Earth Summit's Failure Called 'Good Thing' For Poor Nations

By Marc Morano | July 7, 2008 | 8:12 PM EDT

Johannesburg ( - Some participants consider the Earth summit's failure to satisfy the environmental movement "a good thing" for the developing world's poor people.

As the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development drew to a close here on Wednesday amid environmental bickering, protest, and finger-pointing, at least one person was happy with the results.

Leon Louw of the Free Market Foundation of South Africa was pleased to see much of the Greens' agenda turned away.

"It's good that the left consider themselves to be betrayed and losers," Louw told "I think the tide is against them, I think sustainable nonsense is turning out to be not so sustainable," Louw added.

According to Louw, the poor countries of the world would be much better off without the oversight of international governing bodies who want to stop them from developing.

"The first world became rich without the IMFs and World Banks, and the less of them that are around, the more likely the Third World is to do the same," Louw explained.

He said the best hope for prosperity in the developing world is the extent to which it ignores the sustainable development movement.

Louw decried what he sees as the arrogance of the Greens from the industrialized North, who want to impose development restrictions on the poorer southern nations in the name of environmental "sustainability."

"The Third World should tell the first world to go to hell if they want swamps and jungles which they romantically call wetlands and rainforests" preserved at the expense of economic growth, Louw explained.

Bomb New Orleans?

Louw has a novel solution for the industrialized North if it is really serious about preserving all the natural places on earth.

"The North can rehabilitate their [natural places] by bombing New Orleans and bombing Rotterdam and restoring the Rhine and the Delta [rivers] and getting rid of Belgium and Denmark and France and turning them back into swamps," he said.

"And if the first world doesn't like that, it should be told by the Third World to go to hell," Louw added.

'A Total Failure'

While Louw took comfort in the Greens' unhappiness with the Earth summit, the Greens themselves waged an acrimonious battle over what went wrong.

The Earth summit was declared a "total failure" by the nongovernmental organization, the Energy and Climate Caucus coalition.

The Caucus said the summit "ended up with nothing as far as targets, timeframes and concrete action plans are concerned."

The Caucus also criticized the lack of an energy timetable for countries to follow.

"Is this a joke?" the group asked. "Without fixed dates and percentages, there is no such thing as a commitment, only a vague sense of direction at the most."

'Shameful Deals'

The World Wildlife Fund announced that the summit's name should be changed to the "World Summit of Shameful Deals." Dr. Claude Martin, director general of the Fund, believes that the conference "failed dramatically."

"The summit will do almost nothing to help reduce our damaging global footprint," Martin said.

The Fund believes that the summit failed to "confirm the supremacy of the needs of poor people and the environment over the free-trade agenda..."

A group of U.S. nongovernmental organizations held a demonstration on the final day of the conference, "to demonstrate shame at the Bush administration's role at the [summit.]"

'Notably feeble'

Friends of the Earth International (FoEI) called the summit "notably feeble."

The environmental activist group was particularly incensed that the summit's political declaration "makes no mention of the need to move from fossil fuels to renewable energy."

Daniel Mittler of FoEI said the summit was "a tragic missed opportunity...thanks to the utterly obstructive tactics of the U.S. and the free market ideology of the corporations that pull political strings in the background."

The aid group Oxfam International summed up the conference as "nine days of bluster." Oxfam called the summit "a triumph for greed and self-interest, a tragedy for poor and the environment."

Ocean, an international ocean conservation group said the summit was "lost at sea" and "a serious disappointment."

See Related Stories:
Jerry Brown to World's Poor: Let Them Eat Cake?
Earth Summit Participants Fail to Support Pollution 'Offset' Fund
Greens Say Earth Summit 'Fallen Dramatically Short'
Earth Summit Protesters March Against 'Sustainable-Poverty'
Greens Call US 'Biggest Block' to Progress at Earth Summit
Earth Summit Seen As 'Gathering to Attack Wealth'
Green Group Includes US In 'Axis of Environmental Evil'
Environmentalist Laments Introduction of Electricity (26 Aug. 2002)

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