UN: sustainability an "easier sell" than climate change


"I mentioned it once, but I think I got away with it"

As Basil Fawlty said, “Don’t mention the war”, or in this case, climate change. Who’d have thought it? Climate change has been good to the UN over the past few decades, delivering the global organisation influence and power well beyond its wildest dreams, and far in excess of what it deserves.

It has also provided a healthy revenue stream to the UN, allowing its delegates to enjoy the high life, swanning around the globe to attend hundreds of climate talk-fests, almost invariably in exotic, luxury locations. And all paid for by someone else: you.

But the gravy train is coming off the rails at alarming speed. Watts Up With That reported yesterday that the US public rate “global warming” dead last in a list of priorities for 2012, after campaign finance, lobbyist influence, moral breakdown, and even general environmental issues! So much for the greatest challenge since the dawn of time.

Where the US goes, the rest of the world generally follows, so the UN is beginning, subtly, to hedge its bets. It has already flagged “biodiversity” as the next great cash cow (see here), but now it is almost embarrassed to mention climate change for fear of the world shrugging its collective shoulders:

Representatives from around the world gather in Rio in June to try to hammer out goals for sustainable development at a U.N. conference designed to avoid being tripped up by the intractable issue of climate change.

But there is concern in the lead-up to the conference, known as Rio+20 or the Earth Summit, that it risks ending up as all talk and little action.

In an attempt to avoid too much confrontation, the conference will focus not on climate change but on sustainable development – making sure economies can grow now without endangering resources and the environment for future generations.

U.N. conferences over the past decade have begun with high hopes for agreements to compel nations to cut climate-warming emissions and help adapt to a hotter world, but they often ended with disappointingly modest results. That was the case last year in the global climate change summit in Durban, South Africa. Participants at that meeting agreed to forge a new deal by 2015 that would go into force by 2020.

The “sustainable” branding for this year’s summit, rather than climate, is by design, said Ambassador Andre Correa do Lago, who headed Brazil’s delegation to the U.N. climate talks in Durban and will be a chief negotiator for Brazil in Rio.

Sustainable development is an easier sell globally than climate change, even though sustainable development is a way of tackling global warming and other environmental issues, he said. (source)

“An easier sell globally than climate change.” I think that tells us all we need to know.

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