“I think this process is totally broken,” wrote Melinda Kimble, the U.N. Foundation’s senior vice president, who as a State Department negotiator helped forge the 1997 Kyoto Protocol on global warming. “While we are searching for a new paradigm to advance international cooperation, this meeting is definitely not a model.”
“This process has been exceedingly ill-prepared,” said de Boer [Yvo de Boer, who previously oversaw the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change], a special global adviser on climate change and sustainability for the accounting firm KPMG. De Boer praised the “explosion” of new business commitments unveiled in Rio but added, “although I think all the individual initiatives by companies and partnerships are interesting, they don’t deliver the scale that is necessary to address the global challenges we face on sustainability.”But this is probably the most significant comment of all:
“I don’t know if they’ll ever do this again, and I don’t know if we’ll need it again,” said the Pew Environment Group’s director of international policy, Susan Lieberman. She said she was at least pleased that oceans received more attention this year. “It’s a 12-ring circus here.”As long as every group in the world who wants to do good looks to attach themselves to such gatherings, the process is going to be diluted into nothingness. Of course they should do good, as should we all, but did the Maldives really need to go to the summit to announce that they would ban damaging fishing practices? They did it, of course, as a quid pro quo for assistance/handouts.
“It helps us broaden the understanding of situation of small island countries like the Maldives.” -- Maldives President Mohamed WaheedBy the way, the 45,000 attendees emitted more CO2 flying to the conference than 14 of the world's nations do in a year -- most notably, Vanuatu.
Details: 45,000 attendees, each flying an average distance of 1/4th of the Earth's circumference, emitting 1 lb of CO2 per airline-mile, is 127,000 metric tons of CO2. That's the annual emissions of 28,000 world citizens (each at 4.5 t CO2/yr), 88,000 Indians (1.4 t/yr), or 7,400 Americans (17.0 t/yr).
Worse, the pace at which conference attendees emitted, for the 3-day conference, was 15 Mt/yr, which would have placed them 88th among national emissions (2008), or more than 60% of the world's nations.
Added 1.5 hours later: OK, I'll admit, using the 3-day rate of emissions is a bit of a cheap shot....