Thursday, June 21, 2012

Civil society leaders assess state of play as Rio summit faces epic failure

Civil society groups provided a critical assessment of the negotiations at Rio, and "a new definition of hypocrisy" as we reach the middle of the Summit.

Leaders from Oxfam, WWF, Greenpeace, NRDC and the International Trade Union Confederation – organized in the Climate Action Network (CAN) and the global TckTckTck campaign claimed world leaders were standing the in way of progress and are failing so far to challenge the text of the draft outcome document.

Daniel Mittler, Political Director at Greenpeace stated that "we were very close to getting a Marine Protected Area rescue plan at Rio, but at the last minute an unusual alliance between the USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and Venezuela ruined the chance of this happening – they put first the interest of companies wanting to pillage the high seas over the future of our children and grandchildren".  

Mittler continued; "we are now mobilizing people to stand up to the future we want. The leaders say they can't put money on the table because of the economic crisis, but they spend money on greedy banks and on saving those who caused the crisis. They spend $1 trillion a year on subsidies for fossil fuels and then tell us they don't have any money to give to sustainable development."

Sharon Burrow, General Secretary of ITUC (International Trade Union Confederation) commented;  "Leaders should not have treated the Rio summit as a photoshoot, they came to a closed text and took no responsibility in negotiating and made no commitments to act in the interest of the environment".

But although politicians have failed to impress at Rio, the NGOs agreed the conference provided an opportunity to mobilise people to act.

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of over 600 NGOs working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. TckTckTck is the public campaign of the Global Campaign for Climate Action (GCCA). Our shared mission is to mobilize civil society and galvanize public support to ensure a safe climate future for people and nature, to promote the low-carbon transition of our economies, and to accelerate the adaptation efforts in communities already affected by climate change.

Photo courtesy of priscillajp via Flickr (CC BY 2.0)