- Britain’s Labour Party hires David Axelrod — but can’t spell his name
- Washington and Lee law students demand ban on Confederate flag, say Gen. Lee was racist
- Prosecutors seek arrest warrant for ferry captain in South Korea
- Ann Coulter takes up ‘Mitt Romney for President’ chant again
- Mount Everest avalanche kills a dozen Sherpa guides
- Vice principal saved from South Korean sinking ferry found hanged
- ‘I Am Alive’ app gains popularity in terror-ravaged Lebanon
- Gun giveaways gain popularity among Republican candidates
- S.C. hospital worker slapped with $525 federal fine for refilling $0.89 soda
- Teen from ‘Jihad Jane’ plot becomes youngest ever to serve time on U.S. terror charges
Rio U.N. green conference a bust?
RIO DE JANEIRO — The largest-ever U.N. conference, a summit billed as a historic opportunity to build a greener future, appears to be going up in smoke.
President Obama likely won’t be there, and the leaders of Britain and Germany have bowed out. The entire European Parliament delegation has canceled.
And with fewer than five weeks to go until the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, negotiations to produce a final statement have stalled amid squabbling. Logistical snags, too, threaten to derail the event.
Though the conference’s host city, Rio de Janeiro, also is slated to stage mega-events in the 2014 World Cup final match and the 2016 Olympics, its hotel infrastructure is still woefully lacking.
With a total of 33,000 beds for the estimated 50,000-plus visitors expected to flood the city for the June 20-22 summit, the mayor has resorted to asking residents to leave town and rent out their apartments to delegates.
Critics contend such stopgap measures will prove too little, too late.
The conference is the follow-up to the U.N.’s 1992 Earth Summit, also held in Rio, which helped put climate change on the world agenda.
Twenty years later, climate change remains such a divisive subject that the anniversary conference will focus instead on the more palatable topic of sustainable development: economic growth that meets humans’ present needs without devouring resources to derail the future.
But even that has proven a hard sell.
An absence of leaders
Talks to hammer out the lion’s share of the conference’s outcome document have failed. The U.N. announced May 5 that a last-ditch round of negotiations has been scheduled after two previous ones yielded a rambling, repetitive text.
A U.N. statement quoted Rio+20 Secretary-General Sha Zukung criticizing the text as “a far cry from the ‘focused political document’ ” called for.
Sticking points include fears among developing countries that the conference’s environmentalist economic approach could stymie their economic development. Other countries have “voiced concern over accountability and implementation of the commitments made,” the U.N. statement said.
“This meeting should be delivering transformational change,” said Daniel Mittler, a political director at Greenpeace who is heading the environmental group’s 11-strong delegation at Rio+20. “What is on the table is business as usual - completely inadequate goals and a total lack of urgency.”
The likely absence of top-tier leaders suggests that many governments already have written off the conference.
TWT Video Picks
By Tammy Bruce
Team Obama's bizarre behavior helps Gitmo terrorists foil justice
- Harry Reid blasts Bundy ranch supporters as 'domestic terrorists'
- CBO shows it's Paul Ryan 4, Obama 0 on budget targeting
- PRUDEN: When a bored president just 'mails it in'
- Joe Biden's biggest gaffe: VP blowing his 2016 head start
- Inside China: Marine's comment on islands draws sharp Chinese response
- BOLTON: A 'three-state solution' for Middle East peace
- With pot and e-cigarettes, Big Tobacco is just waiting to inhale emerging markets
- Golden Hammer: Easter candy bitter taste for taxpayers?
- Obama taunts GOP, takes nationally televised victory lap on Obamacare
- Atheists rush to stage Easter display: 'Jesus Christ is a myth'
Top 10 handguns in the U.S.