Rio+20 ending with weak text, emboldened observers

Paulo Prada and Valerie Valcovici – Reuters, 06/22/2012

(Reuters) – Global leaders were wrapping up a U.N. development summit on Friday with little to show but a lackluster agreement, leaving many attendees convinced that individuals and companies, rather than governments, must lead efforts to improve the environment.

Nearly 100 heads of state and government gathered over the past three days in efforts to establish “sustainable development goals,” a United Nations drive built around economic growth, the environment, and social inclusion. But a lack of consensus over those goals led to an agreement that even some signatories say lacks commitment, specifics, and measurable targets.

A series of much-hyped global summits on environmental policy have now fallen short of expectations, going back at least to a 2009 U.N. meeting in Copenhagen that ended in near-chaos. As a result, many ecologists, activists, and business leaders are coming to the conclusion that progress on environmental issues must be made locally with the private sector, and without the help of international accords.

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