Home » Climate/Climate Change » Rio+20 in the Rear View: A Missed Opportunity for Climate Change Action


Rio+20 in the Rear View: A Missed Opportunity for Climate Change Action


Going into Rio+20, we knew that climate change wasn’t going to be a major focus on the formal agenda – yet its presence was amply felt. Simply put, you cannot create a more sustainable future without addressing the climate challenge.

From forests to energy, oceans to the green economy, our changing climate is already having an undeniable impact—and the recent signs are not good. Just taking the United States as an example, so far this year we’ve seen record-breaking spring temperatures, with another major heat wave sweeping through. In Colorado, dry, hot conditions are leading to massive wildfires. In the Northeast, the U.S. Geological Survey is reporting that sea levels are rising even faster than previously expected. These conditions come as global greenhouse gas emissions continue to rise – and yet for the most part, governments are not putting policies in place at the scale needed to address this problem.

So, how did climate fare at Rio+20?

Countries stated more clearly than ever in Rio+20’s outcome document that society is facing a major crisis and sounded their “profound alarm” about ever-rising emissions. They went on to note “with grave concern” the gap between current government commitments to reduce emissions and what is needed to keep global average temperature increase within 1.5 to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

However, Rio as a whole was a missed opportunity to shift course on global energy and embrace a low-carbon pathway. Despite calls for action and protests by many civil society organizations, governments refused to address global fossil fuel subsidies, which continue to prop up this unsustainable industry while slowing the shift to cleaner energy sources. At the same time, text that had included goals for renewables and energy efficiency was deleted from the final version of Rio+20’s outcome document, “The Future We Want.”

That said, there were some bright spots:

  • WRI announced a new initiative to help businesses measure greenhouse gas emissions from Brazil’s agriculture sector. Agriculture accounts for around 20 percent of Brazil’s emissions, so it is vital to understand where these emissions come from and how we can reduce them. Carlos Klink, Brazilian Secretary of Climate Change and Environmental Quality, endorsed the announcement.
  • New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the C40 delegation pushed ahead with city-level action to reduce emissions. Bloomberg noted that we cannot afford to wait for national governments to move on climate. “We aren’t arguing with each other over reduction targets, we’re making progress individually and collectively to improve our cities and the planet,” he statedin a call with reporters ahead of the conference . The C40 cities are on track to reduce their annual emissions by 248 million tons from business as usual by 2020, and could exceed one billion tons by 2030.
  • Many countries signed up for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s “Sustainable Energy for All” initiative and others committed to fund it.
  • I participated as a judge in a contest , sponsored by the United Nations Environment Programme and Siemens, to develop effective, innovative solutions to local sustainability challenges. Six teams of students presented – Tsinghua University, China; Stellenbosch, South Africa; University of Rio, Rio de Janeiro; Cambridge, England; Technical University of Munich; and an international team. The winner was a student from Tsinghua University who highlighted a new way of collecting biofuels through reused vegetable oil in order to reduce pressure on deforestation.
  • In another inspiring example, 17-year-old Brittany Trilford won the “date with history” contest, where she had an opportunity to address heads of state at the opening of the summit. As she said in her speech, “We are here to solve the problems that we have caused as a collective, to ensure that we have a future.” She injected a dose of much-needed passion into the conference.

More Needs to Be Done

Despite such signs of progress, the global picture remains hazy. Based on the outpouring of criticism from NGOs and the media, world leaders have a long way to go to satisfactorily address sustainable development and climate change. They will need to take more tangible actions – and raise their ambition – if we are going to overcome these global challenges.

As we look ahead to the UN climate conference in Doha, Qatar later this year, it’s clear that the pressure is building both nationally and on the international climate change negotiations to accelerate progress and deliver more concrete results. We need to continue identifying the bright spots, but what’s more, we need to turn them into real engines of progress.

Let’s get moving. As Brittany said to world leaders, “I stand here with fire in my heart. I’m confused and angry at the state of the world, and I want us to work together now to change this.”


No comments

Be the first one to leave a comment.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Recent Post

Hacked By Chinafans

Hacked By Chinafans Share this:TweetEmailPrint Related


Is there anyone to give right answer of these aassesment? I think You will be able to get the progress of Bangladesh in Flood controls and management shortly. To...

Issue of this week (21 August, 2016)

Issue of this week (21 August, 2016)

site de rencontre pour promener son chien prostitute how to site de rencontre cv prostituee et mst club rencontre solo rencontre edarling jeu virtuel gratuit de...


Very Good News for Bangladesh!!

It has been published in a daily newspaper that about 16 sq. km land is emerging every year in the coastal area of Bangladesh (Source: Prothom Alo, 05 August, 2016)....


Issue of this week

Coastal Tourism Potentiality in Bangladesh Bangladesh has a very beautiful coastal landscape. It can attract both local and foreign tourist. Do you think coastal...


Accidental Oil Pollution in the Sundarbans: Preparedness for Response to Ecological Disaster

Abstract: Sundarbans is the largest single mangrove forest of the world. This forest occupies near about 10,000 sq km of which Bangladesh includes about 6,000 sq....


Climate Change Induced Tropical Cyclone and Salinity Intrusion in the Sundarbans: An Impediment to the REDD Programs

Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in developing countries, or REDD for short, is a broad set of approaches and actions that will reduce...

The Suspended Sediment Loads of Ganges and Brahmaputra basin

The Suspended Sediment Loads of Ganges and Brahmaputra basin

prostituee villeparisis rencontre chaude kinshasa prostituees red dead redemption rencontre artisanal sombernon comment faire rencontre gratuite rencontres bd aix...

Modern sediment supply to the lower delta plain of the Ganges-Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh

Modern sediment supply to the lower delta plain of the Ganges-Brahmaputra River in Bangladesh

rencontres ellezelles prostituee reze centre recherche rencontre paris les dix commandements la rencontre ballouchi tunisie rencontre rencontre femme vallet rencontre...

Congratulations to Cricket Team of Geography and Environment

Congratulations to Cricket Team of Geography and Environment

We are very pleased to inform all our PG-DU.com members that, Geography and Environment department of University of Dhaka has finally got the “Inter-department...