27 juni 2012

Analysis of Rio +20

Back in Sweden, we now try to analyse the outcome of Rio +20. The conference was a dissapointement in terms of concrete committments. The campaign to end harmful fossil fuel subsidies failed: oil and gas companies will benefit in the future by generous tax cuts and subsidies. This does not create a level playing field for companies operating within the renewable energy sector. They simply do not receive the same subsidies and support from local and national governments. An economic transition away from reliance on fossil fuels will crucially depend on the ending of this type of subsidies.

One question that interest me is funding. Without funding there can be few new projects toward sustainability. At UN DESAs homepage I read that ”some $513 billion in funding has been committed by governments, the private sector, civil society and other groups to achieve a sustainable future.”[1] Is this enough? Far from of course. Further I read that: ”Nearly 700 concrete commitments have been registered at the Conference from governments, business, industry, financial institutions and civil society groups, amongst others.”. Over $300 billion will be allocated to the Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon’s Sustainable Energy For All initiative. This project tries to achieve universal access to sustainable energy by 2030.

Other concrete actions have been pledged during the conference, even though their scale is too small to reflect the urgency we feel. Governments, and NGOs promise to plan 100 million trees, empower 5, 000 women entrepreneurs in green economy business in Africa, recycle 800, 000 tons of polyvinyl chloride (PVC) per year which is one of the most commnly used plastics. I wonder if these projects could be scaled up?

Small scale fishers rely on clean waters around Rio for their living.  A forty five minute drive outside downtown Rio leaves you with a very different impression. No sky scrapers or big oil rigs here.

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