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Back on the road to Rio

By Alison Doig | 2 June 2011

Almost two decades on from the Earth Summit in Rio, we do not seem to have learned the lessons about the urgency of our unfolding climate crisis.

Now, with 12 months till the Brazilian city once again hosts a major UN conference on sustainable development, we need to let our world leaders know that this time we want results.

At Rio+20, as next year’s summit has been dubbed, we need action, not an action replay.

In 1992, world leaders made the world aware of the urgent need to delivering sustainable development which balances the social, environmental and economic needs and demands of the world.

Woman in drought-hit KenyaAnd yet today there is still conflict between the drive for global economic growth and the ever-dwindling natural resources that are expected to meet ever-increasing human need.

There is still growing inequality between the haves and have-nots, with the 20% richest people in the world accounting for 80% of global resource consumption.

There is still hunger. Christian Aid’s recent report, Hungry for Justice, highlights how the powerful global economy is undermining environmental sustainability and social justice, which is threatening to raise world food prices out of reach of the world’s poor.

And there is still a disastrous appetite for fossil fuels. The report from the International Energy Agency this week shows that the dirty power earmarked to drive global growth and development is already jeopardising our chances of keeping a global temperature rise below the critical 2 degrees centigrade.

A step-change in political will be needed to reverse this trend.

As we head out on the road to Rio again, the big question is whether the world’s leaders will turn up - and whether they will have the political will to take the action needed to achieve a fair and sustainable world.

This might seem fanciful to some at a time of economic uncertainty, but it was complacency over regulation and direction of the markets that got us into economic trouble.

And we cannot afford to be so complacent about our natural world. We only have one planet.

The Rio+20 conference will focus on the green economy in the context of poverty-eradication and sustainable development.

Now, one year in advance, we should serve notice to governments that we will hold them accountable for a strong outcome. No vague promises, but commitments to real action now to safeguard the future.

Take action!

Act now!Write to your MP and urge the UK to keep the pressure on the World Bank to make a clean break from fossil-fuel investment!

 About the author

Alison Doig

Alison Doig is our senior climate change adviser

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