Rio+20 rejected calls by green NGOs to endorse green economics and restated the need for an open global system of free trade. The intellectual hegemony of maverick Western NGOs is well and truly over – and that is great news for jobs and growth.
The outcome of the UN Rio+20 conference last week was a welcome surprise. The conference was held to review the progress of the UN’s global programme to manage environmental issues, adopted in Rio de Janeiro 20 years before.
Rio+20 rejected calls by green NGOs to endorse green economics and restated the need for an open global system of free trade. The message was that global environmental problems must be tackled in ways that promote growth, trade and business.
Over the last decade, discussion on solving environmental problems has been seriously detached from reality. This was why the Copenhagen climate change meeting failed two and a half years ago. Western governments, the UK included, insisted that greenhouse gas emissions had to be globally regulated and reduced.
China, India and Brazil drew the line. Strategies that reduced growth were unacceptable to them, and the Copenhagen proposals would have directly impeded that growth. Their position was unsurprising: the failure of Western governments to take them seriously was very strange.
Environmental groups like the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Greenpeace are wailing that Rio+20 has reversed the march to a global green economy. They brought it on themselves. WWF released an analysis that showed the world is consuming resources too quickly. Its solution? Cuts in production and consumption.