web analytics

Countdown: 36 days to go

Written By: - Date published: 3:36 pm, May 16th, 2012 - 11 comments
Categories: climate change, Conservation, Environment, sustainability - Tags:

There are 72 days to the Olympics, which is what many people are counting down to – but the planet will be much more interested in the Rio+20 conference in 36 days.  This is the chance for world leaders to put global society on a sustainable path.

Sustainable development is not no development:

Three billion people living on less than $2.50 a day. One billion with insufficient access to clean water; about 2.4 billion people without a decent energy source; 1.2 billion suffering from chronic hunger – all this, said UN climate convention (UNFCCC) chief Christiana Figueres at the Barbara Ward Lecture in London, is “morally unacceptable”.

We already have population overshoot with current living standards, before we fix that which is morally unacceptable.  The New Zealand Institute warns we’ve passed an environmental tipping point globally.  But something must be done – morally and environmentally.

And we have other problems.  The OECD warns of huge greenhouse gas rise.  We’ve passed peak-conventional oil – and our governments are making global energy predictions that say we’ll massively increase use to improve our lifestyles while simultaneously massively decreasing our use to reduce climate change and because the oil and gas aren’t there to burn.  We’re warned that even a “green” country like us isn’t doing near enough on emissions.

climate change is one of the issues that threatens to exacerbate the situation – raising sea levels, increasing drought in drought-prone areas, reducing crop yields, and so on – a familiar list by now, I’d think, to anyone who follows these issues.

And the corollary: that however people are brought out of their various types of poverty, it mustn’t be done in a way that worsens climate change or pushes any of the other planetary boundaries beyond stretching point, because that would in time cancel out the gains.

There are those that are fighting against change from “business as usual” – extremists like the Heartland Institute who compared those who admit to global warming to mass-murderers, and other powerful interests like Rupert Murdoch’s Newscorp.  Poland is holding back the whole EU with their climate-change denial stance.

On other issues proposals to regulate global fishing will meet resistance from strong fishing countries, and others will be unhappy about regulation of extractive mineral industries – both important items on the agenda at Rio.

On the other hand many countries and companies are making progress on their own.  South Korea recently became the 34th country with an emissions trading scheme.  Australia is working out how to link their ermerging scheme to ours.  A proposal for a 500MW solar scheme in the Sahara to power Europe and North Africa continues.  Scotland is investing in wave power; California is embracing renewable energy, clean fuels aand emissions trading; Ecuador has innovative schemes to protect it’s forests from drilling; China, the world’s biggest greenhouse gas emitter, is aiming to tackle energy consumption and CO2 emissions.

So where can Rio+20 get to, compared to where we need it to?  It will struggle to reverse the 30% decline in global wildlife since 1970 – biodiversity is in some respects a bigger crisis than climate change.  It’s unlikely to get binding commitments on anything in under a week – reducing poverty and inequality, our rampant resource overuse or greenhouse gases.

Our best hope is probably that they manage to set some progress measures so that pressure can be more focussed on governments, and that they can set the areas that need to be covered in a firm 3 year agenda to set the exact goals that will be aimed for – so that the goals can replace the Millenium Development Goals in 2015 when they end (mostly in failure).

It feels glacial, but – as Poland shows – those not on board can scupper the whole thing.

Here’s hoping that the leadership deficit isn’t too bad and things go well in Rio

11 comments on “Countdown: 36 days to go ”

  1. Afewknowthetruth 1

    ‘This is the chance for world leaders to put global society on a sustainable path.’

    ‘global society’ and ‘sustainable’ are mutually exclusive concepts

    CO2 is 396+ppm. After a short-lived decline, due to photosynthesis in the Northern Hemisphere, it will rise to 398ppm or 399ppm next April-May. (The acknowledged ‘safe; upper limit is 350ppm.)

  2. Afewknowthetruth 2

    ‘A proposal for a 500MW solar scheme in the Sahara to power Europe and North Africa continues.’

    I bet the people who are currently starving to death in Chad, Mali, Niger etc. will be very impressed.

  3. Afewknowthetruth 3

    ‘ South Korea recently became the 34th country with an emissions trading scheme. ‘

    The scam to make money out of emissions whilst doing nothing to reduce them is obviously working well for the moment.

    Just what will happen when the global financial system implodes over the next 3 years is anybody’s guess.

    • emissions trading scheme.
      Is like a fat person paying someone to run around a track, to lose weight, while eating donuts

      • Zorr 3.1.1

        Is a good analogy if the goal wasn’t the overall decrease of weight. If the fat corporate stays as heavy as usual but the person running round the track loses weight then that is a form of success. As a planet, we are only interested in the overall result, not the individual results (though individual effort DOES matter)

        • Draco T Bastard 3.1.1.1

          The fat corporate will get fatter while the people (usually the poor) running around the track will lose weight.

  4. Bill 4

    Free societies and us, the individuals within them, from the various strangleholds of the market and we might develop sustainable systems of production and distribution moving forward.

    But if, as the post suggests, the focus is going to be on the sustainabilty of societies rather than the unsustainability of the market, then forget it. All that will deliver (if anything) is a list of prescriptions for how societies might soften potential landings (assuming that when we hit the ground we’ll still be alive) while ignoring the very thing that has us in a death grip.

    The Heartland Institute and all the rest of them are nothing but so many shoals of red herrings we, as individuals and groups keep chasing. The stupid endless debate about whether that which is as clear as the nose on the end of my face is actual or not, is a mindless distraction that allows us all to defer decisive action.

    Simply? Either you do something or you don’t. Most people are choosing ‘don’t’. Which suits the market. And government. The Koch’s and their ilk express the rule rather than the exception. Anyone who has built up any position of privilege or power or even simply a given standard of living is going to be clinging on for dear life to the very habits, behaviours, systems and institutions that may well be eliminating all of humanities possible futures.

    If ever there was a scenario deserving consciencious objection…non- compliance, non- participation…, then what the market has brought about is that scenario, no?

  5. captain hook 5

    there is no sustainability.
    humanity is the dominant species.
    they hunt and eat anything and everything including themselves.
    they can run down any other animal.
    the desire for goods is insatiable.
    its like a clock that wont stop till everything is used up.
    I wont be here when it happens but it will.
    happen.

  6. MrSmith 6

    The Olympics has to be one of the greatest monuments to our own stupidity, history will record how one of the human races most egotistic moment comes every few years, when anyone (mainly the rich) get to watch the privileged few trying to be first.

  7. Colonial Viper 7

    Apparently the 1B without access to sufficient clean water may be a wild understatement. The UN General Secretary said recently that “improved water” meant that only 800M were now without “safe” drinking water.

    However, 80% of “improved” water supplies are actually still not fit for drinking e.g. piped and pumped water from a dirty river is considered “improved” water.

    The most likely estimates of persons without daily safe drinking water probably rests between 2.0B and 3.0B people.

    But forget that, we need to focus an extra billion more dollars in vaccine development money to be spent by advanced western universities and medical schools because by jove that will help compensate for a couple of billion people still not having a sanitary toilet and fresh water in the 21st century.

    http://m.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18020432

  8. Ad 8

    The first RIO was a great surge that idealistic governance could work.

    I am more skeptical now that multilateral agreements stick, particularly after the failure of the RIO+10 event in South Africa, the unrecoverable breakdown of a world trade system through the WTO, and of course the breakdown of Copenhagen’s climate change conference.

    I think the future of the world’s change belongs to city and metropolitan action and governance. I hope I am wrong but I see the aftermath of the GFC as the sign that nations will at least for the old European and United States nations, finally start the accelerating downward slope to their deaths.

    I don’t ever like willing apocalyptic collapse, but this does feel like the beginning of no-growth for decades. I see effective government at least in New Zealand retreating to cities, and outside of that, no effective government at all.

Recent Comments

Recent Posts

  • Face to face meeting delivers significant progress on NZ-UK FTA
    New Zealand and the UK have committed to accelerating their free trade agreement negotiations with the aim of reaching an agreement in principle this August, Trade Minister Damien O’Connor announced. “We’ve held constructive and productive discussions towards the conclusion of a high-quality and comprehensive FTA that will support sustainable and inclusive trade, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    11 hours ago
  • Government taking action to protect albatross
    New population figures for the critically endangered Antipodean albatross showing a 5 percent decline per year highlights the importance of reducing all threats to these very special birds, Acting Minister of Conservation Dr Ayesha Verrall says. The latest population modelling, carried out by Dragonfly Data Science, shows the Antipodean albatross ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Adoption laws under review
    New Zealand’s 66-year-old adoption laws are being reviewed, with public engagement beginning today.  Justice Minister Kris Faafoi said the Government is seeking views on options for change to our adoption laws and system. “The Adoption Act has remained largely the same since 1955. We need our adoption laws to reflect ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 day ago
  • Wider roll-out of cameras on boats to support sustainability and protect marine life
    Up to 300 inshore commercial fishing vessels will be fitted with on-board cameras by 2024 as part of the Government’s commitment to protect the natural marine environment for future generations.  Minister for Oceans and Fisheries David Parker today announced the funding is now in place for the wider roll out ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Plan for vaccine rollout for general population announced
    New Zealanders over 60 will be offered a vaccination from July 28 and those over 55 from August 11, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced today. The rollout of the vaccine to the general population will be done in age groups as is the approach commonly used overseas, with those over ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • New Zealand introduces Belarus travel bans
    New Zealand has imposed travel bans on selected individuals associated with the Lukashenko regime, following ongoing concerns about election fraud and human rights abuses after the 2020 Belarus elections, Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta has announced. The ban covers more than fifty individuals, including the President and key members of ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • NZ economy grows driven by households, construction and business investment
    The Government’s efforts to secure the recovery have been reflected in the robust rebound of GDP figures released today which show the economy remains resilient despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, Grant Robertson said. GDP increased 1.6 percent in the first three months of 2021. The Treasury had ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Milestone 250th tower continues to improve rural connectivity
    The Government has welcomed the completion of the 250th 4G mobile tower, as part of its push for better rural connectivity. Waikato’s Wiltsdown, which is roughly 80 kilometres south of Hamilton, is home to the new tower, deployed by the Rural Connectivity Group to enable improved service to 70 homes ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria to lift on Tuesday
    Following a further public health assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria has been extended to 11.59pm on Tuesday 22 June, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. It has been determined that the risk to public health in New Zealand continues ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    2 days ago
  • Prime Minister mourns passing of Dr Sir Ian Hassall
    Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern is mourning the passing of Dr Sir Ian Hassall, New Zealand’s first Children’s Commissioner and lifelong champion for children and children’s health. As a paediatrician Sir Ian contributed to a major world-first cot death study that has been directly credited with reducing cot deaths in New ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • APEC structural reform meeting a success
    APEC ministers have agreed working together will be crucial to ensure economies recover from the impact of COVID-19. Minister of Commerce and Consumer Affairs David Clark, chaired the virtual APEC Structural Reform Ministerial Meeting today which revolved around the overarching theme of promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Digital hub to boost investment in forestry
    A new website has been launched at Fieldays to support the forestry sector find the information it needs to plant, grow and manage trees, and to encourage investment across the wider industry. Forestry Minister Stuart Nash says the new Canopy website is tailored for farmers, iwi and other forestry interests, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Government continues support for rangatahi to get into employment, education and training
    Over 230 rangatahi are set to benefit from further funding through four new He Poutama Rangatahi programmes, Minister for Social Development and Employment Carmel Sepuloni announced today. “We’re continuing to secure our economic recovery from COVID by investing in opportunities for rangatahi to get into meaningful employment, education or training ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • NCEA subjects up for consultation
    The education sector, students, their parents, whānau and communities are invited to share their thoughts on a list of proposed NCEA subjects released today, Education Minister Chris Hipkins says. This is a significant part of the Government’s NCEA Change Programme that commenced in 2020 and will be largely implemented by ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Major investment in plantain forage programme aims to improve freshwater quality
    The Government is backing a major programme investigating plantain’s potential to help farmers protect waterways and improve freshwater quality, Acting Agriculture Minister Meka Whaitiri announced at Fieldays today. The Sustainable Food and Fibre Futures (SFFF) fund is contributing $8.98 million to the $22.23 million seven-year programme, which aims to deliver ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • America’s Cup decision
    The Minister responsible for the America’s Cup has confirmed the joint Crown-Auckland Council offer to host the next regatta has been declined by the Board of Team New Zealand. “The exclusive period of negotiation between the Crown, Auckland Council, and Team New Zealand ends tomorrow, 17 June,” said Stuart Nash. ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Food and fibres sector making significant strides towards New Zealand’s economic recovery
    The Government is backing the food and fibres sector to lead New Zealand's economic recovery from COVID-19 with targeted investments as part of its Fit for a Better World roadmap, Forestry Minister Stuart Nash said. “To drive New Zealand’s recovery, we launched the Fit for a Better World – Accelerating ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    3 days ago
  • Speech to He Whenua Taurikura – New Zealand’s annual hui on countering terrorism and violent...
    Check against delivery Can I begin by acknowledging the 51 shuhada, their families and the Muslim community. It is because of the atrocious violent act that was done to them which has led ultimately to this, the start of a dialogue and a conversation about how we as a nation ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Cost of Government Southern Response proactive package released
    The Government has announced the proactive package for some Southern Response policyholders could cost $313 million if all those eligible apply. In December, the Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, David Clark announced a proactive package for SRES claimants who settled their claims before October 2014. It trailed the judgment ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • New support to reduce emissions from public building and construction projects
    Government agencies are getting new support to reduce carbon emissions generated by construction of new buildings, with the release of practical guidance to shape decisions on public projects. The Ministers for Building and Construction and for Economic Development say a new Procurement Guide will help government agencies, private sector suppliers, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • He Whenua Taurikura: New Zealand’s first Hui on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism
    The Prime Minister has opened New Zealand’s first hui on Countering Terrorism and Violent Extremism, which is being held in Christchurch over the next two days. The hui delivers on one of the recommendations from the report of the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch masjidain ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Speech to inaugural Countering Terrorism Hui
    E aku nui, e aku rahi, Te whaka-kanohi mai o rātou mā, Ru-ruku-tia i runga i te ngākau whakapono, Ru-ruku-tia i runga i te ngākau aroha, Waitaha, Ngāti Mamoe, Ngai Tahu, nāu rā te reo pohiri. Tena tātou katoa. Ki te kotahi te kakaho ka whati, ki te kapuia, e ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Campaign shines a light on elder abuse
    A new campaign is shining a spotlight on elder abuse, and urging people to protect older New Zealanders. Launched on World Elder Abuse Awareness Day, the Office for Seniors’ campaign encourages friends, whānau and neighbours to look for the signs of abuse, which is often hidden in plain sight. “Research suggests ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    4 days ago
  • Farewelling sports administrator and philanthropist Sir Eion Edgar
    Sport and Recreation Minister Grant Robertson today expressed his sorrow at the passing of Sir Eion Edgar – a leading sports administrator and celebrated philanthropist who has made a significant impact both within and beyond the sport sector. “Sir Eion’s energy, drive and generosity has been truly immense. He leaves ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Government to apologise for Dawn Raids
    The Government will make a formal apology for the wrongs committed during the Dawn Raids of the 1970’s. Between 1974 and 1976, a series of rigorous immigration enforcement policies were carried out that resulted in targeted raids on the homes of Pacific families. The raids to find, convict and deport overstayers ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Humanitarian support for Bangladesh and Myanmar
    Foreign Affairs Minister Nanaia Mahuta today announced that New Zealand is providing NZ $8.25 million in humanitarian assistance to support refugees and their host populations in Bangladesh and to support humanitarian need of internally displaced and conflict affected people in Myanmar.  “Nearly four years after 900,000 Rohingya crossed the border ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Poroporoaki: Dame Georgina Kamiria Kirby
    E Te Kōkō Tangiwai, Te Tuhi Mareikura, Te Kākākura Pokai kua riro i a matou. He toka tū moana ākinga ā tai, ākinga ā hau, ākinga ā ngaru tūātea.  Haere atu rā ki te mūrau a te tini, ki te wenerau a te mano.  E tae koe ki ngā rire ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Feedback sought on future of housing and urban development
    New Zealanders are encouraged to have their say on a long-term vision for housing and urban development to guide future work, the Housing Minister Megan Woods has announced. Consultation starts today on a Government Policy Statement on Housing and Urban Development (GPS-HUD), which will support the long-term direction of Aotearoa ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    5 days ago
  • Clean car package to drive down emissions
    New rebates for electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles start July 1 with up to $8,625 for new vehicles and $3,450 for used. Electric vehicle chargers now available every 75km along most state highways to give Kiwis confidence. Low Emission Transport Fund will have nearly four times the funding by 2023 ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Progress towards simpler process for changing sex on birth certificates
    The Government is taking the next step to support transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, by progressing the Births, Deaths, Marriages and Relationships Registration Bill, Minister of Internal Affairs, Jan Tinetti announced today. “This Government understands that self-identification is a significant issue for transgender, non-binary and intersex New Zealanders, and ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    6 days ago
  • Crown speeds up engagement with takutai moana applicants
    The Crown is taking a new approach to takutai moana applications to give all applicants an opportunity to engage with the Crown and better support the Māori-Crown relationship, Treaty of Waitangi Negotiations Minister Andrew Little says. Following discussions with applicant groups, the Crown has reviewed the existing takutai moana application ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court opens
    The Minister of Justice, Kris Faafoi, and the Minister for Courts, Aupito William Sio, have welcomed the opening of a new Alcohol and Other Drug Treatment (AODT) Court in Hamilton. The AODT Court (Te Whare Whakapiki Wairua) addresses situations where substance abuse and offending are intertwined. “New Zealanders have told ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • EU and UK FTAs top of list for first ministerial trip since COVID-19
    Trade and Export Growth Minister Damien O’Connor today announced details of his planned visit to the United Kingdom and European Union next week, where he will hold trade and agriculture discussions to further New Zealand’s economic recovery from COVID-19. The visit will add political weight to ongoing negotiations with both the EU ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Arihia Bennett to chair Royal Commission Ministerial Advisory Group
    Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu chief executive Arihia Bennett MNZM has been appointed chair of the newly appointed Ministerial Advisory Group on the Government’s Response to the Royal Commission of Inquiry into the terrorist attack on Christchurch mosques. “Twenty-eight people from diverse backgrounds across Aotearoa have been selected for the ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to the New Zealand Medical Association General Practitioners' Conference, Rotorua
    Ki ngā pou maha o te whare hauora o Aotearoa, kei te mihiTo the pillars of our health system I acknowledge/thank you Ki te ope hapai hauora o roto o tēnei rūma, kei te mihi To our health force here in the room today, I acknowledge/thank you He taura tangata, ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Karangahape Road upgrades are streets ahead
    The upgrades to Karangahape Road makes the iconic street more pedestrian and cycle-friendly, attractive and environmentally sustainable, Transport Minister Michael Wood and Auckland Mayor Phil Goff said at the formal celebration of the completion of the Karangahape Road Enhancements project. The project included widening footpaths supporting a better outdoor dining ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Speech to APEC business event
    E ngā tumu herenga waka, ākina ā ngaru, ākina ā tai ka whakatere ngā waka ki te whakapapa pounamu, otirā, ki Tamaki o ngā waka Tena koutou katoa… To the great leaders assembled, who guided your waka through turbulent times, challenging waters and you continue to navigate your respective waka ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pause on Quarantine Free Travel with Victoria extended
    Following an assessment of the COVID-19 outbreak in greater Melbourne, New Zealand’s Quarantine Free Travel pause with Victoria will continue for a further seven days, COVID-19 Response Minister Chris Hipkins says. There are now 93 cases associated with the outbreak in greater Melbourne, spread over four clusters. Contact tracing efforts ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Supplier Diversity Aotearoa Summit: Navigate 2021
    *** Check with delivery *** A mihi to all who have contributed to making today a success – starting with you! As you have explored and navigated government procurement today you will hopefully have reflected on the journey of our people so far – and how you can make a ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago
  • Pukemiro School to close
    Pukemiro Primary School near Huntly will close following years of declining roll numbers, Education Minister Chris Hipkins announced today. “I’ve consulted with the School Commissioner, and this decision acknowledges the fact that the few remaining students from last term are now settled at other nearby schools. “I want to thank ...
    BeehiveBy beehive.govt.nz
    1 week ago