The first official day of the Rio+20 Earth Summit brought clouds, light rain, and a whole lot of sad-face among those who have worked for months to make the meeting a success. The overwhelming feeling here, even as world leaders and celebrities rolled in for the official pomp and circumstance, was that the summit was over even before it began. Still, not everyone was despondent.

The final “outcome document,” to be signed by heads of state at the end of the week, was “closed” to changes Tuesday night, and while there is a chance that it could be opened for further discussion, Brazilian leaders, who are shepherding the document to completion, have stated that they don’t intend to let that happen. By most accounts, the agreement is a great disappointment.

“We all know what needs to be done, but we can’t get it done,” said John Adams, the co-founder of the Natural Resources Defense Council, who was among those who attended the very first international environmental summit in Stockholm, Sweden, in 1972. “We can’t get government to work.”