By Brian Clark Howard
In an email to National Geographic News from Rio de Janeiro, National Geographic Explorer-in-Residence Sylvia Earle said of the ongoing UN Conference on Sustainable Development, “Concerning oceans, there is reason to suggest that the outcomes could be characterized as Rio+20 minus 40.”
Earle’s words sum up the buzz in the halls of Riocentro—the massive suburban conference center that has hosted tens of thousands of delegates, activists, and journalists this week—as well as among the thousands of protesters that have taken the streets around the Marvelous City.
Still, Earle pointed out, “It is not all bad news, just discouraging to hear the French ambassador say that the will of 183 countries concerning developing a framework for governance of the high seas had come unglued owing to opposition from a small number of powerful countries.”
Earle is referring to the United States, Russia, Canada, and Venezuela in particular, who,according to reports, moved to block specific rulemaking on environmental protections in international waters during late-night, closed-door negotiations earlier this week.…