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As the People v. the Polluters participate tomorrow morning in a tug of war in Rio Centro, Greenpeace pushes on beyond the diplomatic paralysis and despair of the conference  with the launch of the "Arctic Scroll, "a campaign to save the North Pole as a development-free global sanctuary.

“The Arctic is coming under assault and needs people from around the world to stand up and demand action to protect it,” said Greenpeace’s International Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo. “A ban on offshore oil drilling and unsustainable fishing would be a huge victory against the forces ranged against this precious region.” Source

Naidoo plans for a million-signature scroll which will be planted in a seabed proclaiming the region a global commons. Ex-Beatle Paul McCartney, actress Penelope Cruz and director Robert Redford were among the first to lend their support to the campaign.

The Independent quotes McCartney:

“The Arctic is one of the most beautiful and last untouched regions on our planet, but now it’s under threat,” he said. “Some countries and companies want to open it up to oil drilling and industrial fishing and do to the Arctic what they've done to the rest of our fragile planet.

“It seems madness that we are willing to go to the ends of the Earth to find the last drops of oil when our best scientific minds are telling us we need to get off fossil fuels to give our children a future. At some time, in some place, we need to take a stand. I believe that time is now and that place is the Arctic.”

It’s more than just a petition: when 1 million people have signed it, we’ll place those names in an indestructible pod and take it to the Arctic.  We’ll lower it through 4km of freezing water, planting your name on the bottom of the ocean at the top of the world. We’ll mark the spot with a Flag for the Future designed by the youth of the world. Greenpeace
Together, we can save the Arctic. Sign the Arctic Scroll

Rio Highlights:
Mary Robinson, the  former Irish president and ex-UN high commissioner for human rights speaks on food security, climate change, global justice and gender.

Meanwhile, Bianca Jagger walks out on Sir Richard Branson's Big Business Meeting ....

Ann Peterman of GJC reports on the the work of corporate this past week in hotel suites and ballrooms to push the “public-private partnerships” agenda, most notably "the  Consumer Goods Forum–a global industry group of 650 corporations that have combined sales of over US$3 trillion...."

The keystone policy of the so-called ‘green economy’ is the program to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD). REDD, initially developed at the UN and pushed by the World Bank, has met with serious challenges inside the UN process, due to the social and ecological impacts it will have, and the absence of a clear funding source beyond the failing carbon markets. At the same time, sub-national REDD agreements, such as one between the states of California (US), Chiapas (Mexico) and Acre (Brazil) [5] are moving forward outside of the multilateral process.

(snip)

“Industry has been tremendously effective at co-opting the concerns raised by civil society to create plans to advance business as usual”, stated Keith Brunner of Gears of Change and Global Justice Ecology Project. “For example, the huge corporations that make up the Consumer Goods Forum have pledged to create a ‘deforestation free supply chain’ by 2020. Unfortunately, what they mean by ‘zero net deforestation’ is continuing to cut down the world’s forests and displace Indigenous Peoples and forest dependent communities, while developing highly profitable but devastating industrial tree plantations”.

Post Conference Statements

STATEMENT BY ALDEN MEYER, UNION OF CONCERNED SCIENTISTS

“The political declaration issued by leaders in Rio has no hope of giving the peoples of the world ‘the future we want.’ Without much stronger action, we are clearly headed for a future we can't live with – and quicker than most leaders realize.

“The message from scientists and other experts is crystal clear: humanity is placing stresses on the Earth’s carrying capacity that threaten the health and wellbeing of both current and future generations. The response to this threat from world leaders in Rio is totally inadequate, as many of them would readily admit. Today’s declaration is the result of several factors: the focus of most leaders on current short-term economic challenges, the untoward influence of corporate polluters over public policy, and sharp divisions among countries on key issues such as equity and finance.

“But Rio also saw numerous initiatives launched and commitments made by countries, companies and other actors. More than 400 companies which comprise the Consumer Goods Forum pledged to achieve zero net deforestation in their supply chains by 2020. While collectively these initiatives are significant and offer some hope, they simply aren’t adequate to the scale of the challenges we face.

“Fortunately, we have the solutions we need, and they are far more affordable than the impacts we will suffer if we don't implement them.  For example, the cost of electricity from clean renewable sources has dropped significantly in recent years, and there are tremendous opportunities to use energy more efficiently in every sector of our economies. What’s in short supply is political will by leaders to rise above pressure from polluters and their own short-term thinking, and do the right thing for the future of all of us.  

“Despite the disappointing outcome in Rio, we will continue to press for the actions  to move us onto the sustainable path the people of the world deserve.”


Bernadette Fischler, Post-MDG Policy Advisor, CAFOD

“The Rio agreement should have put its weight behind the post-MDG process that has recently been established, sending a clear signal that an integrated approach to poverty reduction and environmental protection must be at the heart of the global development framework post-2015. Instead, governments are squabbling to agree who will lead yet another international initiative, the exact purpose of which remains undefined. The new set of goals must deliver positive change for the world’s poorest people who don’t classify the food, water, energy, and clean air they depend on as either poverty or environment issues – they just want to survive and live decent lives."
 

Kit Vaughan, Climate Change Advocacy Coordinator, CARE International
 

“Millions of poor women and men now have to pick up the pieces from the mess world leaders left behind here in Rio. World leaders did not come to Rio prepared and failed to deliver any clear vision or solutions to eradicate poverty and stop environmental degradation. Today, we see twenty years lost. In 1992, world leaders were more innovative, determined and visionary. Yet today, the challenges are even greater.”

“In the midst of this Rio despair, there are solutions emerging which don’t rely on international politics. Local communities all around the world are already taking action to manage their natural resources and live a sustainable life. The short-sightedness of world leaders demonstrated here in Rio means that we, as civil society, have to put everything we can to catalyze these local initiatives.”
 

 

Alison Doig, Senior Advisor on Sustainable Development, Christian Aid

“The fires of environmental destruction and human suffering are raging across the world but in Rio the most powerful leaders showed no hurry to put them out. Instead, they have pursued narrow self-interest, technical bargaining and energetic spin, in the hope of persuading the public that they have worked wonders. The truth is that 20 years after the Earth Summit in Rio, at a time when 1.4 billion people in the world live in desperate poverty and the environment is in crisis, governments have produced an agreement which is stunning only in its lack of urgency. We leave Rio with a text that contains no deadlines for countries to take action and lamentably few other targets."

“There is some hope that Rio will yet have a positive legacy, because leaders have committed to create a new set of sustainable development goals (SDGs) which will set the direction of global development work from 2015. The SDGs could help make global food production more sustainable and ensure that many millions more people can enjoy clean water and sustainable, modern energy. But this will only happen if citizens keep up the pressure as work to shape the goals continues."

 
Kumi Naidoo, Executive Director, Greenpeace International

 

"All we have witnessed is three days of empty rhetoric and greenwash from world leaders. This Summit will go down in history as Greenwash+20. Governments have failed to produce the historic deal we need to address the perfect storm of crises: of equity, ecology and economy. We didn’t get the Future we Want in Rio, because we do not have the leaders we need. The leaders of the most powerful countries supported Business as Usual, shamefully putting private profit before people and the planet."

“The ‘Future we Want’ was never going to be decided in Rio. It is being decided, each and every day in Capitals and boardrooms around the world. That is where we need to turn our attention. Rio+20 has been a failure of epic proportions, we must now work together to form a movement to tackle the equity, ecology and economic crises being forced on our children. The only outcome of this Summit is justifiable anger, an anger that we must turn into action."


The full statement by the Major Group for Children & Youth
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