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Rio: another chance lost

Written By: - Date published: 9:22 am, June 27th, 2012 - 14 comments
Categories: climate change, Environment, food - Tags:

The BBC news website’s environment correspondent has cheekily shown up that nations inadvertently agreed to immediately stop all CO2 emissions at Rio (by agreeing to “prevent further ocean acidification”), and thus surely it was highly successful…  but in reality there is:

  • about 50 uses of the word “encourage”
  • 99 “supports”
  • 59 things that governments “reaffirmed”
  • but only five examples of “we will”

There are no:

  • timetables to phase out fossil fuels
  • global rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  • economic indicators beyond GDP to be implemented
  • financial support to help poor countries “green” their economies

People in developing countries will continue to not have clean water, resources will continue to be plundered unsustainably, and the climate will continue to warm.

There was some progress on marine protected areas and illegal fishing, but overall the results were probably not worth the emissions of all the delegates who flew in.

So we have the reaction:

Rio+20 culprits set stage for climate ‘ecocide’

Rio+20 makes no fresh, green breast of the new world

How do we move forward from here?  How do we get the consensus we need?  How do we get more politicians around the world making not just speeches like David Cunliffe’s, but acting on them?  Setting the targets and the plan behind them to avoid the brutal logic of climate change:

Right now, global emissions are rising, faster and faster. Between 2000 and 2007, they rose at around 3.5 percent a year; by 2009 it was up to 5.6 percent. In 2010, we hit 5.9 percent growth, a record. We aren’t just going in the wrong direction — we’re accelerating in the wrong direction. […]

If there is to be any hope of avoiding civilization-threatening climate disruption, the U.S. and other nations must act immediately and aggressively on an unprecedented scale. […]

The science is in and we can’t avoid a dangerous 2 degree rise, and we’re on target for at least a 6 degree one.  Professor Kevin Anderson, director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change in Britain:

a 4 degrees C future is incompatible with an organized global community, is likely to be beyond ‘adaptation’, is devastating to the majority of ecosystems, and has a high probability of not being stable.”

But still we trudge on, leaving it to voluntary agreements of odd countries and companies, which cannot possibly be enough.

14 comments on “Rio: another chance lost ”

  1. tsmithfield 1

    The problem is democracy and the tendency of politicians to avoid hard choices so they can get elected next time.

    What the world really needs is a beneficial dictatorship that has the motivation and power to make decisions for the long-term good of all.

    • ianmac 1.1

      Perhaps a benevolent dictatorship would be better TS- as long as it was one of my team!

    • Bunji 1.2

      We do have a leadership vacuum as political leaders and business leaders are incentivised to focus on short term goals. How do we change that?

      The most effective method without changing the system (which may need looking at…) is for individuals to stand up and spread the word. It’s vital that we impress the arguments for change on everyone we can…

      • True Freedom is Self-Governance 1.2.1

        Exactly, it really does start from the bottom, if we could all just stop acting like a pack of seagulls fighting over a discarded pie crust and unite for a common goal.

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 1.3

      And where would the dictator’s power come from, with oil scarcity and the ongoing weather-related degradation of essential infrastructure?

      What the world “needs” is more likely to be increased resilience on a local small scale level.

    • mike e 1.4

      The Silly Monetarist Its been put forward before a world leader world govt.
      The right wing do not want a bar of it as research has shown that something like 90% of people would want a reallocation of resources.
      i.e. Socialism TSM make you sick that’s why the powers that be are quite happy to leave wars and poverty carry on.

  2. ad 2

    Cunliffe’s thing wasn’t just a speech, it needs to be read as a policy direction. It was by no means as bold as it could have been.

    But in Cunliffe’s speech is the political code to how Labour and the Greens can write a Coalition agreement.

    As ever, the most helpful thing to do is change the government as quick as you can. The preparation for this can be done now.

    An interesting challenge however is provided by Gordon Campbell on clean tech and peak oil, posted this morning.

    Does anyone else on this site want to consider what a future Labour-Green coalition would look like from the get-go in November 2014, what it would target, which policies it could agree to?

  3. Kotahi Tane Huna 3

    A little ray of sunshine, a court win for the EPA.

  4. The only decision made at Rio+20 is where is the next conference to be held.
    Why were there 5 UN exec planes there ?

    • Kotahi Tane Huna 4.1

      The question you should be asking is why were the decisions made so compromised?

    • mike e 4.2

      footrot we should have sent pete george all problems would have been solved

  5. Well 1.4 million +? Kiwi Savers will breath a sigh of relief, you can’t have a human friendly environment and a growth bases savings scam.
    Thanks Green party

  6. Oscar 6

    Rio +20 The future “we” want

    Not the future “you” want. Slight, but compelling difference. Who is the we? They certainly don’t speak for me, or for any other coolist.

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