Citizen Action Monitor

Rio+20: The epitome of insanity on two fronts

No 509 Posted by fw, June 23, 2012

“Insanity,” said Albert Einstein, “is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

By this definition are humans not on a certain path to insanity? Environmental NGOs keep asking for more money for more campaigns, and ordinary citizens keep giving. We are signing more petitions, writing more letters, holding more rallies, attending more meetings, reading more books, articles and reports (that the bad guys will never read), and nod in agreement with the frequent appeals to “build a movement in the present like no other the world has ever seen.” Most recently, we have added “twitter storms” to our bag of protest tricks.

All to no avail, it appears, for world leaders keep right on ignoring us. And as the feeble results of the Earth summit prove, our planet, our civilization are spiralling towards collapse.

Is this not insanity?

But I digress. Turning to the theme of this post, Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo delivers a scathing assessment on the state of Rio+20 as negotiations draw to a close.

Greenpeace comment on state of Rio+20 negotiations text for adoption, Press release, June 19, 2012 by Kumi Naidoo, Greenpeace International Executive Director.

Rio+20 is “the last will and testament of a destructive twentieth century development model.”

Kumi Naidoo

“The future we want has gotten a little further away today. Rio+20 has turned into an epic failure. It has failed on equity, failed on ecology and failed on economy. We were promised the ‘future we want’ but are now being presented with a ‘common vision’ of a polluter’s charter that will cook the planet, empty the oceans and wreck the rain forests. This is not a foundation on which to grow economies or pull people out of poverty, it’s the last will and testament of a destructive twentieth century development model.”

Today the US, Canada, Russia and Venezuela killed the Oceans Rescue Plan

“The only sensible thing left on the table until today was the launch of an Oceans Rescue Plan for the High Seas. This, too, has now been killed by the US, Canada, Russia and Venezuela who want to mine the seas for private profit with impunity and exploit the resources that belong to all humanity.”

Not a good week for people and the planet

“World leaders will begin to descend on Rio today and we have to ask why? We were promised a green economy, the Future we Want, but all we can look forward to is three more days of Greenwash. From the G20 to Rio+20 this is not a good week for people and the planet. While billions are being spent bailing out banks and billions more on subsidizing the fossil fuel industry, it’s clear whose agenda our leaders are following, that of business as usual of polluting corporations.”

Background Briefing on Final Rio+20 Text

Oceans — The one sensible outcome that was still on the table in Rio has now also been compromised in to extinction. The new compromise paragraph on high seas fails to recognize the urgency of the oceans crisis, delaying any decision for possible action to be taken until 2014. Even then there is no guarantee that the outcome would be to negotiate a new agreement capable of turning the tide on the Wild West exploitation of the High Seas. The text  now panders to the destructive position of the US, Canada, and Venezuela.

Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) –Over the last year and a half governments managed to agree that it may be a good idea to introduce SDGs that are universally but not legally binding. That is all they agree on. They have not even been able to make progress on agreeing themes for the Goals here in Rio. All they have produced is an inadequate and complicated process for further discussions.

Money/Means of Implementation — There is no money just a vague promise for a process that will assess the broken promises by developed countries to provide financial support for the poorest. This is business as usual. Governments fall short of taking action on “innovative finance”. If they had been serious they would committed to a Financial Transaction Tax.

International Framework for Sustainable Development — The text fails to create the institutions needed to finally deliver sustainable development. Governments have failed to turn the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) into a fully-fledged Agency, despite strong support from the EU and Africa.  There is a political endorsement for some additional money and power for UNEP, but the environment fails to be get the global voice it needs. There is a commitment to eventually replace the toothless Commission for Sustainable Development. But, instead of creating a new body on Sustainable Development in Rio,a  process is being launched which is likely to result in yet another talking shop.

Green Economy — The green economy section is devoid of meaning. It outlines only very broad principles. Countries are free to define for themselves what is green and what is not, and are free to simply do nothing. Even the capacity development mechanism for a green economy proposed by the EU has been eliminated.
The Agenda 21 agreement of 20 years ago had more ingredients of a green economy than this one. In terms of pollution pricing, measuring what matters (instead of GDP) and respecting the Earth’s carrying capacity, we have gone backwards. There is no green economy here, only Greenwash.

Forests — The forest text is an overwhelming embarrassment. There is simply nothing there.

Energy — There are no new targets for renewable energy and in the ‘Year of Sustainable Energy for All’ this summit delivers nothing for the 1.4 billion people without access to energy, whose needs could and must be met by renewable energy.

Fossil Fuel Subsidies — There is no commitment to eliminate fossil fuel subsidies in this text. Governments fought hard over a text that for people and planet is simply meaningless.

This is one of the clearest examples of where governments are listening to the polluters and not the people.

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This entry was posted on June 23, 2012 by in climate change and tagged , .
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