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Section A: General News


Eagle Ford: Rio+20 update — no human rights included in Happy Planet Index




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Wilson County News
October 24, 2012 | 1,736 views | Post a comment

The United States may rank highly in the summer Olympics, but Costa Rica’s got us beat by a mile in the Happy Planet Index.

What’s that, you ask? It’s a “global measure of sustainable well-being” that includes such criteria as the population’s experience of well-being, life expectancy, and the country’s ecological footprint. Created by Nic Marks, founder of the Centre for Well-being and published in July 2006, this “happy measurement” may replace gross national product as the economic measurement of success for nations worldwide.

And Costa Rica is just one of the countries leaving the United States in the dust in the “Happy Planet” stakes. Vietnam, Colombia, Brazil, and China are way out in front, if you believe these measurements, with the United States coming in 105th out of 151 countries.

What is the Happy Planet Index?

As well as life expectancy and the population’s “experience of well-being,” the “happy” measurements include the country’s ecological footprint. It should be noted that the ecological footprint, according to the website, includes the land used for food and production of wood products, infrastructure, and the “area required to absorb carbon dioxide emissions. ... The carbon dioxide associated with the manufacture of a mobile phone made in China, but then bought by someone living in Chile, will count towards Chile’s ecological footprint, not China’s.” Oddly enough, there is no mention of human rights or quality of life in this index.

Kelvin Kemm, a member of the International Board of Advisors of the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (CFACT), based in Washington, D.C., wrote in a June 29 article that the Happy Planet Index was presented during Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held June 20-22 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If this index is accepted, it will soon be added to the Green Climate Fund -- an international aviation and shipping tax established in December 2010 to help fund Agenda 21 ideas.

Agenda 21, a “soft law” adopted by the United Nations (U.N.) in 1992, encourages industrialized nations to adopt policies and legislation that limit greenhouse gas emissions, promote “sustainable well-being,” and limit ownership of vehicles and land.

How does this affect the average American?

The United States gives aid to other countries in the form of Official Development Assistance. Currently, these grants and low-interest loans stand at .22 percent of the gross national product, but if world leaders have their way, this could rise to .7 percent, as first pledged in a 1970 United Nations General Assembly Resolution.

According to the U.S. Official Development Assistance Database, U.S. total net official development assistance disbursements totaled $30.4 billion in calendar year 2010. This is the highest net level historically for any donor country.

During the U.N.’s Rio+20 conference in June, a new document was produced, “The Future We Want,” and a pledge “to achieve the target of 0.7 percent of gross national product (GNP) for Official Development Assistance to developing countries by 2015” was agreed upon, as well as continued support for Agenda 21. For more on this document, visit http://bit.ly/KkBG1p.

See related articles, pages 9A and 1A.
•Poth rejects U.N.’s Agenda 21 - http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=46841
•AN ANALYSIS -- Mirror, mirror: Obama administration reflects Agenda 21 - http://www.wilsoncountynews.com/article.php?id=46819

Sources cited: The Future We Want document ( http://bit.ly/KkBG1p.); U.N. Millennium Project; and U.S. Official Development Assistance Database.
 

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