Saturday, September 23, 2017

Rio+20 Round-up, Hotline 6.28.12


US Climate Action Network

Rio+20 Round-up

The UN Conference on Sustainable Development, more commonly recognized as Rio+20, held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, came to a close last week. More than 50,000 delegates, private sector and civil society representatives attended. Some USCAN members were very active in Rio while others, like me, monitored from afar, hoping that the news of impending failure was overblown. The political outcome of the Summit was indeed called a failure by the media and various civil society groups and some governments. The Rio+20 Declaration itself, weak in terms of ambitious targets and commitments, did however include some important elements for climate change. It recognized the greenhouse gas mitigation ambition gap and the 2 or 1.5 degree Celsius target to prevent runaway climate change. It also recognized innovative sources of climate finance and the UNFCCC Durban outcome.

Big #EndFossilFuelSubsidies rally on the iconic Copacabana beach outside of the Rio+20 Earth Conference. (Photo credit:

During the Summit there was a massive outcry to end fossil fuel subsidies. More than a million people signed petitions to world leaders demanding that they “turn $1 trillion green” by transferring public money from polluter handouts to clean energy and sustainable development. It was exciting to watch the Twitterstorm, a massive online action to make #endfossilfuelsubsidies one of the most talked about subjects on social media around the world, rapidly gain momentum.  This digital fury quickly turned into a category 5 Twitter hurricane with multiple tweets per second driving the hashtag to trend to  number two worldwide. Celebrities such as Mark Ruffalo, Stephen Fry, Richard Branson, and others picked up the call to action and weighed in. Politicians also tweeted their support, from Nancy Pelosi and White House representatives in the US to important figures at the Rio+20 talks, such as UN Climate Secretary Christiana Figueres.  Unfortunately, the summit failed to produce firm commitments to eradicate fossil fuel subsidies, something criticized by many groups. Read’s blog about the #endfossilfuelsubsidies Twitterstorm here.

Despite its overall shortfalls, some potentially important initiatives came out of the conference, many brokered in the ‘sidelines’ of the conference, which could have a big impact in the near future. Please see the Natural Resources Defense Council’s new aggregator website on the various initiatives here

Please see the links below for select coverage of the Rio+20 conference and statements from USCAN member groups.

Susan Tambi Matambo, International Policy Coordinator.

Related Resources:

  • Rio – 20, Oil Change International Blog, 6.25.12