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The “failure” of Rio+20 is a cause for celebration, even if you can’t afford the champagne and foie gras that ecocrats served themselves as their hopes for “Sustainia” retreated into the policy fog. The high priests of the new green world order crave cash, but calls for humanity to fork over for Gaia’s “services” are falling on deaf ears.

A mostly “B” list of government leaders (No Barack Obama. No David Cameron. No Stephen Harper. No Angela Merkel) was set to adopt a pablum-filled 283-point “vision” on Friday that was finalized before they arrived.

“[N]othing less than a disaster for the planet,” declared Nnimmo Bassey, Nigerian poet and chair of Friends of the Earth International. “[A]n epic failure,” claimed Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International executive director. ‘[A] colossal waste of time,” chimed in Jim Leape, international director-general of World Wildlife Fund.

An umbrella group of NGOs bemoaned the official text’s lack of mention of “planetary boundaries, tipping points or planetary carrying capacity,” the very shibboleth’s of radical environmentalism’s zero-sum thinking.

Significantly, the mother and father of sustainable development, Gro Harlem Brundtland and Maurice “Chairman Mo” Strong, carped — or should that be gro-aned and mo-aned — from the Rio sidelines. Ms. Brundtland was the figurehead of the 1987 Brundtland report, which spilled sustainable development all over the policy map, while Mr. Strong orchestrated the 1992 Rio conference, which the current 50,000-strong flop is intended to commemorate.

According to Ms. Brundtland, Rio+20’s failure is due to the eurozone crisis and the power of Tea Party climate deniers.

Mr. Strong was flown in from China at UN (that is, taxpayers’) expense to be regaled by a group of corporations on Monday as a “very special guest of honour.” Mr. Strong is less than happy at the cratering of his Stewie Griffin-style master plan to rule the world, which has always clashed rather alarmingly with his problems in steering small companies, not to mention his implication in the UN/Iraqi oil-for-food scandal.

One wonders if these aged eco-doomsters were embarrassed by support from Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who called for rich countries to eschew “materialist” desires and pursue “spiritual” development. Mr. Ahmadinejad also suggested that: “The collapse of the current atheistic order is reaching its time.”

Perhaps so — the social democratic replacement for God is certainly proving to have feet of clay in Europe — but it looks more than doubtful that Gaia’s green caliphate will be taking over, even if the iconic statue of Christ the Redeemer, which looks down on Rio, was illuminated with green light for the conference.

The high priests of the new green world order crave cash, but calls for humanity to fork over for Gaia’s “services” are falling on deaf ears, and not just because of the global economy. One problem is that Gaia has no bank account. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, while ritually bemoaning the weakness of Rio+20’s outcome, declared this week that “Nature does not negotiate with human beings.” But then neither does she speak through a green self-elect. Gaia’s service fees would wind up in the coffers of the guys and gals who brought you not just oil-for-food, but a human rights system ruled by the world’s worst rights abusers, utterly corrupted climate science and peace in Syria.

The failure of Rio does not mean disregard for “The Environment.” Environmental protection is a branch of human protection. The environment has no value except for what it means to humans. The outrage that this observation will promote serves to prove the point. The environment can no more value itself than it can express outrage. Human development inevitably involves disturbance of land and potential pollution of air and water. The issue is never people versus the environment. It is the interests of some people vs. the interests of others. The question is one of balance, and that pollution should not be suffered without compensation. A bigger question is one of entirely bogus eco scares being manufactured as a rationale for payoffs to the very kleptocrats who are responsible for global poverty.

Canada should be justly proud of being in the vanguard of this return to balance both via its withdrawal from Kyoto and the environmental provisions of Bill C-38, which do not seek to trash safeguards — as alarmists have suggested — but to eliminate duplication, bureaucratic overreach, and the potential for sheer obstructionism.

Naturally, the threat of sustainable ideology is not over. Too many bureaucrats at the UN and national level are invested in it. Too much NGO fund raising relies on it.

Significantly, the official text talks of working with NGOs, despite their lack of political legitimacy. The text also still calls for more power for the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP). At least there is no mention of a World Environmental Organization, which would have been just as useless but would have threatened endless further negotiations on purpose, membership, funding, etc. etc.

There remain calls to tie down a set of Sustainable Development Goals, which should be good for another hundred reports and a dozen conferences. An Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) is also on the drawing board. This will reportedly do for biodiversity what the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) did for climate science: pervert it for political ends.

The Rio+20 text was originally sold as promoting “The Future We Want.” However, the “We” in question was always a self-selected group of UN bureaucrats, alarmist NGOs, corporate rent-seekers and main chancers whose interests were sharply at odds with those of ordinary people. Rio+20’s failure should be celebrated as The Future We Avoided.

Financial Post, 22 June 2012