As the climate-change theory crumbles, expect its supporters to be more vocal in its defence, more insistent that the science is ironclad. Like the cultish followers of any faddish religion when it nears the end of its fashionableness, they will proclaim their views even more vociferously and denounce more forcefully all those who disagree. But increasingly, their warnings of impending doom and their character attacks on their opponents will be performed before empty houses, as in Rio.
Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace’s executive director, called last week’s United Nations eco-conference in Rio de Janeiro an “epic failure.”
The Rio 20 conference (so named because the first big global-warming conference was held at the same Brazilian resort 20 years ago) produced nothing that could be called a success — not even a qualified one.
Few UN conferences ever produce much of worth, anyway. But at the very least they can usually come up with a final communique that all the participants can point to to show their trip wasn’t wasted.
You might remember the UN’s green confab in Copenhagen in December 2009. There, world leaders, led by rookie U.S. President Barack Obama, extended their meeting by a day and pulled an all-nighter to work out a consensus draft promising to limit the worldwide temperature rise to no more than two degrees Celsius over the next century.
The Copenhagen declaration was meaningless. No one at the meeting had the slightest clue how they would go about keeping global thermometers from going up. But at least early the next morning they could all emerge from the boardroom, refasten their cuffs, tighten their ties and pose for the obligatory group photo.
Rio didn’t even manage that kind of phony accord.