Rio+20 failed, plain and simple. Few are surprised, and many are grasping at straws within the weak, toothless text, searching for something to grab onto to claim victory. Rio failed because if it had succeeded, it would have fundamentally undermined some of the most powerful forces on the planet: big polluters.
In the coming days, the world's leaders will gather in Rio de Janeiro to seek renewed commitment to the principles of sustainable development. The Rio+20 hasn't received a lot of Canadian attention, and for good reason: A federal budget bill which contains over 100 pages dedicated to weakening environmental legislation and oversight has just been passed by parliament.
The world has a trillion dollars to spare and with that money there isn't much we couldn't do to build a more just and sustainable future. Unfortunately, right now governments around the globe are giving this trillion dollars to some of the wealthiest corporations on the planet.
We need an energy revolution, we need climate action, and we need to put people ahead of polluters. This trillion dollars is how we pay for it.
I'm not surprised to find out that Canada is promoting the tar sands at the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development and the environment, after all, they have a long and marked history of using these conferences to promote and defend the image of the tar sands abroad. It might not be surprising, but that doesn't mean it isn't wrong.