Sustainable Development: Rio+20, CSD

In June 2012, the global political focus will be on the next big environmental summit, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, known as Rio+20 because it comes 20 years after the high proile Earth Summit of 1992.

The Earth Summit gave us Agenda 21, the UN climate convention, the biodiversity convention, the precautionary principle, the forest principles and meaningful civil society engagement - all under the banner of "sustainable development". At Rio+20, global leaders are tasked with identifying what went wrong in hte past 20 years, re-organizing the governance that has failed to deliver any progress on diverse environmental crises and crafting a roadmap towards a global "green economy".

Rio+2- brings us to a crossroads that offers both risks and opportunities. Rio+20's centerpiece "green economy" is poorly defined and could become a cover for further commodification and monopolization of nature, the violation of human rights and the deployment of high-risk technologies. Alternatively. the Rio summit could re-set the agenda for diverse, people-centered, local green economies, with policies that protect the environmnt, strengten the commons, promote equality establishing a new participatory and transparent multilateral system for technology assessment.

Features

This short report compares the industrial food system with peasant farming. Industrial farming gets all the attention (and most of the land). It accounts for more than 80% of the fossil fuel emissions and uses over 70% of the water supply used in agriculture, but it actually produces only about 30% of the world's food.

In this succinct, illustrated booklet, you'll find the answers to these questions...

MEDIA RELEASE
Start of an international call to stop genetically engineered organisms
spreading into the environment! Coalition calls for the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity and its Cartagena Protocol on Biosafety to take action.

Last week’s negotiating session resulted in the UN’s climate expert body giving a reluctant nod of support to a controversial – and largely theoretical – geoengineering technique known as BECCS (Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage). Geoengineering refers to extreme technological fixes that aim to alter the climate on a large scale. In its report approved Saturday April 12, Working Group III (WGIII) of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) largely – and wisely – bypassed geoengineering, but did suggest that BECCS is a bitter pill that a warming world could find itself having to swallow. BECCS and other Carbon Dioxide Removal (CDR) technologies will be especially needed, according to the IPCC, in “overshoot” scenarios, where mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions is delayed or inadequate, necessitating faster, deeper emissions cuts in the long run to limit temperature rise. The IPCC notes that “overshoot,” in general, makes it less likely that any given temperature goal will be met.

The latest instalment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) Assessment Report (AR5), released today, contains no reference to geoengineering in its Summary for Policymakers, though it attributes a slew of negative effects to so-called planet hacking in its full report. Released after a week-long negotiating session of Working Group II (WGII, which assesses the human and ecological vulnerabilities to climate change and options to adapt), today’s report represents a precarious victory over ongoing pressure within the IPCC – by geoengineering proponents and some governments (e.g., Russia, the USA, Canada and the UK) – to legitimize geoengineering as a solution to climate change.