Friday, June 22, 2012

Rio+20 Adopts "The Future We Want" Declaration

Jun 22: At the conclusion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 20 to 22 June 2012, the Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives, from more than 190 countries issued a 53-page declaration entitled, "The Future We Want.'' So early reactions to the widely publicized meeting are included below from the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC). A link to the full declaration is provided below.
    UCS released comments on what they called the "political declaration" Alden Meyer, director of strategy and policy at UCS issued a statement saying:
"The political declaration issued by leaders in Rio has no hope of giving the peoples of the world 'the future we want.' Without much stronger action, we are clearly headed for a future we can't live with -- and quicker than most leaders realize.
"The message from scientists and other experts is crystal clear: humanity is placing stresses on the Earth's carrying capacity that threaten the health and wellbeing of both current and future generations. The response to this threat from world leaders in Rio is totally inadequate, as many of them would readily admit. Today's declaration is the result of several factors: the focus of most leaders on current short-term economic challenges, the untoward influence of corporate polluters over public policy, and sharp divisions among countries on key issues such as equity and finance.
"But Rio also saw numerous initiatives launched and commitments made by countries, companies and other actors. More than 400 companies which comprise the Consumer Goods Forum pledged to achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020. While collectively these initiatives are significant and offer some hope, they simply aren't adequate to the scale of the challenges we face.
"Fortunately, we have the solutions we need, and they are far more affordable than the impacts we will suffer if we don't implement them.  For example, the cost of electricity from clean renewable sources has dropped significantly in recent years, and there are tremendous opportunities to use energy more efficiently in every sector of our economies. What's in short supply is political will by leaders to rise above pressure from polluters and their own short-term thinking, and do the right thing for the future of all of us. 
"Despite the disappointing outcome in Rio, we will continue to press for the actions  to move us onto the sustainable path the people of the world deserve." 
    NRDC President Frances Beinecke commented on the overall summit saying:

"Government negotiators at the Rio+20 Earth Summit did not produce the prescription for the planet that is needed. But you can't save the planet with a document.

"That does not mean Rio+20 was a failure. Some 50,000 people attended and hundreds of thousands more participated virtually to make their voices heard like never before. Countries, communities and companies worldwide announced hundreds of individual commitments to instigate real change - irrespective of any United Nations document.

"It's unequivocally clear now that we can't depend only on the slow wheels of bureaucracy and government negotiators to address the urgent problems our planet faces.

"But it's also clear from what we witnessed in Rio that we can – and must - harness the collective power and will of individuals worldwide to hold our government leaders accountable while simultaneously taking real action on our own to leave a better world for our children.

"Rio+20 showed us what we can and must do. It's just the starting place for real action."

    Access the complete Rio+20 declaration (click here). Access a release from UCS (click here). Access the release from NRDC which includes additional comments from the NRDC delegation (click here). Access the Rio+20 website for complete details (click here). Access more information on Rio+20 (click here). [#Sustain, #Climate, #Energy]
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