Indigenous Peoples and Human Rights

June 8, 2012

The truth about Rio: Forecast for Rio+20 dismal without vision

Cochabamba, Bolivia, 2010: Protect Mother Earth Conference
Photo Michelle Cook, Navajo/Censored News

Prospects for the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development
Dr. Peter D. Carter
Climate Emergency Institute
2 June 2012
Posted at Censored News

"The only course of action for real human beings is to abandon all confidence in the criminal corrupt international world order and push ahead as best they can with the Cochabamba Peoples Agreement and the traditional customary laws and Earth respecting world order of the global indigenous peoples. They always were the real leaders of the world." -- Peter Carter, about Rio+20

Prospects for the Rio+20 conference? Not good in general, and particularly bad for climate change.

As a major group in the Rio+20 UN sustainable development conference, the Climate Emergency Institute has been lobbying for global climate change to be at the top of the agenda. But right from the start, the world's greatest threat to any future development has been barely on the agenda at all.

Perhaps the best description of what to expect from the Rio+20 conference is the one published in the Guardian on 28 May 2012 by The Elders:

"Rio+20's opportunity will be squandered without courage and vision."

The Blue Planet Laureates sent in a paper in February 2012 that best described the disastrous global predicament that must be dealt with. In the face of an absolutely unprecedented emergency, society has no choice but to take dramatic action to avert a collapse of civilization. Either we will change our ways and build an entirely new kind of global society, or they will be changed for us. […] The world’s current commitments to reduce emissions are consistent with at least a 3°C rise in temperature: a temperature not seen on the planet for around 3 million years, with serious risks of 5°C rise: a temperature not seen on the planet for around 30 million years .
The 3°C warming is by 2100 and that is a commitment to over 5.5°C after 2100. That is definite due to the ocean heat lag of all the heat stored in the oceans. As global warming last 1000 years the commitment is forever. It’s even worse according to Climate Interactive. We are committed by the combined national policy UN pledges (if they are all honoured in full) to a temperature increase of 4.5°C by 2100 which is a full commitment of 8.5°C. These are all literal end of the world commitments that the world is being condemned to.
The Guardian reported that the May Bonn climate talks ended in discord and disappointment. That means any possibility of measures to avoid global climate catastrophe as required by the 1992 UN Framework Convention on Climate Change continues to be sabotaged along with the future of humanity and of life. There is on true democratic agreement on global climate change which is being ignored by world powers. It is the 2010 Cochabamba World Peoples Agreement on climate change, and it is the only statement on measures to avert planetary catastrophe according to the climate science.

Rio+20 has made it clear from the start nothing on climate change is on the agenda.
The real conclusion is obvious though unstated. World powers are committing the worst crime ever humanity and the greatest evil imaginable.
This monumental crime is described by the Declaration of Teotihuacan 2012, Towards the People’s Summit in Rio de Janeiro, of the Rio +20 summit of the United Nations (Google translate by Canadian for Emergency Action against Climate Change.

Horror, tragedy, dwells at almost every corner of the world, in the places where poor people live: all the people devalued in fact by the economy growth and techno-science: indigenous people, peasants, laborers. Violence against Earth’s gifts is identical to that exerted against the oppressed communities, peoples and nations. Environmental disasters go hand in hand with social catastrophes. Peoples’ minds are impoverished every day by the false values introduced since infancy, both by the State and the Market. Schools, television broadcasts and the daily indiscriminate consumption of technologies colonize minds and annihilate peoples’ will. Power, greed, individualism, excess, consumerism, competition, spectacle, speed, exploitation of the human being by the human being, have become supreme values throughout the world.
Banks, multinational corporations, governments, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the United Nations, the media, the schools, colleges and universities conspire in order to boost an economic growth which destroys at great speed Mother Earth’s gifts, the fabric of society and the vernacular cultures, and which benefits solely the 1% who control those businesses and institutions. Banks, markets and economic growth have become so sacred to governments, that they have no qualms about applying radical measures of violence against a society bothered and discontent with the universal catastrophe generated by the economic dogma, both through abusive political publicity saturating the media, and ever-increasing expenditure in the army, paramilitary and law-enforcement forces and in espionage on citizens. Economic growth devastates people’s wealth and results in the extinction of humanity.
Apart for the above, the best Rio+20 response in every way comes from Occupy Rio Plus 20 both their preamble and People’s Petition.
In Rio report card- The world has failed to deliver on many of the promises it made 20 years ago at the Earth summit in Brazil Nature Journal has published the best indictment of the deplorable record States failing to honour their obligations and agreements over the past 20 years. It is already common knowledge that Rio+20 is going to confirm that States have no intention of changing this criminal record.

A 4 June 2012 article in the Malaysia Star, by Martin Kohr of Third World Network, sums up the results of the discussions amongst states: "As the Rio summit on sustainable development nears, governments have yet to agree on most issues, and rich countries are backtracking on the original principles and commitments made 20 years ago."

There are no real commitments by governments in this draft. All kinds of language is used but it all avoids commitments or requirements on governments.

We have the extraordinary new language of "voluntary commitments" and "promote commitments" (!) and "calling for commitments." There is much that is "called for" in this draft but no commitments made or re-affirmed apart from the general commitment to sustainable development, the green economy, and UN human rights that will continue to be ignored and abused – including by this draft, which is imposing business-as-usual economics and rolling back the commitments made 20 years ago.

There is one single climate change commitment in the draft, which is the catastrophic 2ÂșC target. And the draft language on this is "with a view to reducing global greenhouse gas emissions" (!) So the message is terribly clear: governments do not intend to reduce emissions.

"Sustained economic growth" means the opposite of sustainable development. It means the continued, business-as-usual, unconstrained, deregulated, neoclassical, free-market, constant-growth-in-maximum-profits-at-all-costs economics – which is, of course, the cause of the ongoing global environmental degradation and pollution and socio-economic deprivation affecting billions of people.

In Rio+20, there is no full-cost accounting and no internalization of externalized socio-environmental costs.

There is no pollution prevention – only pollution "reduction," which is practically meaningless in the face of persistent, cumulative pollutants like atmospheric carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas halocarbons. Because of carbon dioxide's cumulative property, global warming, climate change and ocean acidification caused by atmospheric greenhouse gas pollution are practically forever.

The precautionary principle has been downgraded to the weak and meaningless precautionary "approach."

The Rio+20 background description correctly recalls that "twenty years after the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, […] countries adopted Agenda 21 – a blueprint to rethink economic growth, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection."

"For the first time also, the lifestyle of the current civilization was addressed in Principle 8 of the Rio Declaration. The urgency of a deep change in consumption and production patterns was expressly and broadly acknowledged by State leaders. Agenda 21 further reaffirmed that sustainable development was delimited by the integration of the economic, social and environmental considerations."
The Rio Declaration was quite an achievement, written in particularly clear, strong, international legal language – but being a declaration, it is not binding on states.

Agenda 21 was described as the "United Nations blueprint for sustainable development." This is a lengthy and comprehensive document, eight years in the making, and also very specific in the plan designed to make the switch from environmentally unsustainable development to a greatly constrained and regulated sustainable conversion of the free-market economy.

Particularly important were the principles agreed to in the Rio Declaration and contained in more detail in Agenda 21. These are the principles of pollution prevention, polluter pays, and precaution. The other principle that would go a long way towards switching to sustainability was full-cost accounting (that is, including the social and environmental costs of damaging developments) and the economic internalization of the so-called economic externalities.

As the United Nations Earth Summit 20th anniversary, Rio+20 is nothing like the big summit held in Rio 20 years ago. It is following a now familiar pattern of annual UN climate conferences and the intergovernmental negotiations leading up to each conference. Like the annual climate change conferences that have been held since the UN Bali conference in December 2007, we are told that nations negotiating for an agreement on sustainable development are deadlocked and that the negotiations have been extended beyond their planned schedule. The pattern is of initial great hope and expectation, leading to media reports of little to expect, and then we are left with nothing but hope.

In January, the Brazilian media gave some insight into what Rio+20 was about. Andre Correa do Lago, who heads the Brazilian delegation negotiating a draft of the outcome document for Rio+20, said that climate change was too sensitive an issue for many countries, while sustainable development was something everybody could get behind. "Climate change has very strong resistance from sectors that are going to be substantially altered, like the oil industry," Correa do Lago said. "The feeling we have, when we are discussing with such different countries, is that sustainable development is the right answer." He said the refusal of many U.S. Republican candidates vying to challenge President Barack Obama in this year's elections to even acknowledge global warming was a problem, highlighting the difficulty of addressing the issue in an international forum.

That makes it pretty clear who is the main influence of the UN Rio+20 conference agenda. The future is being given over to the fossil fuel energy corporations and the United States. A 20-year-long open conspiracy of lies and corruption is being obliged by marginalizing global climate change.

Earlier this month Brazilian environmental policy specialist Adriana Ramos, with Socio-Environmental Institute NGO, made a depressing but no doubt realistic statement that it would be hard for the Brazilian government to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in light of the enthusiasm raised by the discovery of major oil reserves in undersea deposits off the Atlantic coast.
She accurately stated that "it is hard to envisage that the conference could succeed, because there are in fact no concrete proposals in the official document to generate commitment."
Another sign of what this conference is about was given by Sha Zukang, the secretary-general of Rio+20, as reported on May 29. "So why is the United Nations convening this conference? It is not about enforcing rules or regulations at the cost of quality of life, but rather to encourage and facilitate better, wiser choices by individuals, local communities, businesses and governments.... Together, by engaging in creative thought, forward-looking initiatives and voluntary commitments, we can build consensus and strive for a world that will make our descendants proud. Let's work together to create the future we want."
If ever there was an oxymoron or statement of meaningless nonsense, it is the term that is also in the Rio+20 draft text and perhaps has been invented especially for Rio+20: "voluntary commitment."
The Rio+20 dismal failure is no surprise. The only nations now are the First Nations. Governments and nations are literally owned (present and future) by the big global banks. They are controlled by the big only for profit global corporations and that have captured the UN.
The global climate planetary emergency is virtually universally denied.
The future has been abandoned and the world condemned to a terrible death by unremitting increases in losses of water and food with unremitting increases in famine and disease.
The only course of action for real human beings is to abandon all confidence in the criminal corrupt international world order and push ahead as best they can with the Cochabamba Peoples Agreement and the traditional customary laws and Earth respecting world order of the global indigenous peoples. They always were the real leaders of the world.

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