RIO DE JANEIRO - Communist Chinese diplomat Sha Zukang, in his capacity as Secretary General of the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development, announced hundreds of “commitments” by governments and businesses on so-called “sustainability” worth more than half a trillion dollars. And incredibly, much of the audience — supposedly unbiased members of the media — applauded in delight.
The significant UN announcement at the final major summit press conference included few details about the actual agreements or their implications. For the most part, Zukang and other conference speakers simply offered vague generalities about building a “sustainable” world for a “better future,” saying governments and businesses around the world had agreed to undertake massive “sustainability” efforts — a term with a definition that remains in flux.
“From the very beginning, we have said Rio+20 is about implementation. It is about concrete action. And the commitments that we share with you today demonstrate that governments, the UN system and the nine major groups are committed and serious about implementation,” said Zukang, who also heads the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. “The total figure is now 692 registered commitments. Ladies and Gentlemen, this brings the estimated total value of commitments to $513 billion dollars.”
The largely taxpayer-funded non-governmental organizations purporting to represent “civil society” at Rio+20 claimed they were not thrilled with the final agreements, arguing that the UN should have assumed vast new powers to reshape civilization. Some groups, however, were happy that there was a document that had been agreed to, allowing the agenda to march onwards indefinitely.
Many of the supposed journalists at the official press conference, meanwhile, applauded upon hearing the news from Zukang. According to critics of the media reaction, they were behaving more like cheerleaders than objective reporters. But unlike past major international environmental summits, most of the press was kept in the dark about the negotiations throughout the final days of the summit — making the applause even more bizarre.
As members of the press celebrated the vague announcements, one Japanese reporter called the media’s behavior “ridiculous.” Later on, more than a few analysts blasted the cheering, too. Critics of the shadowy negotiating process itself had even harsher words, slamming the global body’s secrecy and the journalists’ complacency about it.
“This censorship by the UN is without precedent. The public has had access to these documents at previous UN summits,” noted Climate Depot editor Marc Morano, a widely respected opponent of environmental fear-mongering and unscientific claims about global warming. “This latest development makes a mockery of any UN claim to 'transparency.'”
But in an interview with The New American, Morano, who has also served as a congressional staff member, said that despite the media bias, skeptics and realists were winning the public debate. Citing polls, he noted that Americans mostly reject the global-warming hysteria already, and the establishment press is fast becoming “irrelevant.” Its failure to cover the other side of the debate, which is growing in strength every day, has not prevented the message from spreading. Indeed, Morano actually edits one of the most popular news services on the issues.
Lord Christopher Monckton, a well-known policy advisor to former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and a leader in exposing the UN agenda and the failure of its supposed science, blasted the media’s behavior, too. In an interview with The New American, he ridiculed the press but noted that journalists’ behavior at the last major press conference was very revealing — especially in terms of understanding why the coverage of international “environmental” summits tends to be so one-sided.
The media’s applause continued after each speaker at the press conference — statements by politicians, bureaucrats, business leaders, and more all received a very warm reception from hundreds of journalists in attendance. When a non-profit foundation leader on the panel announced mandatory “sustainability education” for all Brazilian children enforceable by law, as well as the inclusion of “sustainable development” themes on national standardized tests, the reporters exhibited special delight.
The New American had an opportunity to ask why critics of the UN and its discredited warnings of impending doom were being ignored. Rio+20 Executive Coordinator Brice Lalonde, a French socialist, was the first to respond. But instead of answering the question, he spoke as if a completely different query had been asked. “Had there been no agreement at all they would have been completely disenchanted and discouraged, because it would have meant — if there was no agreement at all — that sustainable development was finished that nobody took care about it,” Lalonde claimed in his irrelevant response. “So I cannot stress enough the importance of having an agreement even if it’s not satisfactory for all of us. You have one; sustainable development is still a major concern of all countries of the world.” He meant, of course, governments.
“Carbon War Room” boss José María Figueres, also the former President of Costa Rica and ex-CEO of the World Economic Forum, proceeded to offer a non-answer as well. Other panelists’ faces turned sour, and journalists in the room looked confused, perhaps unaware that the UN’s dire predictions and half-baked “climate models” have consistently proven way off the mark.
On the last night, when the Rio+20 plenary session finally voted to adopt the highly controversial UN document known as “The Future We Want,” the media section at the conference center erupted with applause, cheering, and whistling as if a goal had been scored in a soccer game. When asked on camera by The New American why they were celebrating, some refused to talk, others said they were happy because the summit was over, and still more claimed not to know.
Despite the cheerleading for global agreements throughout Rio+20 by the press and so-called “civil society,” however, analysts said that from the UN’s perspective, the massive summit could properly be described as a failure. NGOs of all stripes were outraged that more had not been done to “save the planet.” The UN finally dropped environmentalism as its top justification, too, saying, more plausibly, that poverty is now the “greatest global challenge facing the world today.”
Of course, the final document did contain a broad range of controversial, unpopular, and even outright dangerous statements, according to liberty-minded experts on the scene. A reference to “Mother Earth” made it in. Contraception and abortion, for example, were also key issues — especially because of an obsession among attendees with curbing the number of humans on the planet.
“We emphasize the need for the provision of universal access to reproductive health, including family planning and sexual health and the integration of reproductive health in national strategies and programs,” the document states, using language widely known to refer to abortion, sterilization, and other controversial issues. “We reaffirm our commitment to gender equality and to protect the rights of women, men and youth to have control over and decide freely and responsibly on matters related to their sexuality, including access to sexual and reproductive health.”
Another key point of the text was the alleged need to “educate” the youth — critics call it proposed brainwashing — for the UN’s vision of “sustainable development. “We recognize that the younger generations are the custodians of the future,” it notes. “We therefore resolve to improve the capacity of our education systems to prepare people to pursue sustainable development, including through enhanced teacher training, the development of curricula around sustainability, the development of training programs that prepare students for careers in fields related to sustainability.”
Despite initial high hopes among totalitarian-minded governments and global bureaucrats, the final agreement did not contain any officially “binding” sections. But NGO and expert claims of failure aside, some analysts say the document will — slowly but surely — help to advance the UN agenda of centralized power, at least if opponents do not significantly step up the fight.
While so-called “stakeholders” hoping to benefit from Rio+20 will undoubtedly seek to use the text as a bludgeon, no government is obligated to implement any of the suggested schemes — population reduction, curtailing of economic freedom, and worse. Of course, the journalists celebrating at Zukang’s press conference were almost certainly not aware of that. Otherwise, they probably would not have been applauding.
(For more information about Rio+20, click here.)
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Photo of Sha Zukang: AP images