Inside Story America on Al Jazeera interviewed Climate Science Watch's Rick Piltz on the Rio+20 conference in Brazil.
Conservation organisation the World Wildlife Fund has called the Rio+20 summit "a colossal failure of leadership and vision".
Ban Ki-moon, the UN chief, once again affirmed that "time is not on our side" to take decisive action. But his words have failed to translate into a renewed push to avoid environmental catastrophe.
On Friday, the 191 UN delegates, including 86 world leaders, will rubber-stamp a more than 50-page draft agreement that essentially provides no new commitments to fight climate change.
The Rio+20 conference is a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in the same Brazilian city, when world leaders did discuss ambitious and legally-binding conventions. This time around, the leaders of the US, Britain and Germany have snubbed the summit.
In contrast, multinational corporations are well represented at the conference, leading some to wonder whether in the push to attract so-called corporate stakeholders to the environmental cause, the UN summit has become less about the future of the planet than about the future of corporate profits.
All this as world temperatures and pollution have risen significantly in the last 20 years; the world's rainforests have shrunk; the first effects of climate change have become clearer; and while crucial areas of habitat like the Amazon are under threat.
Kumi Naidoo, the executive director of Greenpeace, told Al Jazeera that the outcome of this conference is a declaration of war, and that the only recourse now is direct action.
"It's not so much the process itself that is broken but it's the political will of the most dominant nations .... What we have is a serious problem of cognitive dissonance where all the facts are there, governments know they have to act with ambition and urgency ... but they prioritise national interest and national parochialism.
"Whether we like it or not big global business, including the most polluting corporations of the world, do have hegemony, do have domination and to a large extent do own our governments. Even if you look at the US, today it can be described as the best democracy money can buy. You can see the domination of political decisions therefore the policies that emerge from governments is a disproportionate level of voice and influence ...."
Inside Story Americas asks: What has been achieved at the Rio+20 conference?
To discuss this with presenter Shihab Rattansi are guests: Rick Piltz, the founder and director of Climate Science Watch, which is part of the Government Accountability Project that aims to give protection to whistleblowers, and also a former senior associate in the US Climate Change Science Programme; Nnimmo Bassey, the executive director of Environmental Rights Action in Nigeria and chair of Friends of the Earth International; and Daniel Morris, a fellow at the Washington-based think tank Resources for the Future.