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This Utopia Brought to You by the United Nations

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Posted on Jan 30, 2012
Roger Wollstadt (CC-BY-SA)

Rio’s world-famous Copacabana beach.

In preparation for the Rio+20 conference on sustainable development, the United Nations has released a report titled “Resilient People, Resilient Planet: A Future Worth Choosing,” complete with 56 recommendations that sound great but will probably never be implemented.

Some of the highlights, as summarized by the BBC:

Governments would build the true environmental costs of products into the prices that people pay to purchase them, leading to an economic system that protects natural resources.

Goods would be labelled with information on their environmental impact, enabling consumers to make more informed purchasing decisions.

With UN support, governments would adopt indicators of economic performance that go beyond simple GDP, and measure the sustainability of countries’ economies.

Governments would change the regulation of financial markets to promote longer-term, more stable and sustainable investment.

These recommendations are a prelude to the major international sustainability conference planned for June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro. Don’t get too excited about those big ideas. According to the U.N.’s website: “The objective of the Conference is to secure renewed political commitment for sustainable development, assess the progress to date and the remaining gaps in the implementation of the outcomes of the major summits on sustainable development, and address new and emerging challenges.”

It’s hard to get worked up about ambitions like reassessing progress. So what do those international bureaucrats of mystery actually hope to accomplish here? Hey, if nothing else, they get to hang out in Rio.  —PZS

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