Earth Summit in Johannesburg - U2 Feedback

Go Back   U2 Feedback > Lypton Village > Free Your Mind > Free Your Mind Archive
Click Here to Login
 
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
 
Old 08-24-2002, 11:34 PM   #1
Refugee
 
rafmed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: On the moon's belly button
Posts: 1,253
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Earth Summit in Johannesburg

On the Green Road from Rio to Johannesburg


The UN summit in Johannesburg next week has been dubbed "Rio + 10" or "Earth Summit 2". But what has happened to the lofty promises made at Rio? Has the global environment changed for the better in the past ten years?

The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 is seen by many as a milestone in international environmental diplomacy, and was even dubbed at the time as the mother of all global conferences.

The big question now is whether the UN Summit on Sustainable Development planned in Johannesburg starting August 26 will emulate the landmark Rio conference.

The Johannesburg summit has already exceeded the first earth summit in terms of logistics. It’s being billed as the largest United Nations gathering ever -- with over 65,000 delegates, 5,000 journalists, over 200 non-governmental organisations and 106 heads of state. United States President George W. Bush, however, will not be there.

Critical voices even before start of summit

Despite the sheer scale of the summit, some fear this year's conference won't bear as much fruit as its predecessor in Rio.

"The earth summit (in Rio) was a success because it put the environment on the global political map, it made key policy decisions and set up institutions to start to deliver them," said Jamie Pittock of the World Wildlife Fund.

He cites the framework conventions on climate change and biological diversity as examples. "We would all have liked progress to have been more rapid in the past decade, but the fact that we have those agreements and that those conventions are gradually being implemented is a success," he said.

Considerable achievements at Rio

To begin with, the Earth Summit established the Rio Declaration, a set of 27 principles defining the rights and responsibilities of the states in regard to the environment. This was designed to be a global environmental bill of rights.

The Rio Declaration has been hailed as being progressive by green groups, but has been largely forgotten in favour of Agenda 21.

Agenda 21 is a 40 chapter blueprint outlining a plan of action for sustainable development. It contains over 2,500 recommendations -- including detailed proposals on how to reduce wasteful consumption patterns, combat poverty, protect the atmosphere, oceans and bio-diversity and promote sustainable agriculture.

Agenda 21 was unique in that it was not restricted to national governments. 6,000 cities and towns adopted the proposals in a practical translation of the "think globally and act locally" idea.

Environmentalists fault Agenda 21

However, the plan was criticised by environmentalists who said Agenda 21 was a vague setof goals lacking clear implementation plans and binding legal requirements.

"Positive direction decisions that have resulted from the Rio summit have put the world in a slightly better direction than we would be in if these agreements had never been made," said Daniel Mittler, an organizer for Friends of the Earth Summit.

"But there have also been a lot of failures. The picture we see is still dramatic and Agenda 21 has clearly not lived up to being a blueprint for a sustainable planet which it was billed to be in 1992."

Landmark bio- diversity convention born in Rio

Nonetheless, the ideas for two major United Nations conventions were born out of Rio -- the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Convention on Climate Change which led to the Kyoto protocol.

The Biological Diversity Convention has been ratified by 183 nations and came into effect in 1993. It obliges countries to protect plant and animal species from extinction through habitat preservation and other means.

But its implementation record remains poor. Half the world's wetlands have been destroyed, most of them in the decade since Rio, and 12 percent of bird species alone are threatened with extinction.

"Between 1980 and 1995, for example, the extent of the world's forests decreased by an area roughly the size of Mexico," said Mittler. "So the fact that we have a global agreement on bio-diversity hasn't prevented the loss of bio-diversity globally.

In 2000, the World Conservation Union concluded that the extent of the world's estimated 11,000 threatened species are critically endangered. That means we are about to lose them."

Genesis of climate change convention in Rio

The Framework Convention on Climate Change was the highest profile agreement to emerge from the Rio summit.

It led to the signing of the Kyoto protocol -- a legally binding treaty designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to below the levels emitted in 1990. For Kyoto to come into force, 55 countries representing 55 percent of the industrialised countries have to make the treaty part of their domestic law.

Only Japan and the European Union have ratified the Kyoto protocol. And the United States -- the largest single air polluter -- has rejected the treaty outright saying it is unfair as
it excludes developing countries.

"If it is true that man-made emissions are contributing to climate change and that we need to try to remedy that, then the Kyoto protocol is not an adequate vehicle to get there," said Margot Thorning, the chief economist at the Council for Capital Formation in Washington.

"It won't really materially reduce the growth of greenhouse gases because the new emitters of greenhouse gases where the greenhouse gases are going up sharply -- like India, China, Brazil, Indonesia and other parts of the world -- are not constrained in terms of how fast their greenhouse gas emissions grow."

Humans responsible for climate change?

In the ten years since Rio global emissions of carbon – widely accepted as causing global warming - have increased by 400 million tonnes. In other words, global emissions have risen by 9 percent rather than decreasing by the roughly 7 percent target set by the Kyoto protocol.

And 2002 is becoming the second warmest year ever since accurate records were kept in the 1850s. David Griggs from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that there is no doubt that the world’s climate has changed.

" The global temperature has increased by 0.6 degrees, sea level has risen between 10 and 20 centimetres over the last 100 years, sea ice has retreated, arctic ice has retreated, glaciers have retreated. The number of indicators that climate has changed are just so many. What is much more difficult to assess is whether human beings are causing that."

He said the IPCC after a careful assessment of observations, models and future projections has concluded that it is likely that most of the observed warming over the last fifty years is due to human influence.

Depleting forest cover

The world’s forests also figured at the Rio summit and it was decided to create a foundation for an international convention on Forests. An intergovernmental panel on Forests was established and adopted over one hundred action proposals.

Yet until now no legal framework has been established. In the meanwhile forest cover has been disappearing at an alarming rate.

Between 1985 and 1995 an area as large as Mexico was deforested. In 2000 the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation FAO cites a global loss of forested area of 2.2 percent.

But according to the World Resources Institute that estimate could be conservative as it includes plantation forests.
WRI's own estimates which exclude these plantation forests would double the natural forest loss in tropical Asia and temperate Latin America.

Johannesburg: just talk and no action?

As all eyes turn to the Johannesburg summit next week, the United Nations is eager to quell critical voices suggesting that Johannesburg will be nothing more than a voluble conference resulting in little.

Jan Pronk, the United Nations special envoy to the summit, said "We have too many summits, too many talking shops, and that's the reason why at this particular conference we have to concentrate on agreements to act. Otherwise such conferences wouldn't make much sense anymore. We shouldn't decide to come back in another five years, because we run from one conference to the other. We shouldn't come back until 2015 because that is the time span for action on the basis of the agreements of the last decade."

The UN's draft plan for implementation which will be discussed at Johannesburg is already criticised by environment groups for being too weak. They argue for Johannesburg to succeed there need to be firm targets, financial commitments to meet these goals and enforcement mechanisms to implement them.

Germany's former Environment Minister and the head of the United Nations Environment Programme, Klaus Töpfer, agrees.

"Ten years before gave us clear and wonderful visionary texts and declarations. But unluckily it was not integrated enough how to implement this and therefore Johannesburg must be the summit of implementation and not another declaration."

Jennifer Macey

DW-tv website
__________________

__________________
rafmed is offline  
Old 08-26-2002, 01:25 AM   #2
Refugee
 
Danospano's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2000
Location: Oklahoma
Posts: 1,415
Local Time: 09:59 PM
I love how the U.S. claims their reason for nixing the Kyoto Protocol was related to developing countries rather than corporate greed. I love that!

I'll side with the environmentalists on the substance/relevance of the conference. Compromise between the polluters (who have more power) and the good-doers has hurt any hopes of cleaning up this planet's future. What we need is a slap across the face, otherwise we'll inevitably be doomed.

thanks for posting the article.
__________________

__________________
Danospano is offline  
Old 08-26-2002, 07:41 PM   #3
Refugee
 
follower's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Porto Alegre/Brasil
Posts: 2,302
Local Time: 11:59 PM
From Greenpeace website:

Surprise us - do something


Mon 26 August 2002
SOUTH AFRICA/Johannesburg


On the first day of the Earth Summit, a coalition of non-governmental organizations, including Greenpeace, called on the delegates to go further than insubstantial rhetoric to achieve real, lasting gains.


Over the next weeks, that will mean a battle of wills and a battle of words.

Despite the deep pessimism felt by many, there's still some hope that the Summit can make a difference, if it adheres to a few basic principles. The issues are complicated, but the answers are simple.

We need real targets and timetables for change.

We need a rejection of the absurdity that industry self-regulation is enough to protect our world.

We need binding measures without waffling language and ‘wiggle room’.

Governments must recognise and address the real downsides of economic globalisation, and make an ambitious effort to turn the concept into a positive force for far more of the planet's people and its environment.

What is lacking is not financial commitment; it’s the political will. The European Union shows some signs of progressive leadership, together with a long list of potential partner countries - beginning with Brazil, Japan, Indonesia and South Africa.

Floods in Europe and China, food crisis in southern Africa, droughts in the United States, the “brown cloud” over much of Asia, are timely reminders that natural and man-made disasters can be hugely exacerbated by the failure of policy-makers driven by the commercial interests of the rich world. The corporate sector is overtly present here lobbying to ensure that those very commercial interests will not be obstructed or regulated by Governments. These same bodies are calling for ‘self regulation’, or insist that market forces will keep them honest.

We all know better. From the Enron scandal, to Dow's refusal to clean up Bhopal, the legacy of corporate behaviour is sheer irresponsibility. All the money in the world won't wash away that truth.

Greenpeace has a published a checklist for a successful summit, which we invite you to have a look at. Over the next two weeks, we urge you to pay close attention to what our world's leaders are doing here in Johannesburg. Whose futures are they looking out for? Exxons? BMW's? or yours? Make sure they know that theirfuture as leaders depends entirely on how well they look after the future of your planet.
__________________
follower is offline  
Old 08-27-2002, 12:38 AM   #4
Refugee
 
oktobergirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: the middle
Posts: 1,874
Local Time: 06:59 PM
More info on the summit from Yahoo News today........

http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmp...orld_summit_34

__________________
oktobergirl is offline  
Old 08-29-2002, 12:54 AM   #5
The Fly
 
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: CA
Posts: 100
Local Time: 02:59 AM
Why should the US president go to this conference? Everytime they have this sort of conference, it's just a bunch of U.S. bashing. I just heard the main speaker at the conference and he's just rehashing the same lines about how the richest of the rich (he specifically identifies the US) are screwing the poorest of the poor (them). Is this something new? These same clowns declared Israel as the most racist state last year in another conference. Not going to the conference sends the right message that the US will no longer entertain this sort of event, which just leads to the perpetuation of generalizations about Americans that push us even further away from compromise. Also, as a scientist myself, I know that much of the science presented at these sort of conferences on the environment is often wildly inaccurate and politically motivated.
__________________
garibaldo is offline  
Old 09-02-2002, 10:11 PM   #6
I serve MacPhisto
 
z edge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: the HORROR
Posts: 4,022
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by garibaldo
Why should the US president go to this conference? Everytime they have this sort of conference, it's just a bunch of U.S. bashing. I just heard the main speaker at the conference and he's just rehashing the same lines about how the richest of the rich (he specifically identifies the US) are screwing the poorest of the poor (them). Is this something new? These same clowns declared Israel as the most racist state last year in another conference. Not going to the conference sends the right message that the US will no longer entertain this sort of event, which just leads to the perpetuation of generalizations about Americans that push us even further away from compromise. Also, as a scientist myself, I know that much of the science presented at these sort of conferences on the environment is often wildly inaccurate and politically motivated.
Very well said Garibaldo.

As I pointed out in a different thread when it took a turn towards the Earth Summit, the attendees were reportedly living "high on the hog" with steak and lobster and champange. Meanwhile the starving children are dying outside.

I agree that the US does not need to be dictated to attendance when this activity is going on. Not to mention politically motivated whack-science.
__________________
z edge is offline  
Old 09-03-2002, 06:46 AM   #7
you are what you is
 
Salome's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Netherlands
Posts: 22,016
Local Time: 03:59 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by z edge
As I pointed out in a different thread when it took a turn towards the Earth Summit, the attendees were reportedly living "high on the hog" with steak and lobster and champange. Meanwhile the starving children are dying outside.
while this is shamefull and very true it still has 0% to do with why the Bush isn't there
__________________
“Some scientists claim that hydrogen, because it is so plentiful, is the basic building block of the universe. I dispute that. I say there is more stupidity than hydrogen, and that is the basic building block of the universe.”
~Frank Zappa
Salome is offline  
Old 09-03-2002, 07:55 AM   #8
I serve MacPhisto
 
z edge's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: the HORROR
Posts: 4,022
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by Salome
while this is shamefull and very true it still has 0% to do with why the Bush isn't there
0%?

And this conclusion is based on?

__________________
z edge is offline  
Old 09-03-2002, 09:11 AM   #9
Jesus Online
 
Angela Harlem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 1969
Location: a glass castle
Posts: 30,163
Local Time: 01:59 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by z edge


0%?

And this conclusion is based on?

Um...Saddam? Iraq?


Gee, the potential to bring down Saddam?...or lobster?...hmmm! What to do, oh what to do!


__________________
Angela Harlem is offline  
Old 09-04-2002, 10:48 AM   #10
Refugee
 
rafmed's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2001
Location: On the moon's belly button
Posts: 1,253
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Colin Powell booed

Powell Jeered as Earth Summit Settles Pact
Wed Sep 4,10:02 AM ET
By Robin Pomeroy and William Maclean

JOHANNESBURG, South Africa (Reuters) - Protesters jeered Secretary of State Colin Powell ( news - web sites) on the Earth Summit's final day Wednesday, accusing Washington of blocking meaningful action in a blueprint to help the poor and save the planet.

Many governments gave a muted welcome to the summit plan meant to attack global problems from AIDS ( news - web sites) to depleted fish stocks, which was agreed in overnight talks by almost 200 states at the 10-day World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD).

Environmentalists branded it a waste of time and a sell-out to business interests favored by President Bush ( news - web sites), who did not attend. Even U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan ( news - web sites) said that people's expectations had been too high.

Hecklers chanting "Shame on Bush" twice interrupted Powell as he defended U.S. policies from criticisms the world's richest country and biggest polluter does not really care.

"Betrayed by governments," read a banner held up by the protesters, most of whom appeared to be Americans.

Seven were hustled out by guards from the main summit hall in Johannesburg as they whistled and booed. Most of the 100 world leaders who attended the summit had already left.

"Thank you, I have now heard you. I ask that you hear me," Powell replied, breaking off from his prepared speech as South African Foreign Minister Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, chairing the meeting, banged a gavel more than a dozen times in disapproval.

Powell was first jeered after talking about famine in southern Africa and singling out Zimbabwe for criticism. He was booed again when he said Washington was taking firm action to combat global warming ( news - web sites).

KYOTO PULLOUT

Bush, an ally of the oil, coal and logging industries, has been widely criticized for rejecting the Kyoto pact meant to fight global warming. Scientists say emissions of greenhouse gases from burning oil and coal are raising temperatures.

The United States denies the charge and has used the summit to unveil dozens of projects with businesses that aim to clean up the planet. It says it is allocating a new $970 million to help provide fresh water to the Third World.

"We have plans to end the despair and offer hope. Now is the time to put those plans into action to expand the circle of development to all God's children," Powell said.

His spokesman said Powell was unruffled by the protests and was mobbed by well-wishers outside the hall.

"Sustainable development is a marathon, not a sprint," Powell said later.

Activists slammed the summit for setting few firm targets and for failing to raise aid. Some staged a walkout from the conference center in protest Wednesday.

"The reaction to Colin Powell's speech is a very accurate reflection of the anger of non-governmental organizations for the role played by the United States at this conference," said Remi Parmentier, political director of Greenpeace.

"We're proud to be from America but embarrassed by American policies," said Michael Brune of the Rainforest Action Network. And environmental group WWF renamed WSSD the "World Summit of Shameful Deals."

New targets set Wednesday include halving by 2015 the 2.4 billion people without sanitation in the Third World, minimizing harmful effects from chemicals production by 2020 and a pledge to halt the decline in fish stocks by 2015.

But they include scant fresh cash. Current aid from rich nations totals about $54 billion a year -- or $67 for each of their citizens. The United Nations ( news - web sites) reckons goals like halving poverty by 2015 could be solved if it were doubled.

NO MIRACLES

"We have to be careful not to expect conferences like this to produce miracles," Annan said.

"Obviously people came to Johannesburg expecting us to solve all the problems here. This is just a beginning, but it's an important beginning," he told a news conference.

Yet all delegates know that many of the promises made at a first Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992, staged amid great optimism after the end of the Cold War, have been broken.

The European Union ( news - web sites) gave a cool welcome to the summit's blueprint and said it might be the last in a line of giant summits trying to resolve planet-wide issues.

Danish Prime Minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen, whose country holds the rotating EU presidency, said he was "satisfied" but added: "We cannot be happy with everything."

Among disappointments, he singled out a deal merely urging a "substantial" increase in the use of renewable energies like wind and solar power. Under pressure from Washington and the OPEC ( news - web sites) oil cartel the goal was stripped of any clear targets.

"I don't think that mega summits are the way to secure effective implementation," Rasmussen told a news conference. He added that the world should not start planning a follow-up summit in five or 10 years' time.

Overnight, diplomats resolved their dispute over a clause linking human rights to healthcare to hammer out a 65-page action plan that leaders are due to adopt later Wednesday.

But many delegates said that a final "political declaration" also to be issued was weak. "It's hopeless," one said. "It says nothing," another added.
__________________
rafmed is offline  
Old 09-04-2002, 05:46 PM   #11
War Child
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 526
Local Time: 02:59 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by garibaldo
Why should the US president go to this conference? Everytime they have this sort of conference, it's just a bunch of U.S. bashing. I just heard the main speaker at the conference and he's just rehashing the same lines about how the richest of the rich (he specifically identifies the US) are screwing the poorest of the poor (them). Is this something new? These same clowns declared Israel as the most racist state last year in another conference. Not going to the conference sends the right message that the US will no longer entertain this sort of event, which just leads to the perpetuation of generalizations about Americans that push us even further away from compromise. Also, as a scientist myself, I know that much of the science presented at these sort of conferences on the environment is often wildly inaccurate and politically motivated.
I can't even believe I am reading this. These conferences have nothing to do with the popularity status of the U.S. and everything to do with the complete lack of U.S. attention to the poor of the world. Every serious analysis has shown that something on the order of 50 billion dollars in aid from the rich world per year is needed to combat hunger, disease, and general poverty in the developing world. Meanwhile, Andrew Natsios of USAID shows up with a contribution of $4.45 million (million!) to provide clean water and sanitation to the Sahel region of Africa, a region of several hundred million people. That works out to a penny or two per person, which will of course accomplish nothing.

The neglect of the U.S. on this issue is shameful, and murderous.

Quote:
Originally posted by garibaldo
Also, as a scientist myself, I know that much of the science presented at these sort of conferences on the environment is often wildly inaccurate and politically motivated.
I honestly wonder if you have any idea what you are talking about. I just returned home from the Earth Summit. The science was competely sound and would save tens of millions of lives per year if there was the cash behind it. Please tell me which scientific discussions during these "sort of conferences" you find inaccurate (i.e. atmospheric sciences, the issue of biodiversity etc.) Additionally, you should be well aware that if the science is ever "politically motivated" it is always--without fail--motivated by U.S. politics and U.S. financial forces.
__________________
mug222 is offline  
Old 09-05-2002, 07:00 PM   #12
Banned
 
Spyplane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: the innovative mind of Z-EDGE since april 2002, as advertised in april 2002
Posts: 256
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by mug222



The neglect of the U.S. on this issue is shameful, and murderous.
MODS, have any of you seen this comment?

Thank You
__________________
Spyplane is offline  
Old 09-05-2002, 08:55 PM   #13
War Child
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Posts: 526
Local Time: 02:59 AM
Quote:
Originally posted by Spyplane


MODS, have any of you seen this comment?

Spyplane, have you seen the first amendment?

I understand this is a private forum, but please explain to me how my comment somehow hinders your ability to enjoy yourself here, or to express yourself freely.

You needn't, and shouldn't, cry foul every time someone forms an opinion contradictory to yours.
__________________
mug222 is offline  
Old 09-05-2002, 10:02 PM   #14
Banned
 
Spyplane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: the innovative mind of Z-EDGE since april 2002, as advertised in april 2002
Posts: 256
Local Time: 08:59 PM
Quote:
Originally posted by mug222


Spyplane, have you seen the first amendment?

I understand this is a private forum, but please explain to me how my comment somehow hinders your ability to enjoy yourself here, or to express yourself freely.

You needn't, and shouldn't, cry foul every time someone forms an opinion contradictory to yours.
Simply put, you are calling me murderous. That is foul.

However, in good old ZOOTV irony:

__________________
Spyplane is offline  
Old 09-05-2002, 10:12 PM   #15
Banned
 
Spyplane's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: the innovative mind of Z-EDGE since april 2002, as advertised in april 2002
Posts: 256
Local Time: 08:59 PM
__________________

__________________
Spyplane is offline  
 

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:59 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Design, images and all things inclusive copyright © Interference.com