Spotlight Rio+20: Green from the Grassroots

Elinor Ostrom, guest blogger

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 series.

Elinor Ostrom, a Nobel laureate in economics, was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Planet Under Pressure conference and Professor of Political Science and Senior Co-Research Director of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University. She passed away on June 12, 2012. This article was published that day by Project Syndicate.

Much is riding on the United Nations Rio+20 summit. Many are billing it as Plan A for Planet Earth and want leaders bound to a single international agreement to protect our life-support system and prevent a global humanitarian crisis.

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Spotlight Rio+20: From Top-Down to Bottom-Up: New Directions for Climate at Rio+20

Kristen Sheeran, guest blogger

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 series.

In 2009, I published a book with Graciela Chichilnisky, Saving Kyoto (New Holland 2009), that argued passionately for preserving the economic and political architecture of the only international treaty on climate change the world has known – the Kyoto Protocol. The book was timely: the countdown to compliance with Kyoto’s mandated emissions targets had begun; the international community was gathering that year in Copenhagen to negotiate the next round of climate commitments; and there was hope that the Obama administration could usher the U.S. back to the negotiating table in earnest. More importantly from my perspective, however, was the growing realization that the window of opportunity for stabilizing the earth’s climate system was rapidly coming to a close. The urgency of the crisis demanded immediate, extensive emissions reductions. And I firmly believed that a coordinated international effort that mandated reductions from world’s largest emitters was the fairest and most efficient way to stave off climate disaster.

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Spotlight Rio+20: South American Governments in Rio: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

Eduardo Gudynas, guest blogger

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 series.

South American governments will attend the Rio +20 conference in a very strained environment: while at the national level, almost every country has undergone a weakening of its environmental management systems, at the international level, countries do not coordinate their positions. Particularly since such contradictions seem to go unnoticed by international analysts, especially from the English language media, it is necessary to explicitly describe them. Five key issues are presented below.

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Spotlight Rio+20: Beyond Rio+20

Sunita Narain

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 series.

It was June of 1992. The location was Rio de Janeiro. The occasion was the world conference on environment and development. A large number of people had come out on the streets. They were protesting the arrival of George Bush senior, the then president of the US. Just before coming to the conference, Bush had visited a local shopping centre, urging people to buy more so that the increased consumption could rescue his country from financial crisis. Protesters were angered by his statement that “the American lifestyle is not negotiable”. People wanted change in the way the world did business with the environment. They demanded that Bush should sign the climate convention and agree to tough emission reductions. The mood was expectant, upbeat and pushy.

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Spotlight Rio+20: Desert Year:$3 Trillion Thought Experiment for Rio+20

Skip Laitner, guest blogger

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 series.

Because I roam the desert a lot, the UV Index is something I pay attention to.  It is an international standard that measures the strength of ultraviolet radiation from the sun at a given time and place. Canada was the first to adopt such an index in 1992. The U.S. followed in 1994, as have any subsequent number of countries since that time.  Today the World Health Organization (WHO) has standardized the UV Index by replacing the many different regional methods that otherwise provided an inconsistent set of results.

A UV index of zero is essentially a nighttime reading.  An index of 10 (highlighted by the color red) roughly corresponds to the midday sun beating down on the earth through a clear sky.  Here on the desert we often hit the extreme, at noon, with index of 11.  That is the color purple and not really all that uncommon.  And as I reflected on the thought experiment I am about to describe, yes, I was out on the desert floor at roughly the time when the UV Index hit purple.

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Spotlight G-20 & Rio+20: What We’re Reading and Writing

As part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight G-20 and Spotlight Rio+20 series, we are running a special edition of our regular Reading and Writing update.

What We’re Reading
Johan Kuylenstierna, Environmentalism or human well-being? Rejecting a false dichotomy
Shengen Fan, A Green Economy and the Poor
Nature, Return to Rio: Second chance for the planet
FAO, Towards the Future We Want
IISD, Sustainable Development Timeline
IISD, Linkages: Coverage of Rio+20
SEI, Clinton outlines agenda to tackle climate, health and food security
Manish Bapna, Peter Hazlewood and John Talberth, Rio+20: Moving Ahead with the Sustainable Development Goals
Elizabeth Bast, Traci Romine, Stephen Kretzmann, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Lo Sze Ping, Low Hanging Fruit: Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Climate Finance, and Sustainable Development
Stephen Leahy, Activists Call for Creation of High Commissioner for Future Generations at Rio+20
Rousbeh Legatis, Q&A: Battle for Human Rights in Rio Is “Far From Over”
Thalif Deen, Defining Green Economy May Stymie Rio Summit
Laura Carlsen, Mexico’s G20 Summit: In the Eye of the Storm
Peter Wahl, The G20: Overestimated and Underperforming
Liane Schalatek and Lili Fuhr, From promise to payment pledge: in Los Cabos, the G20 must act on long-term climate finance

What We’re Writing
Martin Khor, Key issues facing Rio+20 summit
Jennifer Clapp, G20 and Food Security: Keep the Focus on Economic Policy Reform

Spotlight G-20 & Rio+20: What We're Reading and Writing

As part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight G-20 and Spotlight Rio+20 series, we are running a special edition of our regular Reading and Writing update.

What We’re Reading
Johan Kuylenstierna, Environmentalism or human well-being? Rejecting a false dichotomy
Shengen Fan, A Green Economy and the Poor
Nature, Return to Rio: Second chance for the planet
FAO, Towards the Future We Want
IISD, Sustainable Development Timeline
IISD, Linkages: Coverage of Rio+20
SEI, Clinton outlines agenda to tackle climate, health and food security
Manish Bapna, Peter Hazlewood and John Talberth, Rio+20: Moving Ahead with the Sustainable Development Goals
Elizabeth Bast, Traci Romine, Stephen Kretzmann, Srinivas Krishnaswamy, Lo Sze Ping, Low Hanging Fruit: Fossil Fuel Subsidies, Climate Finance, and Sustainable Development
Stephen Leahy, Activists Call for Creation of High Commissioner for Future Generations at Rio+20
Rousbeh Legatis, Q&A: Battle for Human Rights in Rio Is “Far From Over”
Thalif Deen, Defining Green Economy May Stymie Rio Summit
Laura Carlsen, Mexico’s G20 Summit: In the Eye of the Storm
Peter Wahl, The G20: Overestimated and Underperforming
Liane Schalatek and Lili Fuhr, From promise to payment pledge: in Los Cabos, the G20 must act on long-term climate finance

What We’re Writing
Martin Khor, Key issues facing Rio+20 summit
Jennifer Clapp, G20 and Food Security: Keep the Focus on Economic Policy Reform

Spotlight G-20 & Rio+20: The G-20 Casts a Long Shadow over Rio

Peter Riggs, guest blogger

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 and Spotlight G-20 series.

What is the relation between the Rio+20 Earth Summit and the upcoming G-20 summit in Mexico?   These two events occur back-to-back, and both are at the ‘heads of state’ level.  This month should be an opportunity for serious international course-correction, right?

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Spotlight G-20 & Rio+20: The G-20 Casts a Long Shadow over Rio

Peter Riggs, guest blogger

Part of the Triple Crisis Spotlight Rio+20 and Spotlight G-20 series.

What is the relation between the Rio+20 Earth Summit and the upcoming G-20 summit in Mexico?   These two events occur back-to-back, and both are at the ‘heads of state’ level.  This month should be an opportunity for serious international course-correction, right?

Read the rest of this entry »