The mood is apparently rather surly heading into the Rio+20 Earth Summit, where world leaders had intended to meet to agree upon a road map for a sustainable future for all nations, rich and poor.
"... In a widely-circulated editorial, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, who now runs Green Cross International, contrasted the "optimism and hope" of the Rio Earth Summit 20 years ago with the "cynicism and despair" surrounding this one.
"I feel bitter when I look at the cavernous gulf between rich and poor, the irresponsibility that caused the global financial crisis, the weak and divided responses to climate change, and the failure to achieve the MDGs," he said.
"The opportunity to build a safer, fairer and more united world has been largely squandered."
The eight rounds of formal and informal preparatory talks since the beginning of the year have been bedevilled by problems of substance as well as of process.
Some Western nations, especially the US, appear unwilling to give ground on anything that would help rival up-and-coming economic powers, in particular China.
They, meanwhile, are reluctant to countenance any language that could put a brake on their development.
The summit also falls in a difficult political period, with the US presidential election due later this year, an impending change of Chinese leadership, and many nations struggling under various financial issues."
I have written on this topic a number of times. The best way (and in my opinion the only way) for Nations to both reduce their carbon footprint and promote economic growth and prosperity for all is to conserve resources as in reduce the wasted usage of resources.
Right wingers who ironically refer to themselves as Conservatives hold only one thing dear, their right to waste as much as they feel like wasting. Being a have as opposed to a have-not comes with the privilege of not having to think or worry about conserving resources. "Drill baby drill" is the motto, meaning the strategy for the future is to simply keep increasing the supply of energy available for use by the people who can afford it. Oh, and of course, the other part of the conservative strategy is to deny and discredit climate science.
But even if the people who think this way had their druthers and we could somehow just continue increasing the energy supply all this would do is work to clog up our roads and highways with more and more traffic and traffic is clearly a speed governor on the economy. The more we sit in our vehicles in traffic jams, the more we waste on fuel reducing disposable income and the more every product will eventually cost by the time it gets to market reducing disposable income even further. "Drill baby drill" is a profoundly dumb strategy, and only a dimwit could look at all the implications of this strategy and actually think it would lead to a sustainable future.
For the record, I don't think conservatives are dumb. Rather, I think they are just selfish and greedy and because of that they are unwilling to change anything about their lifestyle in order to conserve scarce resources for future generations including their own children. After all, it is easier to pretend being dumb than it is to admit being greedy.
The bonus for conserving resources is that the less we waste, the less we will use, and the less we use the less the resources will cost consumers and there is no doubt that when resources cost less, it will spur economic growth.
And it won't be that hard to reduce waste. Improve traffic flow by timing stop lights and planning highway lane closures better. Reduce government entity fuel usage by converting to 4-day weeks for schools, 3-day US Mail delivery, reduced military spending, etc.. Promote more ride sharing, car pooling, and public transportation, promote electric and natural gas powered vehicles, etc.. I could list hundreds of ideas for reducing waste in the usage of fuel. This is the path forward. This is how Government helps businesses become more profitable and increase economic growth. This is how our generation starts to build a sustainable economy and a brighter future for our children and grandchildren. Reduce waste in a thousand small ways. Create a glut in energy production, crash the price, use some of the windfall savings to invest in renewable energy sources.
Repeat all of these steps until energy is no longer a burden on the economy that acts as a speed governor.
This should be the key message for the Nations at Rio+20. We can do this just by putting politics aside and focus on wasting less.