RIO+20 DEAL: WORLD LEADERS STICK THEIR HEADS IN THE SAND
22 June 2012
Commenting from Brazil on the anticipated outcome of the Rio+20 UN Conference on sustainable development, Friends of the Earth's Director of Policy and Campaigns Craig Bennett said:
"World leaders in Rio have responded to the tide of global destruction that's fast approaching by sticking their heads firmly in the sand.
"These talks have been completely undermined by a dangerous lack of ambition, urgency and political will - and weak politicians too afraid to push for anything tougher.
"World leaders are understandably concerned about the broken economy - but until they stop treating it separately from our social and environmental problems this will never be fixed.
"It's time for a fresh approach by a new generation of leaders - we need different ways of doing business that put the wellbeing of people and the planet we depend on first."
The environment charity is now calling on the UK Government to turn the vague ideas in the Rio deal into ambitious commitments at home, highlighting five key actions:
• Commit to a Bee Action Plan to protect dwindling bee numbers and safeguard an indispensable pollinator of UK food crops. Research commissioned by Friends of the Earth earlier this year revealed it would cost the UK £1.8 billion every year to hand-pollinate food crops without bees.
• Ensure the UK's electricity market is carbon-free by 2030 by investing in clean British energy from the sun, wind and water. Reducing our reliance on dirty and expensive fossil fuels and slashing energy waste will also help protect households from soaring fuel bills caused mainly by the rocketing price of gas.
• Agree to end fossil fuel subsidies. Governments across the world are handing over almost a hundred billion dollars of taxpayers' money every year to the oil, coal and gas industries.
• Enable the Green Investment Bank to borrow and lend money from next year in order to kick start a clean economy and create tens of thousands of jobs.
• Limit the costs in the UK courts of fighting environmental cases to enable communities affected by environmental problems, such as air or water pollution, to bring legal action without significant financial risk.
Notes to editors:
1. Friends of the Earth's assessment of the final Rio text is available: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/rio20_isthisit.pdf
2. Friends of the Earth supported the alternative People's Summit process in Rio, where people from around the world excluded from the UN talks asked politicians to put the needs of the world's poorest people and future generations before short-term profit.
3. You can see Friends of the Earth's full report 'Rio+20 Earth Summit: What the UK needs to do to make it matter' at http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/briefings/rio20_ewni_report_2012.pdf
4. Thousands of people have joined Friends of the Earth's call to Nick Clegg to end subsidies for fossil fuel companies: http://www.foe.co.uk/campaigns/climate/press_for_change/dirty_energy_rio_36030.html?ref=36103&submit=Email+Nick+Clegg.
5. Chancellor George Osborne announced multi-million pound tax breaks for the coal, oil and gas industries in his March Budget. The expected impact of these will lead to the release of at least as much carbon dioxide as the UK produces in a whole year, according to Friends of the Earth calculations: http://www.foe.co.uk/resource/media_briefing/tax_breaks.pdf.
6. Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland is part of Friends of the Earth International, a federation of 76 organisations from 76 countries.
7. Friends of the Earth's The Bee Cause campaign is supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees, and on the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan. www.foe.co.uk/bees.
8. Friends of the Earth's Clean British Energy campaign is urging the Government to listen to the public and transform our broken energy system by developing clean and affordable power from our wind, sun and water. For too long the Big Six energy companies have locked Britain into importing costly gas and coal - causing our fuel bills to rocket. Backing renewable power and cutting energy waste will stabilise fuel bills and create new jobs. To back the campaign and simple steps on how to switch electricity supplier visit http://www.cleanbritishenergy.co.uk/
If you're a journalist looking for press information please contact the Friends of the Earth media team on 020 7566 1649.
Published by Friends of the Earth Trust
Last modified: Jun 2012