No that the dust and hyperbole has settled, it could be a good time to re-examine the outcomes of last month’s Rio environment conference.
Sometimes, if nobody’s happy, it can mean that a reasonable compromise has been achieved, but that seems unlikely in this case. There were many causes for disappointment in the final outcome which Brazil forced through (almost, it seemed, at any cost). There was disappointment in the area of global forest protected.
George Moany-bloke described the agreement as ’283 paragraphs of fluff’, but then he’s never happy is he (at least, not until Waitrose start selling hair shirts alongside the organic, locally produced mung-beans and we all holiday in Yurts at the end of the road)? A more balanced (but no less negative) review of the outcome, also from The Guardian, can be found here. Despite obvious unhappiness, Defra issued it’s compulsory ‘we’ve made good progress, blah blah’ press release.
One outcome has been that organisations and businesses have become increasingly disillusioned with ability or will of Governments and traditional political methods to deliver solutions on climate change and environmental protection. This leaves two options open. One is individual and group action (often direct action), which is already being promoted by socialists, more aggressive NGOs and others. The other option is more action by companies and organisation representing coalitions of interests. According to Reuters, ‘”The private sector has an enormous and important role to play but not as a substitute to governments and international leadership,” said Malcolm Preston, who leads the sustainability and climate change practice at PriceWaterhouseCoopers.’
Many pioneering organisations in this area, such as The Aldersgate Group and Yale360 are ideally placed to deliver this agenda, but there is an underlying distrust of anyone who makes a profit (irrespective of what they then do with it) by many NGOs. Nowhere is this more evident than in terms of bioenergy, which many feel, done properly, has a number of potential benefits for developing countries. However, groups such as Biofuelwatch are already calling for any attempt to promote such developments to be cancelled and have already criticised the Sustainable Energy for All Initiative, even before it has properly been debated.
Rio+20 was intended as a follow up on the 1992 Earth Summit, but, for many reasons, lacked the sense of purpose of that event. For a start (and as I’ve said before), there were too many vested interests trying to get their own pet topic to the top of the agenda (deforestation, renewable energy, agriculture, food and nutrition, indigenous land rights, ethical investment, resource management, reducing consumption, women’s rights, contraception, planing the next world cup (honestly!) etc. etc. etc.). Yes, many of these things are interconnected, but it’s no wonder that there wasn’t a coherent outcome, when there wasn’t a coherent target for an outcome.
Whether you are making sausages or fixing the world, the more ingredients you put in, the worse the result!
Stay up to date with all the latest developments in the globally bioenergy economy with Enagri bioenergy…