Peter Atkins 25 June 2012.
Here is the full Rio + 20 text:
(Editorial note: You will notice, if you wade through the 49 pages and 283 paragraphs, that the text is peppered with phrases such as “we encourage”, “we invite”, “we invite”, but very few concrete commitments apart from setting up a “registry of commitments”, voluntary of course.
Paragraph 255 says “We agree to establish an intergovernmental process under the United Nations General Assembly”> This process will “assess financing needs, consider the effectiveness, consistency and synergies of existing instruments and frameworks, and evaluate additional initiatives, with a view to prepare a report proposing options on an effective Sustainable Development Financing Strategy to facilitate the mobilization of resources and their effective use in achieving sustainable development objectives.”
Paragraph 258 does set some targets on Overseas Development Assistance (ODA) in terms of GDP % contributions which range from 0.15% to 0.7%, but ODA is voluntary anyway.
Paragraph 225, about fossil fuel subsidies, says “Countries reaffirm the commitments they have made to phase out harmful and inefficient fossil fuel subsidies that encourage wasteful consumption and undermine sustainable development.” It also invites others to consider making similar commitments. The problem is that so far countries are only talking about removing fossil fuel subsidies – as far as I know no one has actually dared to remove fossil fuel subsidies.
All in all, I think Rio +20 was disappointing and our best hope lies in the actions of individuals – people, companies, NGOs and perhaps some enlightened countries.)