The first week of the World Summit on Sustainable Development has seen a mix of surprising twists and predictable problems. On the surprising end: Two very different organizations, Greenpeace International and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, have agreed to join forces to combat climate change. The two groups plan to work together to convince governments to create an international political framework that encourages and rewards innovative solutions to climate change. Meanwhile, the Green Cross, the international environmental group headed by former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, is urging summit delegates to set up a $50 billion fund to promote solar energy. The wrinkle: Money for the fund would come out of government subsidies currently doled out to coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy companies. In less surprising and more depressing news from Johannesburg, the U.S. is trying to keep human, environmental, and freedom of information rights out of the summit’s action plan in order to protect multinational companies from litigation and protests by people in developing nations. The White House claims language on those topics could undermine security measures imposed after the attacks of Sept. 11.
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