The future of the planet is on the table as policymakers and environmental advocates gear up for the next major UN conference in Rio de Janeiro, on the 20th anniversary of the 1992 "Earth Summit" in mid-June. Expectations for the Rio+20 meeting are understandably low, given the recent history of climate change meetings in Copenhagen and Durban. The reasons for this failure are also clear: while a "global deal" to reduce global carbon emissions will clearly benefit everyone in the long run, such an agreement appears to fly in the face of countries' (especially developing countries) short-term economic growth goals.
Tag: Agenda 2030
Today, activists in Washington, DC led by our partners at Amazon Watch marched in solidarity with Brazilian social movements during Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff's visit with Obama. Just a few months away from Rio+20, the 20th anniversary summit of the landmark original Rio Earth Summit, both presidents continue to threaten to allow initiatives that would mean destruction and devastation for the environment and local communities - the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline in the US and the relaxing of Brazil's forest protections chief among them.
The UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in June will be an important opportunity to define international frameworks to advance sustainability. To amplify the voices of women in the discussions for Rio+20, UN Women is supporting the civil society network Women’s Major Group on gathering the views and gender perspectives on sustainability and what that means for women around the world through the Rio+20 gender survey.
The media often describes geoengineering — large-scale deliberate interference in the climate system — as Plan B for the planet, a last resort should political negotiations to curb greenhouse gas emissions fail.
Almost by default this makes the UN’s Rio+20 summit in June Plan A for Planet Earth. So, is Plan A any good?
The current negotiating text for Rio+20 does not fully and explicitly recognise the urgent need to act on climate change as part of a global action plan for delivering sustainable development.
This paper outlines the elements CAN believes essential to be dealt with by leaders at the Rio+20 Summit. In summary Rio plus 20 must:
1. Increase political will and ambition
a Ensure strong legally binding commitments and real urgent action to rapidly transition to a low-carbon and climate resilient future that includes development of renewable energy, energy efficiency and distributed clean energy (excluding coal-based power plants, nuclear power plants and mega-hydropower plants);
b Acknowledge the lack of delivery on previous commitments agreed at Rio, including the UNFCCC commitments for all countries to reduce emissions to allow ecosystems to adapt and to ensure that food production is not threatened, and that developed countries would provide sufficient finance and other support to enable developing countries to undertake mitigation and adaptation. Acknowledgement of the now urgent need to address the current environment, development and climate change crisis by committing to ambitious levels of binding action, in line with science and equity and with clearly measurable outcomes and milestones. Rio+20 can provide political impetus to the relevant fora - the UNFCCC and others - on the appropriate level of ambition of these commitments;
c Recognise that delivering sustainable development requires tackling both the roots of the environment crisis and the poverty crisis simultaneously;
d Fully recognise historic responsibility and equity issues associated with addressing the current global environment and development crises and that solutions to these crisis must be based on principles of equity including common but differentiated responsibility and respective capability;
e A renewed emphasis on the poorest people and those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, acknowledging that all countries will be impacted by climate change, with developing countries the least able to cope;
2. Facilitate a fair green economy
a Support a rapid global transition to fair green and sustainable economies;
b Endorse the ‘Sustainable Energy for All’ initiative with a strong call for action and a 2020 milestone;
c Commit to reorient wasteful consumption patterns towards sustainable ones, including by adopting indicators other than GDP that integrate social and environmental costs and benefits, promoting themore efficient use of resources and improving waste reutilization;
e Commit adequate and predictable new and additional long-term finance to support developing countries to reduce their emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change with a particular focus on addressing the current structural underfunding of adaptation needs;
d Remove fossil fuel subsidies, beginning with production subsidies;
f Support the integration of an increased focus on resilience in the context of climate impacts, market shocks, food price hikes and increasingly frequent and/or intense weather-related disasters; increased action on disaster risk reduction and the inclusion of food security, rights and justice;
3. Agree to true Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)
a The Sustainable Development Goals currently being discussed need to i) be universal, ii) be based on equity and fundamental human rights, iii) embed climate change as a cross-cutting issue, and iv) be formulated through open and inclusive processes;
4. Protect forests and REDD
a Agree to stop deforestation and degradation of natural forests, as well as restoring degraded natural forests by 2020 at the latest;
5. Realise sustainable agriculture and food security
a Build the adaptive capacity of smallholders to the long-term impacts of climate change and ensure agricultural policies address food security and take into account environmental limits, carrying capacity, equity and social issues, particularly gender equity.