Press Room

What the Failure of Rio+20 Means for the Climate

26 June, 2012

Bryan Walsh, Time

Expectations were extremely modest for the Rio+20 Earth Summit that ended last week—and the best thing that might be said about the conference is that it managed to clear that very low bar.

Was Rio+20 a failure of political leadership?

26 June, 2012

Mary Robinson, ex-president of Ireland and Honorary President of Oxfam International, CNN

A once in a generation chance to commit to sustainable development passed world by in Rio. Leaders failed to rise to the challenge of breaking ties with old ways of doing things. Backsliding on reproductive rights is simply not acceptable.

After Rio, we know. Governments have given up on the planet

25 June, 2012

George Monbiot, The Guardian

The post-summit pledge was an admission of defeat against consumer capitalism. But we can still salvage the natural world

Progress on the Sidelines as Rio Conference Ends

23 June, 2012

Simon Romero And John M. Broder, The New York Times

RIO DE JANEIRO — Burdened by low expectations, snarled by endless traffic congestion and shunned by President Obama, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development ended here as it began, under a shroud of withering criticism.

Rio+20 draft text is 283 paragraphs of fluff

22 June, 2012

George Monbiot, The Guardian

World leaders have spent 20 years bracing themselves to express 'deep concern' about the world's environmental crises, but not to do anything about them.

We Have Met the Solution and It Is Us

22 June, 2012

Frances G. Beinecke And Trip Van Noppen, The New York Times

It would be easy to conclude that the Rio+20 Earth Summit was a failure. That would be wrong.

People's Summit seeks alternative solutions during UN Earth Summit

21 June, 2012

The Associated Press, The Gazette

RIO DE JANEIRO - Feather headdresses floated past dreadlocks and activists in cow costumes mingled with others in business suits Thursday as more than 200 non-governmental groups joined in a People's Summit to seek alternative responses to the planet's environmental degradation.

Rio+20: Earth summit dawns with stormier clouds than in 1992

19 June, 2012

John Vidal, The guardian

John Vidal, who was in Rio for the '92 Earth summit, looks back at that momentous event, and how the 2012 version compares

Rio+20: Canada shielding fossil fuel subsidies at Earth Summit

19 June, 2012

Mike De Souza, the Gazette

OTTAWA - Canada is making waves heading into the global Rio+20 Earth Summit by trying to prevent the conference from adopting commitments requiring an end to public fossil fuel subsidies.

Rio+20: Expert panel's call to 'seize moment'

19 June, 2012

Richard Black, BBC

Governments must seize the "historic opportunity" of the Rio+20 summit to put the world on a new sustainable course, says a panel of Nobel laureates, ministers and scientists.

Global Economy Limits Expectations at Earth Summit in Brazil

18 June, 2012

Simon Romero And John M. Broder, The New York Times

RIO DE JANEIRO — Global leaders, development experts, bankers, academics and activists are gathering here this week to celebrate the anniversary of the landmark Earth Summit of 1992 and to try to address the linked problems of poverty, hunger, energy shortages and environmental degradation.

Challenge for Canada at Rio 20 conference

18 June, 2012

Fe de Leon and Sarah Miller, The Star

As countries from around the world prepare to convene in Rio de Janeiro this week to begin new negotiations to promote sustainable development practices made for the 21st century, Canada’s position will be watched closely both at home and abroad.

Warming Will Unlock Carbon in Forests, Study Warns

11 June, 2012

Felicity Barringer, the New York Times

Climate scientists have long been concerned about the possibility that warming temperatures will speed changes on the earth’s surface that will in turn accelerate global warming.

Price tag on climate change in Latin America: $100 billion

5 June, 2012

Marcelo Teixeira, Reuters

SAO PAULO, June 5 - Damage from climate change could cost Latin American and Caribbean countries $100 billion per year by 2050 if average temperatures rise 2C (3.6F) from pre-industrial levels, as is seen likely, a new report said on Tuesday.

Brazilian leader Rousseff's pardon for illegal deforesters condemned

1 June, 2012

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

Attack on president's environmental credentials comes weeks before she is due to host Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. A coalition of Brazil's leading conservation groups have condemned the country's president Dilma Rousseff for pardoning illegal deforesters, weakening protection of the Amazon and rowing back on efforts to recover land that has been cleared of trees.

Call for commitments for Rio+20

1 June, 2012

World Business Council for Sustainable Business, The Guardian

Commitments to the Future We Want is a worldwide call for action from business to create a more sustainable world.
The negotiation document which is currently under preparation by governments for Rio+20 is becoming a very large paper with little concrete actions.

Brazil: slowdown won't halt ascent on world stage

31 May, 2012

Paulo Prada, Reuters
A stagnating domestic economy and uncertainty abroad will not hinder Brazil's long-sought ascendance on the world stage, Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota said on Thursday.

This Forest Is Our Forest

31 May, 2012

Luis Ubinas, The New York Times

Twenty years ago, the world came together in Rio de Janeiro for a historic summit meeting to tackle the environmental issues that threaten the very sustainability and preservation of our planet. Now, as world leaders and thousands of other participants prepare for the Rio+20 Conference, we are facing an even more urgent set of environmental challenges.

Opinion: Canada's mass firing of ocean scientists brings 'silent summer'

30 May, 2012

Peter Ross, Environmental Health News

Editor’s Note: Canada is dismantling the nation's entire ocean contaminants program as part of massive layoffs at the Department of Fisheries and Oceans. Among the scientists terminated are ones who have conducted landmark research about global pollutants for decades: Peter Ross, who is among the world’s leading experts on marine mammals and contaminants, Gary Stern, a mercury expert whose work focuses on the Arctic, Michel Lebeuf, who studies the highly contaminated St. Lawrence belugas and Michael Ikonomou, who researches flame retardants and other endocrine-disrupting contaminants in salmon and other ocean life. Ross told EHN that his main concern is the "wholesale axing of pollution research" that will leave Canada, and much of the world, without the scientific knowledge to protect whales, seals, fish and other marine life -- as well as the indigenous peoples who rely on them for their traditional foods. Many scientists say the purpose of the move by the Canadian government is not just cost-cutting but to eliminate environmental rules and protect the oil and gas industry. The following is an essay that Ross wrote Thursday for EHN. -- Marla Cone, Editor in Chief

Plastic Waste = Cash Cow?

29 May, 2012

Bettina Wassener, The New York Times

A group of environmentalists and entrepreneurs is looking for ideas on how to “capture gold” — that is, how to collect and convert plastic waste into new plastic or fuel.

Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision

28 May, 2012

Gro Harlem Brundtland and Fernando Henrique Cardoso, The Guardian

Rio+20 must learn from the MDGs, emphasise sustainable development, and tackle climate change and gender inequality.

Brazil's leader vetoes portions of new Amazon rainforest law

25 May, 2012

Jonathan Watts, The Guardian

Brazilian president Dilma Rousseff has partially vetoed a bill that would have weakened her country's efforts to protect the Amazon and other forests.

Bonn Climate Talks Close in Disappointment; World Leaders Whistle Towards Disaster

25 May, 2012

Common Dreams Staff

Greenpeace: Climate crisis caused by lack of political action
International climate talks ended in Bonn, Germany today with little progress made on key issues and stark divisions remaining between rich and poor nations. The disappointing outcome saw delegates unable to reach agreement on how best to move forward for higher level talks in November and less than one month ahead of the Rio+20 Earth Summit in Brazil.

Canada's core values being eroded

25 May, 2012

Isabelle Moody, The Gazette

Canada's incredible natural beauty and wildlife along with our multiculturalism and social responsibility were at the core of the Canadian character. Today, this country is fast becoming a driving proponent of all that is leading our world into both environmental and economic decline as well as social disparity for aboriginal people and younger generations. How did this change in Canada's core values happen?

Ban Ki-moon calls Rio Earth summit negotiations 'painfully slow'

24 May, 2012

Suzanne Goldenberg, The Guardian

The United Nations chief, Ban Ki-moon, held out little hope on Thursday of an historic outcome at the Rio global development summit, now less than a month away, admitting negotiations had been "painfully slow".

The Future We Want

23 May, 2012

By Ban Ki-Moon, secretary general of the United Nations

Twenty years ago, there was the Earth Summit. Gathering in Rio de Janiero, world leaders agreed on an ambitious blueprint for a more secure future. They sought to balance the imperatives of robust economic growth and the needs of a growing population against the ecological necessity to conserve our planet’s most precious resources — land, air and water. And they agreed that the only way to do this was to break with the old economic model and invent a new one. They called it sustainable development.

Ford, GM and BMW linked to illegal logging and slave labour in Brazil

17 May, 2012

Erin Hale, The Guardian

Car makers source iron from Brazil that contributes to Amazon deforestation, says Greenpeace ahead of Rio+20
Ford, GM and BMW are sourcing material from Brazil that is driving illegal logging and slave labour, according to campaigners at Greenpeace.

Water policy needs 'radical' change to protect people and environment

16 May, 2012

Liz Ford, The Guardian

Ahead of Rio+20, a report is calling for a joined-up approach to managing the world's water, land and energy demands.
The international community needs to "radically transform" the way it manages water, energy and land to ensure the needs of the poorest people are met and the environment is protected, according to the European Report on Development, published on Wednesday.

Brazilian Government Sets Guidelines for Success at Rio+20

15 May, 2012

Fabiana Frayssinet, Inter Press Service

RIO DE JANEIRO - As the host of Rio+20, the Brazilian government has defined guidelines for achieving success at the upcoming world summit, whose aim is to assess and strengthen what has been done since the 1992 Earth Summit, the first global meeting on sustainable development.

Earth's environment getting worse, not better, says WWF ahead of Rio+20

15 May, 2012

Erin Hale, The Guardian

Swelling population, mass migration to cities, increasing energy use and soaring CO2 emissions squeeze planet's resources.
Twenty years on from the Rio Earth summit, the environment of the planet is getting worse not better, according to a report from WWF.

Rio+20 summit leaders 'must improve nature protection'

14 May, 2012

Richard Black, BBC

Environmentalists say leaders at June's Rio+20 summit must urgently step up nature protection, as a report confirms a 30% decline in wildlife since 1970.

Deadlock over Rio+20 action plan fuels NGO scepticism about summit's payoff

14 May, 2012

Thalif Deen, The Guardian

Fortnight of inconclusive UN preparatory committee talks leaves delegates frustrated and raises doubts about Rio+20's outcomes.
After two weeks of closed-door negotiations, the UN preparatory committee PrepCom has failed to reach consensus on a global plan of action, entitled The Future We Want, to be adopted at the Rio+20 summit meeting of world leaders in Brazil next month.

Canada and climate change: all plan, no action

12 May, 2012

Jeffrey Simpson, The Globe and Mail

Canada, you might be surprised to hear, is a world leader in climate change.
Canada leads the world in presenting plans for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and Canada leads the world in the size of the gap between plans and deeds.
The Mulroney government had a plan (1990). The Chrétien government had plans (1995, 2000, 2002). The Martin government had a plan (2005). And now the Harper government has a plan, sort of.

Petition calls on Brazilian president to veto 'catastrophic' forest code

11 May, 2012

John Vidal and Damian Carrington, The Guardian

More than 1.5 million people have petitioned Dilma Rousseff to reject a bill that may lead to further destruction of the Amazon.
More than 1.5 million people in Europe, the US and elsewhere have petitioned the Brazilian president, Dilma Rousseff, to veto a law that critics say could lead to the loss of 220,000 square kilometres of Amazonian rainforest, an area close to the combined size of the UK and France.

NASA's James Hansen Slams Obama for Failure to Lead on Climate

10 May, 2012

Julian Brookes, Rolling Stone

President Obama can't catch a break: Just when he gets right with the gays, the greens come after him. In today's New York Times NASA's leading climate scientist James Hansen takes the president to task for not doing jack on climate change. "President Obama speaks of a 'planet in peril,'" Hansen fumes, "but he does not provide the leadership needed to change the world’s course."

Game Over for the Climate

9 May, 2012

James Hansen, The New York Times

GLOBAL warming isn’t a prediction. It is happening. That is why I was so troubled to read a recent interview with President Obama in Rolling Stone in which he said that Canada would exploit the oil in its vast tar sands reserves “regardless of what we do.”

Brazil: Conflicts over land are up, but fewer activists were murdered

7 May, 2012

Bradley Brooks, associated press, The Washington Post

RIO DE JANEIRO — Conflicts over land issues in Brazil increased last year, although the number of rural activists killed nationally went down slightly, according to a report released by a watchdog group that tallies land-related threats and murders. The report found that at least two ongoing conflicts could turn into violent conflagrations.

New Study Predicts Frack Fluids Can Migrate to Aquifers Within Years

1 May, 2012

Abrahm Lustgarten

A new study has raised fresh concerns about the safety of gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, concluding that fracking chemicals injected into the ground could migrate toward drinking water supplies far more quickly than experts have previously predicted.

London air pollution climbs agenda in mayoral election

10 April, 2012

By Madeleine Cuff

Lib Dem Brian Paddick launches his manifesto with pledges to make buses and taxis electric and create a clean air zone

Gulf's dolphins pay heavy price for Deepwater oil spill

31 March, 2012

By Peter Beaumont

New studies show impact of BP's Deepwater Horizon disaster on dolphins and other marine wildlife may be far worse than feared

Don't Drink Harper's Water

22 March, 2012

By Maude Barlow

It is World Water Day, a day to celebrate the world's water heritage and ensure clean adequate supplies of drinking water and sanitation for all. To our shame, Canada is once again leading a charge to weaken language in an important United Nations document that would reiterate the human right to water and sanitation leading up to the June Earth Summit Rio + 20.

UK steps in to help West Africa in fight to overturn EU fishing abuses

18 March, 2012

By John Vidal in Dakar and Fiona Harvey

Britain helps block move by Spain that would have allowed European trawlers to continue overfishing in African waters

Bottled Water Free Day 2012! - Journée sans eau embouteillée 2012!

15 March, 2012

By The Members of the Coalition for Bottled Water Free Communities

Backing the Tap: Campuses lead the way for Bottled Water Free Day 2012

Canadians call for funding commitments to realize human right to water

15 March, 2012

By the water chapter of the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB)

The water chapter of the Alternative Federal Budget (AFB), A Budget for the Rest of Us, calls for the federal government to carry out their international legal obligations on the human right to water and sanitation by committing $ 9.336 billion to critical water services.

Development 55.1 "Greening the economy" out now!

14 March, 2012

Is the challenge for Rio+20 to build the collective political will to respond to the current crises? Or is it to bring the social dimension back alongside the economic and environmental dimensions of sustainability?

World Water Forum will Pander to Corporate Self-Interest, Say Critics

12 March, 2012

By Claire Provost, The Guardian

Campaigners pan global water conference for allowing business access to senior government officials and raise concerns that delegates are watering down human rights commitments

Big Nuclear's Cosy Relationship with the Obama administration

8 March, 2012

By Amy Goodman, The Guardian

One year on from Fukushima, the US is rewarding the nuclear energy lobby by underwriting new investment – regardless of risk

Australia's mining boom placing Great Barrier Reef at risk, UN warns

6 March, 2012

By Oliver Milman, The Guardian

Environmental team is assessing the reef amid concerns over rapid escalation in coal exports and gas exploration

Legal Strategy Taken by Shell Is Rarely Successful

4 March, 2012

By John M. Broder, The New York Times

WASHINGTON — The oil giant Shell filed suit in federal court in Alaska last week against a dozen environmental groups, employing a rare — and rarely successful — legal gambit in an effort to pre-empt anticipated legal challenges to its plans to begin exploration in the Arctic Ocean this summer.

Call for April 17: International Day of Peasant Struggle

3 March, 2012

By La Via Campesina

Stop Land Grabbing – land to the tillers!

(Jakarta, 2 March 2012) April 17 is the International Day of Peasant Struggle, commemorating the massacre of 19 peasants struggling for land and justice in Brazil in 1996. Every year on that day actions take place around the world in defence of peasants and small-scale farmers struggling for their rights.