You cannot go to any corner of the globe and not find some degree of environmental awareness and some amount of environmental politics.” Flavin added that with socialism in disrepute, environmentalism is now the “most powerful political ideal today.” At the conclusion of the Rio +20 Earth Summit, it is clear that that is no longer so.
The largest United Nations conference ever—featuring more than 50,000 participants from 188 nations —was a flop. For most of the environmentalist ideologues at the Rio +20 conference the only question was whether it was a “hoax” or a “failure.” Oxfam chief executive Barbara Stocking preferred “hoax” while “failure” was Greenpeace spokesperson Kumi Naidoo’s dismissive term.
In response to outcomes of the Rio conference, more than a thousand environmentalist and leftist groups signed a petition entitled The Future We Don’t Want. That is a play on the title of the platitudinous outcome document, The Future We Want, agreed to by the diplomats at the end of the conference. Greenpeace’s Kumi Naidoo lamely vowed that disappointed environmentalists would now engage in acts of civil disobedience in order to bring about the world they want.
CONTINUED at Reason. Written by Ronald Bailey.