Wednesday, 18 May 2011

UN chief propagandists already hyping next year´s Rio sustainability carneval

The Welcome Ceremony at the UN 2002 Johannesburg World Summit on Sustainable Development was a religion-resembling pageant venerating Mother Earth

"There’s an initial Eden, a paradise, a state of grace and unity with Nature; there’s a fall from grace into a state of pollution as a result from eating from the tree of knowledge; and as a result of our actions, there is a judgment day coming for all of us. We are energy sinners, doomed to die, unless we seek salvation, which is now called sustainability. Sustainability is salvation in the church of the environment, just as organic food is its communion, that pesticide-free wafer that the right people with the right beliefs imbibe".
          Michael Crichton, 2003

The enormous United Nations hype machinery, led by its South Korean Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, has already gone into overdrive in its propaganda campaign leading up to next year´s mega event, The Earth Summit, also known as the Fourth United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, or "Rio+20", to be helt in Brazil in June next year.

Thousands of politicians, bureaucrats, environmentalists and journalists have already made preliminary flight and hotel bookings for the Rio de Janeiro sustainability carneval, sponsored by the world´s tax payers.

And, of course, the main event is preceded by tens, if not hundreds of smaller gatherings in all corners of the world.

Only the other day the UN nineteenth Commission on Sustainable Development held a 10 day meeting in New York with "Government ministers from about 50 countries attending the segment, which was designed to give impetus to preparations for the Fourth UN Conference on Sustainable Development, or Rio+20, which will be held in the Brazilian city in June 2012."

The Secretary General, Mr. Ban Ki-moon himself spoke at the New York gathering:

Ban Ki-moon today stressed the need for fundamental changes in humanity’s resource consumption patterns and values, saying the planet’s natural environment is under unprecedented pressure with far-reaching social and economic consequences.

“We must also create an enhanced architecture for sustainable development governance at the national, regional and international levels. This is critical to advancing sustainable development. Our watchwords must be ‘implementation’ and ‘action’,”

A few days later, another of the UN bigwigs,  Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General of UNIDO was busy hyping the same themes in St. Petersburg:

The world must radically alter the way it produces and consumes materials if genuinely sustainable development is going to take root, the head of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO) said today. “This is how we can green our economies, our growth strategies and our industries, creating new green jobs, stimulating green investments and encouraging green innovations.”

Before anybody gets too excited about the UN "Rio+20", it may be useful to read what professor Philip Stott ( Emeritus Professor of Biogeography at the University of London) wrote about its predecessor, "Rio+10" in 2002:

'Sustainable development' is just dangerous nonsense

Where conferences on "sustainable development" are concerned, Schumacher's precept, "small is beautiful", has been long abandoned. Later this month, 65,000 delegates will descend on Johannesburg for "Earth Summit 2002" - the World Summit on Environment and Development.
These will include 106 government heads, 10,000 officials from 174 countries, and 6,000 journalists. The BBC team alone could top 100. Twenty UN bodies will be represented. A second parallel conference, comprising a kaleidoscope of lobbyists from ornithologists to oil magnates, has already received 15,000 registrations. Sustaining the whole caboodle will be 27,000 police, who may well be relieved that George W Bush is unlikely to attend.
Auden's Unknown Citizen might well ask: "What on earth is it all about?" The answer is, an empty phrase that Humpty Dumpty could employ to mean anything. "Sustainable development" was born out of the Green agenda of the 1970s and 1980s, including such apocalyptic constructs as the population timebomb and limits to growth, both of which proved false.
It received an initial airing in the World Commission on Environment and Development in 1987, but gained hegemony during the UN Conference on Environment and Development, held at Rio de Janeiro in 1992. Rio generated a programme, Agenda 21, for implementing sustainable development throughout the world. The Johannesburg jamboree is effectively Rio+10, a push for a revitalised and integrated UN system for sustainable development.

Sustainable development was defined in 1987 as "development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs". This was a good motherhood and apple pie sentiment, but how has it worked out?
Today, sustainable development is a ubiquitous, politically compliant phrase, a pleasant-sounding palliative to inexorable and inevitable change. It is dished up as a placebo to eco-chondriacs the world over. Ecological and economic change are the norm, not the exception. Equilibrium solutions are impossible; we inhabit a disturbing, non-equilibrium world, in which volcanoes erupt, earthquakes quake, seas rise and fall, and climate changes, whether under human influence or not.
Sustainable development lurks everywhere - for business, it is a neat PC word: all PR and ethical investment, but signifying little; for scientists, it means: "Give me funds for research"; for politicians: "Give me your nice Green vote".
The biggest problem arises when authoritarian environmentalists hijack the phrase. Then sustainable development becomes either no growth at all or limited growth of a type approved by an elite few - wind farms, yes: nuclear power no; organics, yes: GM no. This is why, so often, environmental organisations try to portray business as the arch-enemy of sustainable development. Like biodiversity, another key word from Rio, sustainability is thrown into the argument to block development and growth, to conjure up a return to an imagined, usually rural, Utopia.

But, theoretically, sustainability flies in the face of reality. From anthropology via physics to zoology, the world does not function in equilibrium, but rather on chaotic, non-equilibrium principles, whether in the stock market or with climate change. Sustainability is intrinsically an equilibrium idea seeking equilibrium solutions. It is easily employed to soften the fact of change and, in doing so, it undermines human dynamism and adaptability. This is exposed in the much-touted oxymoron - "sustainable climate".

The Kyoto protocol on climate change also arose from Rio. Climate is the most complex, chaotic, non-linear system. The idea that climate can be managed "in a predictable way" by manipulating one factor, carbon dioxide, out of the millions of factors involved is Alice-in-Wonderland science, with the verdict before the trial. This is the ultimate flaw: the sheer hubris of humans maintaining a "sustainable climate" vividly demonstrates the delusions of the sustainability myth.
Kyoto will do absolutely nothing to halt climate change in any predictable manner. For all we know, it might even play a tiny part in triggering a most unfortunate plunge into another ice age, which on purely statistical grounds is just about due. As we grow economically, the "command-and-control" targets of the type set under Kyoto are utterly impractical.

Read the entire article here


Professor Stott could have written the same article 10 years later, ahead of the "Rio+20". The global UN sustainability show seems to be a perpetuum mobile, impossible to stop, even if the previous meetings have failed to produce anything else than empty phrases. Still one must hope that some sane future political leaders will have the courage to stop this madness, the sooner, the better.

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