Rio+20 — a brief bottom line

I was considering writing a Rio+20 review, but what’s the point?  There are plenty of them on the net, and in any case, you’ve probably made your own judgements already.

Do note, when deciding who to believe, that despair is not our friend.  Not that “hope,” as we usually know it, is much better.  But the challenge before us is clearly to save ourselves, and as much of First Nature as we can, and in this regard, it’s helpful to know — if only as a matter of pacing — that humanity’s total footprint is about twice as large as it was back in 1992.

Speaking of pacing, the schedule to flesh out the Sustainable Development Goals proposal calls for action by 2015, which is the same year that the climate negotiators have penciled in for their next big breakthrough.   Lots of luck to everyone, ourselves included.

Meanwhile, and for the record, here is The People’s Sustainability Treaty on Equity, which I was pleased to work on.  And here’s a good site for the Peoples’ Sustainability Treaties as a group.


I picked my favorite “Rio was not a disaster” piece.  It’s by Chee Yoke Ling of the Third World Network, and it’s called Renewed Political Commitment Obtained.  I would have added “at least on paper” to the title, but this is not TWN’s point.  Which, to be clear, is that Rio was a successful defensive battle, and that — at least on the “Common but differentiated responsibilities front” — we have lived to fight another day.

In any case, before being too blue about Rio, keep in mind the state of the climate talks.  Until we have a breakthrough on that front, we can’t really expect transformative change on any other.  At least not at the inter-governmental level.

Global Climate Justice gets its 15 Minutes: The UN workshop on “Equitable Access to Sustainable Development”

A few weeks back, deep in a diplomatic warren in Bonn, Germany, the UN climate negotiations convened their first major session since December’s “breakthrough” in Durban, South Africa.  It would be a bit of an understatement to say that Bonn didn’t go well.  See this rollup or, if you’re braced for the details, see the Climate Action Network’s coverage and commentary, and the Third World Network’s coverage and commentary, and the IISD’s summary.  The UNFCCC Secretariat will also be doing a report; no doubt it will be soon.

The “Youngos” in action

Despite the dead air of the Maritim conference hotel, Bonn was notable, for two reasons.  It was another halting step in our gradual collective awakening into the maddening grind of post-Copenhagen reality.  And – the topic here – it was the occasion for a formal, day-long, plenary workshop on the topic of “Equitable Access to Sustainable Development” (hereafter “EASD”).  The equity workshop (the video stream, in two parts, is here and here; the TWN’s summary is here) was agreed to and scheduled at Durban, and – if we’re clever and very lucky – it may someday be remembered as a step in the great post-Copenhagen reboot.

Continue reading “Global Climate Justice gets its 15 Minutes: The UN workshop on “Equitable Access to Sustainable Development””