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Re: [energyresources] [greenleap] Peter Christoff's assessment of the Rio + 20 conference

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  • Frank Holland
    Hugh, The message is nobody cares, we have been banging our heads against many brick walls. We should pack it in and eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we all
    Message 1 of 3 , Jun 30, 2012
      Hugh,

      The message is nobody cares, we have been banging our heads against many
      brick walls.

      We should pack it in and eat drink and be merry for tomorrow we all will
      die!

      Frank

      On Fri, 2012-06-29 at 11:36 +1000, hugh spencer wrote:
      >
      > From Greenleap.
      >
      > population...as ever, doesn't even rate a mention in this assessment -
      > may
      > it's because Christoff is VPof ACF??
      >
      > H
      >
      > (I've cleaned this post up - lots of typos.)
      >
      > Dear Greenleapers,
      > Here's an assessment of the Rio + 20 conference by Peter Christoff.
      > and
      > immediately below is an intro he wrote to the article specifically for
      > Greenleap.
      >
      > It is easy to become despondent about the successive failures of the
      > Copenhagen/Cancun/Durban conferences and now the Rio+20 Summit. These
      > international events evidence a retreat by nation states to 'lowest
      > level
      > pragmatism' or 'common but differentiated environmental
      > irresponsibility'
      > during times of economic and political stress. Without a clear sense
      > of
      > achievable outcomes and rewards for which they can then take credit,
      > national leaders are waiting not leading, instead hoping first to
      > restore
      > economic stability by patching the cracks.
      >
      > Of course, wide-reaching transformative change will require state
      > involvement. But to get it we have to generate social understanding,
      > pressure and change that makes such government material support and
      > regulatory change seem inevitable. So, for me, the key lesson of the
      > past
      > five years of summitry is that we should invest much less energy and
      > hope
      > in global or even national 'top-down' action in the short term and
      > place
      > greater emphasis on local 'bottom-up' work, building a foundation of
      > legitimacy and popular pressure for change - noting changes in the
      > Middle
      > East, working for a sort of 'Climate Spring'. (Peter Christoff)
      >
      > http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/06/22/rio20-doing-the-zombie-shuffle/
      >
      > Rio+20: doing the zombie shuffle
      > by Peter Christoff,
      > Associate professor of environmental policy at the University of
      > Melbourne
      >
      > As the Rio+20 Conference on the environment enters its last day, two
      > things are certain. With its negotiated text finalised and awaiting
      > formal
      > approval by heads of state, the conference will notlike the Copenhagen
      > climate conference in 2009run desperately over time, threatened by
      > brinksmanship, courting collapse. Nor will it deliver anything of
      > significance.
      >
      > Rio+20 is a zombie summit, shuffling through its paces dead-eyed,
      > toothless, empty-handed. It is a ritual that lacks a clear agenda or
      > international commitment to action. Its 53-page, 283-clause draft text
      > can
      > rightly be criticised as a pastiche of platitudes winnowed of
      > substance
      > during pre-negotiations.
      >
      > Gone are notions of planetary limits critical to the raison detre for
      > this conference. Gone is any tough response to the crisis of the
      > oceans as
      > dramatic and urgent as that of our atmosphere. With no clear goals, no
      > new
      > treaties, no new funding, Rio+20 merely commemorates the monumental
      > initiatives of the original 1992 Rio Earth Summit rather than
      > proposing
      > significant new ones.
      >
      > By contrast, the 1992 summit, formerly the UN Conference on
      > Environment
      > and Development was propelled by hope. Everyone hoped that the end of
      > the
      > Cold War and its arms race would produce a peace dividend that could
      > solve
      > the world's most pressing problems of environmental degradation and
      > poverty.
      >
      > Like Rio+20, that conference was also marked by tensions between the
      > developed and developing world. The latter wanted a radical
      > redistribution
      > of global wealth as the price for agreeing to participate in two new
      > major
      > treaties on climate (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change)
      > and
      > biodiversity preservation (CBD).
      >
      > Twenty years on, the same issues and tensions remain unresolved but
      > greater.
      >
      > Nowhere is this evidence clearer than in the UN Environment Programs
      > authoritative fifth scientific "Global Environmental Outlook Report"
      > the
      > GEO 5 presented to the Rio+20 Summit. This report indicated that
      > planetary
      > boundaries and limits have now been breached. Our global environmental
      > health measured against 40 major indicatorsis rapidly failing. Of the
      > major planet-threatening issues, global warming and its impacts are
      > accelerating, as is biodiversity loss. This must be the definition of
      > a
      > global environmental crisis.
      >
      > The developing blocs concerns about development and poverty
      > eradication
      > have grown. Many related indicators also point to deteriorating social
      > and
      > economic conditions since 1992. Most millennium development goals set
      > to
      > address them by 2015 are unlikely to be met.
      >
      > In fact, as a consequence, the environment has been reduced to a
      > backstage prop to human development concerns in much of the Rio+20
      > draft
      > text, "The Future We Want".
      >
      > Two decades ago, there was hope that the looming ecological crisis and
      > tensions between environmental protection and development could both
      > be
      > resolved by well-funded application of the idea of 'sustainable
      > development', freshly minted by the UN s Brundtland Report in 1987.
      > This
      > hope was framed and given substance in Agenda 21 and the Rio
      > Declaration,
      > and the Commission on Sustainable Development, that accompanied it.
      > Since
      > then, 'sustainable development' has been reduced to a tired cliché,
      > Agenda
      > 21 set aside, and the CSD poorly funded.
      >
      > A key element to the specific failure of Rio+20 has been its failure
      > to
      > generate a new, coherent and powerful analysis of the economic and
      > environmental failures of the past two decades, and then to respond to
      > this critique.
      >
      > Rio+20 comes at an extraordinary historical conjuncture. Days apart,
      > two
      > global summits have attempted to address compounding economic and
      > environmental crises. It is only a relatively short distance from
      > Mexico
      > to Brazil for some of the heads of the G20, including Julia Gillard,
      > who
      > have flitted from one forum to the next. The deep failures of both
      > summits
      > are closely linked.
      >
      > The G20 leaders have desperately sought to stabilise the European
      > economies to avert the sort of acute crisis that we saw in 2008by
      > managing
      > debt, in order to generate renewed growth. For the moment,
      > stabilisation
      > may seem within their grasp a shallow success that certainly gives us
      > temporary relief from immediate chaos.
      >
      > Rio+20 and the G20 Summit confront a linked crisis - the global
      > consequences of poorly regulated economic growth and the
      > over-consumption
      > of natural resources. Both aspects have been produced by failures of
      > national and international governance, exacerbated by neo-liberal
      > globalisation, to limit debt and environmental over-exploitation to
      > sustainable levels.
      >
      > The solution sought by the G20 (and Germany in particular) is
      > temporary
      > austerity in order to reinvigorate conventional economic growth and
      > trade.
      > And so the solution offered by one summit promises merely a return to
      > the
      > trajectory of environmental depletion that the second summit tries to
      > end.
      > It makes you wonder what the leaders are thinking as they shuffle
      > between
      > Los Cabos and the Rio Summit.
      >
      > The key pre-Rio+20 documents contributed by the OECD and the UNEP
      > attempted to revive the notion of sustainable development within a
      > green
      > growth paradigm. However the notions of green growth, green economics
      > and
      > free trade at the heart of the Rio+20 message, still fundamentally
      > rely,
      > as the draft text " The Future We Want" puts it, on promoting
      > sustained,
      > inclusive and equitable economic growth and increasing sustainable
      > consumption. All this disregards and intensifies the degradation of
      > the
      > planets environmental base.
      >
      > The harder and necessary path is to further reduce aggregate global
      > demand for material goods, the dematerialisation approach that Tim
      > Jackson, a former member of the UK Sustainability Commission, called
      > "prosperity without growth" in his report of the same name.
      >
      > What would a global economy based on shrinking material consumption to
      > respect planetary boundaries actually look like? How would employment
      > be
      > maintained?
      >
      > How would redistribution of wealth and resources occur within and
      > between
      > states in such a global economy? What is required to remove all state
      > support and subsidies for environmentally destructive activity? Or to
      > ensure that trade is constrained by environmental restrictions? How
      > could
      > political and economic constituencies be built to support and engage
      > in
      > this transformation?
      >
      > These shifts imply and frame a new global order very different from
      > that
      > embodied in the Los Cabos "Growth and Jobs Action Plan" or the weak
      > text
      > of "The Future We Want" that Rio will bless. Such an alternative just
      > might catalyse a future that we could really want, or at least be able
      > live with over time. But zombie summitry will never produce such deals
      > or
      > outcomes.
      >
      > *Associate professor Peter Christoff teaches environmental policy at
      > the
      > University of Melbourne. He is also vice-president of the Australian
      > Conservation Foundation.
      >
      >
      >
      >
      >
    • Eric Pfeiffer
      The Rio conference is indeed just another conference as a vast army of green bureaucrats moves from conference to conference across the globe consuming vast
      Message 2 of 3 , Jun 30, 2012
        The Rio conference is indeed just another conference as a vast army of "green"
        bureaucrats moves from conference to conference across the globe consuming
        vast amounts of energy to hop across the globe, leaving a vast trail
        of unneeded pollution in their wake.
             And of course they stay at the finest hotels, travel about the host countries
        seeing the sights and tasting the cuisine of the host countries as well as
        traveling about to observe the environments of the local areas.
             Do the endless conferences across the globe actually have a function,
        a goal other than personal entertainment? 
            In the meantime,  rising costs for fuels keep the real hero's, our engineers,
        busy designing more efficient technologies to use everything more
        wisely, and our scientists push the frontiers of physics and chemistry
        so we can better control the world about use and alter our ability
        to survive in that world.
              So yes, the green army of bureaucrats will be packing shortly for
        the next conference somewhere in the world, heading out to do their
        duty visiting someother country as the well paid tourists that they
        actually are.

        From: hugh spencer <Hugh@...>
        To: roeoz@yahoogroups.com
        Cc: greenleap@yahoogroups.com; energyresources@yahoogroups.com; America2Point0@yahoogroups.com; ClimateChangeLinkage@yahoogroups.com
        Sent: Thursday, June 28, 2012 8:36 PM
        Subject: [energyresources] [greenleap] Peter Christoff's assessment of the Rio + 20 conference


         
        From Greenleap.

        population...as ever, doesn't even rate a mention in this assessment - may
        it's because Christoff is VPof ACF??

        H

        (I've cleaned this post up - lots of typos.)

        Dear Greenleapers,
        Here's an assessment of the Rio + 20 conference by Peter Christoff. and
        immediately below is an intro he wrote to the article specifically for
        Greenleap.

        It is easy to become despondent about the successive failures of the
        Copenhagen/Cancun/Durban conferences and now the Rio+20 Summit. These
        international events evidence a retreat by nation states to 'lowest level
        pragmatism' or 'common but differentiated environmental irresponsibility'
        during times of economic and political stress. Without a clear sense of
        achievable outcomes and rewards for which they can then take credit,
        national leaders are waiting not leading, instead hoping first to restore
        economic stability by patching the cracks.

        Of course, wide-reaching transformative change will require state
        involvement. But to get it we have to generate social understanding,
        pressure and change that makes such government material support and
        regulatory change seem inevitable. So, for me, the key lesson of the past
        five years of summitry is that we should invest much less energy and hope
        in global or even national 'top-down' action in the short term and place
        greater emphasis on local 'bottom-up' work, building a foundation of
        legitimacy and popular pressure for change - noting changes in the Middle
        East, working for a sort of 'Climate Spring'. (Peter Christoff)

        http://www.crikey.com.au/2012/06/22/rio20-doing-the-zombie-shuffle/

        Rio+20: doing the zombie shuffle
        by Peter Christoff,
        Associate professor of environmental policy at the University of Melbourne

        As the Rio+20 Conference on the environment enters its last day, two
        things are certain. With its negotiated text finalised and awaiting formal
        approval by heads of state, the conference will notlike the Copenhagen
        climate conference in 2009run desperately over time, threatened by
        brinksmanship, courting collapse. Nor will it deliver anything of
        significance.

        Rio+20 is a zombie summit, shuffling through its paces dead-eyed,
        toothless, empty-handed. It is a ritual that lacks a clear agenda or
        international commitment to action. Its 53-page, 283-clause draft text can
        rightly be criticised as a pastiche of platitudes winnowed of substance
        during pre-negotiations.

        Gone are notions of planetary limits critical to the raison detre for
        this conference. Gone is any tough response to the crisis of the oceans as
        dramatic and urgent as that of our atmosphere. With no clear goals, no new
        treaties, no new funding, Rio+20 merely commemorates the monumental
        initiatives of the original 1992 Rio Earth Summit rather than proposing
        significant new ones.

        By contrast, the 1992 summit, formerly the UN Conference on Environment
        and Development was propelled by hope. Everyone hoped that the end of the
        Cold War and its arms race would produce a peace dividend that could solve
        the world's most pressing problems of environmental degradation and
        poverty.

        Like Rio+20, that conference was also marked by tensions between the
        developed and developing world. The latter wanted a radical redistribution
        of global wealth as the price for agreeing to participate in two new major
        treaties on climate (the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) and
        biodiversity preservation (CBD).

        Twenty years on, the same issues and tensions remain unresolved but greater.

        Nowhere is this evidence clearer than in the UN Environment Programs
        authoritative fifth scientific "Global Environmental Outlook Report" the
        GEO 5 presented to the Rio+20 Summit. This report indicated that planetary
        boundaries and limits have now been breached. Our global environmental
        health measured against 40 major indicatorsis rapidly failing. Of the
        major planet-threatening issues, global warming and its impacts are
        accelerating, as is biodiversity loss. This must be the definition of a
        global environmental crisis.

        The developing blocs concerns about development and poverty eradication
        have grown. Many related indicators also point to deteriorating social and
        economic conditions since 1992. Most millennium development goals set to
        address them by 2015 are unlikely to be met.

        In fact, as a consequence, the environment has been reduced to a
        backstage prop to human development concerns in much of the Rio+20 draft
        text, "The Future We Want".

        Two decades ago, there was hope that the looming ecological crisis and
        tensions between environmental protection and development could both be
        resolved by well-funded application of the idea of 'sustainable
        development', freshly minted by the UN s Brundtland Report in 1987. This
        hope was framed and given substance in Agenda 21 and the Rio Declaration,
        and the Commission on Sustainable Development, that accompanied it. Since
        then, 'sustainable development' has been reduced to a tired cliché, Agenda
        21 set aside, and the CSD poorly funded.

        A key element to the specific failure of Rio+20 has been its failure to
        generate a new, coherent and powerful analysis of the economic and
        environmental failures of the past two decades, and then to respond to
        this critique.

        Rio+20 comes at an extraordinary historical conjuncture. Days apart, two
        global summits have attempted to address compounding economic and
        environmental crises. It is only a relatively short distance from Mexico
        to Brazil for some of the heads of the G20, including Julia Gillard, who
        have flitted from one forum to the next. The deep failures of both summits
        are closely linked.

        The G20 leaders have desperately sought to stabilise the European
        economies to avert the sort of acute crisis that we saw in 2008by managing
        debt, in order to generate renewed growth. For the moment, stabilisation
        may seem within their grasp a shallow success that certainly gives us
        temporary relief from immediate chaos.

        Rio+20 and the G20 Summit confront a linked crisis - the global
        consequences of poorly regulated economic growth and the over-consumption
        of natural resources. Both aspects have been produced by failures of
        national and international governance, exacerbated by neo-liberal
        globalisation, to limit debt and environmental over-exploitation to
        sustainable levels.

        The solution sought by the G20 (and Germany in particular) is temporary
        austerity in order to reinvigorate conventional economic growth and trade.
        And so the solution offered by one summit promises merely a return to the
        trajectory of environmental depletion that the second summit tries to end.
        It makes you wonder what the leaders are thinking as they shuffle between
        Los Cabos and the Rio Summit.

        The key pre-Rio+20 documents contributed by the OECD and the UNEP
        attempted to revive the notion of sustainable development within a green
        growth paradigm. However the notions of green growth, green economics and
        free trade at the heart of the Rio+20 message, still fundamentally rely,
        as the draft text " The Future We Want" puts it, on promoting sustained,
        inclusive and equitable economic growth and increasing sustainable
        consumption. All this disregards and intensifies the degradation of the
        planets environmental base.

        The harder and necessary path is to further reduce aggregate global
        demand for material goods, the dematerialisation approach that Tim
        Jackson, a former member of the UK Sustainability Commission, called
        "prosperity without growth" in his report of the same name.

        What would a global economy based on shrinking material consumption to
        respect planetary boundaries actually look like? How would employment be
        maintained?

        How would redistribution of wealth and resources occur within and between
        states in such a global economy? What is required to remove all state
        support and subsidies for environmentally destructive activity? Or to
        ensure that trade is constrained by environmental restrictions? How could
        political and economic constituencies be built to support and engage in
        this transformation?

        These shifts imply and frame a new global order very different from that
        embodied in the Los Cabos "Growth and Jobs Action Plan" or the weak text
        of "The Future We Want" that Rio will bless. Such an alternative just
        might catalyse a future that we could really want, or at least be able
        live with over time. But zombie summitry will never produce such deals or
        outcomes.

        *Associate professor Peter Christoff teaches environmental policy at the
        University of Melbourne. He is also vice-president of the Australian
        Conservation Foundation.




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