The Rio+20 sustainable development summit will be held from 20 – 22 June 2012. There will be around 60 000 delegates (I’m not sure how many Australians will be attending).

I have a theory: the more people attending a summit, the less important is the summit. How many people attended the Potsdam Conference? (between 150-200 as best I can calculate from the various papers).

And yet communications were far less developed at the time of the Potsdam Conference – this would tend to increase the number of people required during the meeting.

Here we are in 2012, and a so-called major summit on sustainable development has 60 000 people flying to Rio and crowding out the city’s hotels when most of them could have participated via teleconference. Many of these will be from NGOs and will be passionate hypocrites trying to force a lower standard of living on the world’s population and condemn many to remain in abject poverty in the name of a response to climate change.

If each of the 60 000 delegates tried to meet bilaterally there would be 1 799 970 000 different meetings. If each of those meetings lasted 20 minutes, there would be 600 million hours of meetings.

Using the typical seat configuration for a Qantas 747, if all 60 000 delegates travelled economy class, they would require 191 Qantas 747s to fly them to Rio. If they all travelled business class: 1200 Qantas 747s.


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45 Responses to Rio+20

  1. M Ryutin

    Via the Bishop Hill blog comes other interesting evidence about this Rio talkfest.

    The BBC climate alarmist toady Richard Black is anything but a media ‘observer’ non climate, but the active player his work shows him to be. This is but more evidence of that.

    What with the BBC going against its own charter to use activist green group’s work as “news”, no wonder they are fighting hard to stop all opposition to its 70% near-monopoly on TV in the UK. The recent Panorama/Murdoch hit piece is other evidence to show that quite clearly. Going by the behaviour of Black and the aforementioned secret BBC climate program steals from WWF, Greenpeace and others, their opposition to BSkyB couldn’t really be on grounds of ‘principle’.

  2. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Haiku contest!

    Swarming Green leeches
    Attend luxury conference
    Always fly first class

    Give it a go

  3. Mk50 of Brisbane

    At Catallaxy website
    Say screw the greenies


  4. Pedro the Ignorant

    No entiendo “haiku”

  5. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Así que usted debe entender el haiku Pedro

  6. cohenite

    Rio is the pits
    Green sustainability
    Gives me the shits.

  7. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Green pillow biter
    Public expense flight to Rio
    Good Aussie look – not

  8. Gab

    Earthian green
    looks better on Mars
    Lift-off soon

  9. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Bob Brown draining cash
    To fly first class overseas
    Where’s the bandit now?

  10. pete m

    A samba
    A parade or two
    Glutons on show

  11. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Nice one Gab!

  12. Gab

    Earthian green
    looks better on Mars
    Lift-off extincted hope

  13. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Virgin SUV
    Cast into the volcano
    As the Greentards dance

  14. Gab

    Green hypocrisy
    taxpayers revenge soon enough
    unSustainable snouts

  15. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Wong, a minister
    Thanks to CO2 green scam
    Green power corrupts

  16. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Malcolm Turnbull wrong
    On all AGW matters
    Too thick to see truth

  17. Gab

    Green Malcolm
    a minister dishonourable

  18. Mk50 of Brisbane


    I like it.
    Final one for tonite:

    God is AGW?
    For heretics, deniers
    The death camps await

  19. Mk50 of Brisbane

    C’mon the rest of you slackers.

  20. JC


    If each of the 60 000 delegates tried to meet bilaterally there would be 1 799 970 000 different meetings.

    Good “mathing”:-)

    In future for anyone that wants to know the formula is


    NGO = the number of NGO idiots that are to meet.


    = 1,799,970,000

  21. Gab

    (COIN, conservative only in name, sorta borrowed from Jim Allen and CL).

  22. papachango

    Alrighty then…

    Greenie Junkets.
    never in Dubbo…
    …always in paradise

  23. Gab

    unAustralian Greens
    scourge of humanity
    gangrenous fate.

  24. Lazlo

    Combet goes to Rio
    Fighting thin air with resolve
    Workers sad

  25. Lazlo

    A refinement.

    Combet goes to Rio
    Fighting thin air with belief
    Workers sad

  26. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Lizzie flies first class
    when someone else pays for it
    but no green slime please

  27. Lazlo

    Sorry, but now in 17 classic syllables..

    Combet goes to Rio
    Fighting thin air with belief
    The workers are sad

  28. Elizabeth (Lizzie) B.

    Lazlo has three goes
    At getting Combet in the neck
    It’s third time lucky

  29. If they flew with sustainable QANTAS flights, the fuel required can easily be produced by cooking just 50,000,000,000 more servings of chips, deep-fried fish or deep-fried Mars bars.

    Or deep-fried tofu, if you’re an attendee.

  30. murph

    Rio Conference:
    Fly in, act concerned, fly out…
    (Oh and fuck some whores)

  31. Godfrey

    Thanks JC for the formula. I had a nagging thought that 1.8 billion was pretty low for 60000 factorial, but I’d missed the word bilaterally. Imagine if each of the delegates tried to, you know, do some work, and meet lots of people. Samuel J’s numbers start getting to cosmological orders of magnitude.

  32. There will be around 60 000 delegates

    60,000 arm-waving panic-mongering apocalypse-shrieking Warmies?

    Has anyone modeled what happens when Stupid reaches critical mass?

  33. Splatacrobat

    “Has anyone modeled what happens when Stupid reaches critical mass?”

    The formula for stupid reaching critical mass is….

    Labor over Liberal + 1

  34. Winston SMITH

    I wonder what would happen to the Green movement if Iran decided to nuke the conference?
    It’s never a good idea to put all your eggs in one basket…

  35. Winston SMITH

    I wonder what would happen to the Green movement if Iran Israel decided to nuke the conference, and make it look like Iran did it?

  36. JC

    They’d still blame Israel. They would say Iran was forced to do it as self defense against the Jews.

  37. brc

    Carbon Taxing Ministers
    Laughing at our expense
    Stealthy voters await

  38. Rabz

    Braindead hippies
    Off to Rio
    Locals unhappy…

  39. Myrrdin Seren

    From Donna Laframboise:

    “Blogger Richard Telofski pointed out last week that Carter Roberts, the CEO of the US branch of the World Wildlife Fund, was paid a total of $455,147 in 2009 – his base salary being $425,000.”

    Braindead hippies ?

    No disrespect Rabz but these guys and gals are serious One Percenters.

    It’s going to be Gulf Streams, stretch limos and Bollinger the whole way.

    I am sure the poor people up in the favelas overlooking Rio will be immeasurably grateful to the Green One Percent for their tireless efforts.

  40. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Whores in Rio, Brazil
    Some are thieves, more are honest
    Guess which ones are which

  41. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Sixty thousand greens
    Public makes the scam collapse
    Hear the squealing now!

  42. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Bungholer Bob Brown
    With the AGW scam
    Buggers all of us

  43. Mk50 of Brisbane

    Greens at Rio party
    Better party hard, the scum
    It may be their last

  44. Hanyu

    The maths behind the bilateral meetings might be correct in theory, but it’s wrong in practice. The truth is that many of the people attending can’t stand each other and wouldn’t be seen dead in the same room together. I suggest you divide your answer by 10,000 (i.e., for every six potential meetings, one will be terminated as a result of mutual loathing).

    Also, getting NGO-wallahs to “attend” conferences (or “summits”) via teleconferencing is like asking the real Julia to please stand up. I run my own consulting business in Hong Kong and have offices across Asia, and I doubt if I fly half as often (or have accrued anywhere near as many air miles) as some of the “non-profit” people with whom I’m acquainted. The head of the Asian office of a large US foundation once boasted to me that he travelled out of Hong Kong every week, leaving on Monday and returning on Friday. When his travel was curtailed during SARS and he found himself grounded in Hong Kong, he hardly knew what to do with himself.

    A staff member in one of my China offices told me last week that a friend of hers was being driven to distraction by demands from the representative of a Washington DC-based NGO that focusses on women’s rights. One example was her instance that she be accommodated in a five-star hotel that had restaurants serving authentic vegetarian Indian cuisine nearby! Anybody wondering where your donations go?

    And finally, the real reason for attending this summit for a not insignificant number will be the potential for “offline meetings”, where synergies not possible at home (i.e., in full view of a spouse) will finally be realised in plush rooms with full service and a view over the pool.

    The only things sustainable about all of this are the egos of NGO-wallahs who swan around at these events like minor royalty and airline and hospitality sectors that now must depend on these events at certain times of the year.

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