Slouching toward Rio

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When climate change negotiators meet later this month in Rio de Janeiro there will, as ever, be hope. For 20 years, since the first Earth Summit in Rio – hence this year’s name Rio +20 – these biannual conferences have convened with the same benediction: This time, somehow, let it be different. Two years ago in Copenhagen, President Barack Obama intervened with late-night, last-ditch talks, only to be kept waiting by a Chinese delegation that was holding private sessions with Brazil and India. Obama crashed that meeting, but no final covenant was sealed. This procrastination over setting binding and absolute limits on greenhouse gas emissions has not only demoralized the global ecological…

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