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Obama administration sees Rio + 20 Summit in June as Festival of Global Greenness

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By George Russell
Published February 24, 2012
FoxNews.com

With gasoline prices spiking, a presidential election looming in the fall, and recent failures at reaching sweeping global agreements on environmental policy, the Obama Administration is heading into this summer’s Rio + 20 Conference on Sustainable Development with modest goals, looking for areas of broad agreement and civic engagement that can be touted as populist environmental progress.

“We consider it an aspirational meeting,” a U.S. State Department spokesman told Fox News.

“This is a good, positive meeting,” in which “we go forward in as pragmatic a way as possible.”
The apparent aim is to turn the June Rio + 20 Conference –a nostalgic reference to the last environmental summit Rio de Janeiro hosted in 1992– into a festival of global greenness, in order to create the widest possible sense of participation around the planet. In short, something like a global Green Woodstock, this time enhanced on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.

Nevertheless, the long-term goal of Rio + 20 remains the same: to push the world as fast as possible toward a drastic reordering of social, economic and industrial policies, reorganize global distribution of food and water supplies, and engage in mammoth international financing exercises and new exercises in “global governance” to make the whole scheme work.

Click here to read more on that story from Foxnews.com.

Only now, the emphasis is on cooperation rather than hard bargaining—especially in the wake of the failure last December of another U.N. effort in Durban, South Africa, to create a new global environmental deal to replace the Kyoto Accord on greenhouse gas suppression, which expires at the end of 2012. The Durban failure followed the even more highly publicized failure to achieve the same thing at a summit in Copenhagen in December, 2009.

Yet another reason for soft-pedaling the discussion is the U.S. presidential elections in November. A happy-face summit in Rio that mobilizes environmental enthusiasm around the world is definitely more to the advantage of the incumbent Obama Administration than a strident meeting that ends in failure or fizzle. The recent spike in gasoline prices in the U.S. is also likely to dampen domestic enthusiasm for environmental mandates that would likely make carbon-based energy even more expensive.

Hence the need for a new strategy. Or, as a U.S. diplomat put it at a U.N. session last month to begin considering the “zero draft” of a communiqué put it: “We should focus on partnership, inclusion, and cooperation rather than false distinctions between countries.”

A first round of “informal-formal” negotiations on the draft is slated to begin in New York City in mid-March, immediately after a major preparatory meeting for the Rio conference that starts on March 4. Negotiations over the outcome document will like continue through the Rio summit itself, which is scheduled for June 20-22.

Conciliatory themes very much lie at the center of U.S. notions concerning the Rio communiqué, chief among them being to keep any broad, sweeping statements about the summit aims short and sweet, and concentrate as much as possible on engaging a global audience.

Indeed, at a preliminary meeting on the draft in December, the U.S. declared that the zero draft “should provide a political statement no more than five pages long. We do not see the need for chapters in a concise political document.”

So far, the zero draft, entitled “The Future We Want,” isn’t there: it is 19 pages long, and broken into five chapters.

One approach for Rio that the U.S. government is strongly backing is to engage as many people, institutions, businesses and governments as possible around the world to sign onto a “Compendium of Commitments” –in effect, a set of green goals of their own devising—that will create a groundswell of activity in line with the conference’s aims.

“These are voluntary, non-regulatory commitments that any party is willing to put forward,” a State Department spokesman who is knowledgeable about the process told Fox News. “It would not require a negotiated resolution on behalf of the U.N. community. “ It could be, say, a beverage company that promises to cut water usage over the next ten years.”

“This is what we really see as valuable.”

To that end, a flotilla of senior Obama Administration officials descended earlier this month on Stanford University, for a two-day conference entitled US Rio + 2.0, on using “connection technologies,” meaning social media, “to advance sustainable development solutions in the fields of health, the environment, agriculture, and sustainable economic growth.” The conference aimed at highlighting a fast-mutating array of high-tech opportunities to create new solutions to social and economic problems—akin to the Compendium approach that the U.N. is now advocating for Rio + 20.

At the Stanford session, Environmental Protection Agency chief Lisa Jackson declared that “The Internet and social networks give citizens from across the globe the ability to participate in the push towards sustainability in their own communities. We should challenge ourselves to find creative new ways to apply existing technologies, and look ahead to emerging technologies and their potential impacts.”

Jackson’s statement is now linked prominently on the State Department’s own Rio + 20 website page.

But even while discussion of the Rio + 20 outcome is being framed in feel-good, futuristic terms, the old, tough issues of the global green economy debate linger in the bureaucratic langue of the middle passages of the zero draft document.

Among other things, the document as written includes an agreement to “provide new, additional and scaled up sources of financing to developing countries,” without going into details. It also includes a need to “gradually eliminate subsidies that have considerable negative effects on the environment and are incompatible with sustainable development”—rhetoric that could justify such controversial measures as the Obama Administration’s new, proposed tax bias against oil and gas companies.

Moreover, the document contains a time line that, in veiled terms, continues to call for more efforts to overcome the failure to produce a comprehensive global agreement on “sustainable” development by 2015 that would take increasing effect over the following 15 years.

It also argues that “strong governance at local, national, regional and global levels is critical for advancing sustainable development,” and says strengthening this “institutional framework” should involve identifying “specific actions in order to fulfill the sustainable development agenda through the promotion of integrated decision making at all levels.”

Click here to read the Zero Draft document.

When it comes to what specifics the U.S. delegation favors, a State Department spokesman told Fox News that “what happens will be coming into focus in the next few months.”
In the meantime, he said, “we are listening to a lot of views.”

George Russell is executive editor of Fox News and can be found at Twitter@GeorgeRussell
Click here for more stories by George Russell

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Former Obama Green Jobs Czar Works to Endow Earth with Human Rights

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Written by Joe Wolverton, II
Friday, 29 April 2011 15:51

A former Obama administration official is working with the United Nations to extend to “Mother Nature” all the civil rights afforded to human beings.

Van Jones, the erstwhile “Green Jobs Czar,” is using his influence to support a movement to establish a slate of global statutes that would protect planet Earth in as vigorous a manner as living beings. A story published by Fox News online records that:

The new movement is almost certain to be showcased at a U.N.-sponsored global summit on “sustainable development” to take place in Rio de Janeiro in May 2012, when similar issues of “global environmental governance” are a major focus of attention.

This effort is one aspect of the new role of Jones as a member of the board of the Pachamama Alliance, an organization committed to “creating a global movement to make human rights for Mother Nature an international reality — complete with enforceable laws — by 2014.”

Jones is accustomed to attaching his name to questionable causes. According to the Fox News story:

He resigned from the administration in September 2009 after making public apologies for some of his past actions, including the signing of a 2004 petition that questioned whether the Bush administration had deliberately allowed the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks to happen, and his previous affiliation with a self-described communist organization, the Standing Together to Organize a Revolutionary Movement (STORM).

Jones’s new affiliation with the Pachamama Alliance is consistent with his earlier work. On its website, the group proclaims that it “is working to build a movement of millions of educated and inspired individuals, with thousands of successful cases of enforceable Rights of Nature legislation having been enacted at local and national levels, by the end of 2014.”

Furthering the goals of the radical green agenda has been the primary avocation of Jones since leaving his post at the Obama White House. He is currently a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress, a group with close ties to controversial financier George Soros.

The efforts of Jones are not going unnoticed. In fact, many of the Central and South American nations stand behind the effort to make the planet a “person” in the eyes of international law. Specifically, the delegates to the United Nations from Bolivia, Ecuador, Venezuela, and Brazil are actively promoting the scheme.

Time is of the essence for Jones and his fellows. As reported:

This year, the global celebrations also start an unofficial countdown to the U.N.-sponsored global summit in Rio de Janeiro next year.

The summit, known in U.N. shorthand as Rio + 20, is intended as a 20th anniversary successor to the famous Earth Summit of 1992, which gave enormous stimulus and legitimacy to the global environmental movement.

“Rio + 20 is a good opportunity to have that step forward,” observed Pablo Salon, Bolivia’s ambassador to the U.N. “It would be like the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.”

Ambassador Salon told Fox News that Bolivia is cooperating with an affiliate of the greater Pachamama Alliance, known as the Pachamama Foundation, to promote its “nature rights campaign.”

This foundation is not new to the fight for Earth’s recognition as an equal to a person. According to reports, “it was instrumental in helping to install the same ‘fundamental rights for nature’ it espouses into the constitution of Ecuador in 2008.”

The foundation declares that its aim is to “promote an alternative and innovative model of development, based in good living and with an emphasis on recognition and respect for human rights and the rights of Nature.” One aspect of that goal is the push for “an alternate monetary system for use among native peoples in the Amazonian region.”

Recently, the Pachamama Alliance proudly proclaimed that “the Ecuadorian foundation has forged a strong relationship with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP), the U.N.’s flagship anti-poverty arm, as an official monitor of UNDP investment in the Amazon region.”

The Pachamama Alliance is adept at the manipulation of social media outlets to broadcast the tenets of its green gospel. YouTube, Twitter, and Facebook are the technological tracts being disseminated by the foundation.

Through such efforts, Pachamama is positioning itself as a player in the Rio environmental summit to be held next year. As a member of the board, Van Jones is giving the group the false appearance of some sort of official American endorsement of the radical green agenda.

Illustration: Gaia, the primal Greek goddess personifying the Earth

Original Article

Agenda21

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Agenda 21 is a comprehensive plan of action to be taken globally, nationally and locally by organizations of the United Nations System, Governments, and Major Groups in every area in which human impacts on the environment.

Agenda 21, the Rio Declaration on Environment and Development, and the Statement of principles for the Sustainable Management of Forests were adopted by more than 178 Governments at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, 3 to 14 June 1992.

The Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD) was created in December 1992 to ensure effective follow-up of UNCED, to monitor and report on implementation of the agreements at the local, national, regional and international levels. It was agreed that a five year review of Earth Summit progress would be made in 1997 by the United Nations General Assembly meeting in special session.

The full implementation of Agenda 21, the Programme for Further Implementation of Agenda 21 and the Commitments to the Rio principles, were strongly reaffirmed at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg, South Africa from 26 August to 4 September 2002.

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