Thursday, August 29, 2002

It's Crunch Time
Alex Kirby, the BBC News Online Environment Correspondent woke up from his Earth Summit induced lethargy long enough to warn Summit talks 'nearing meltdown':
After four days of the World Summit on Sustainable Development here, delegates are warning it is likely to prove a failure.

They say the talks are approaching meltdown, over the world's failure to confront US intransigence.
What kind of confrontation do the bureaucrats have in mind, Alex? A pouting contest?
Climate change, judged one of the gravest problems, appears to be an afterthought.

And the political declaration may not be ready for world leaders to sign before they return home.
Be still, my heart!
The summit website says: "Major progress has been made in the negotiations on the major outcome document for the World Summit on Sustainable Development on issues relating to trade and finance questions, which include some of the most contentious issues."

But it appears the US wants a weak agreement, or none at all, to leave it free to act as it will.
You got that right, mate! And if the Euroweenies had half a braincell among them, they would too.
The European Union, by contrast, wants something stronger, but has no leverage.
Well if you'd prefer something stronger, why don't you start without us?
It is reported now to be facing pressure from the South African Government to begin to think of compromise, to avoid an outright failure.

The US appears to be set on a unilateralist course.

One delegate told BBC News Online: "The US has nothing to lose, because it wants to preserve the status quo.

"The EU needs to isolate it by winning the support of the G77 group of developing countries, and the only way to get them onside is through some grand political gesture - more rapid trade reform, a faster phase-out of the EU common agricultural policy, more development aid, something like that."
Kirby isn't the only one slipping into a coma apparently.
Paul Jefferiss, head of environmental policy at the UK's Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, told BBC News Online: "We must not end up with a weak agreement because we've been outmanoeuvred."
Uh oh! The birdwatchers are pissed!

Skipping more birdbrained blathering we get to the closer:
And fears have surfaced that the political statement world leaders will sign next week may not be ready before many of them return home.

President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa has taken personal charge of it, and there is no word on when it will be ready.
Hey, maybe he can work his theories on AIDS into it!