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Responding to Climate Change
Newsletter #7, June 28

RTCC – Post Rio Briefing

So Rio+20, the summit to end all summits ended with nothing much getting agreed.

The final day saw Greenpeace boss Kumi Naidoo accuse politicians of having ‘no guts’, and Carbon War Room President Jose Manuel Figueres tell us negotiators were not ‘connected to reality’.

We also ran a moving account from UK-based activist Hanna Thomas, who explained why she along with 130 fellow environmental campaigners had handed in their passes a day early and walked out of RIO+20 in despair.

All doom and gloom?

Well not quite – there are green shoots of you look hard enough, and in the worlds of one veteran diplomat who emailed me: “at least it did not go backwards”.

For one, this was a summit when the voice of business came to the fore, and for the most part it was a positive message – Puma’s CEO told us sustainability had to be at the core of any successful operation.

Favela action

Our team in Rio also witnessed first hand the positive effects of community action – John Parnell wrote about his visit to Latin America’s largest Favela, while Daniel Schweimler made this film about his visit to a poor neighbourhood near Copacabana.

We also saw renewed commitments to the planet’s ecosystems – notably the oceans – with the text including recommendations on ending overfishing, taking action to stop illegal fishing, phasing out harmful subsidies and protecting vulnerable ecosystems.

The apparent failure of politicians to deliver could also be a positive for civil society – galvanising the thousands of environmental NGOs into action. And while the #endfossilfuelsubsidiesnow campaign manifestly failed to achieve its aim – it brought together groups from across the planet like never before.

Climate Change

There should be little shock that on climate change little progress was made. Anyone who followed our coverage of the Bonn Climate Talks in May will realise that those negotiations are firmly stuck in the mud.

But there were elements of the final Rio text that offer hope – particularly to small island states, where the effects of climate change on their ‘viability and survival’ were acknowledged.

If you’d like to read more on Rio+20 and climate change we have compiled the following analysis. And if you'd like to end the day with two inspirational thoughts then try UNFCCC chief Christiana Figueres calling for 'green to be sexy', and His Holiness Shri Shri 1008 Soham Baba explaining why he's optimistic a solution to climate change will be found.

Ed King – Editor, RTCC
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