Summit fails

Greenpeace's report card on the Summit

Feature story - 3 September, 2002
At the start of the Earth Summit, Greenpeace produced a checklist for success. So how did the politicians do in Johannesburg?

The Earth Summit listened to the voices of the Big Busines, not the needs of the planet.

Many Heads of State spoke eloquently about the need to address the most pressing environmental and development issues of our day. They talked (and talked, and talked) about kick-starting an energy revolution that would put clean, reliable, renewable energy into the hands of the planet's poorest people and help stem the progress of Global Warming. Many said the Summit's success would be judged by how well it addressed the issue of Climate Change. Those same politicians failed to do a damn thing new about these issues.

The best thing that can be said in the Summit's favour is that it could have been worse.

For example, a last minute scramble to remove text which would have required environmental protection agreements to be consistent with the rules of the World Trade Organisation was a major victory - had the previous text remained it could have undone the last 20 years of work to protect the international environment.

So how do the results measure up against our original Checklist for a Successful Summit? Here's the Summit's Report Card.