Energy, food security to dominate Rio+20: envoy

Oct 13, 2011
Boosting energy efficiency and renewables and providing food for a future world of eight billion will dominate next year's UN Rio+20 conference, the talks' co-coordinator said on Thursday.

Boosting energy efficiency and renewables and providing food for a future world of eight billion will dominate next year's UN Rio+20 conference, the talks' co-coordinator said on Thursday.

The June 4-6 event in is taking place 20 years after the landmark 1992 Earth Summit that set down UN conventions for protecting biodiversity and tackling climate change.

In a meeting with journalists in Paris, envoy Brice Lalonde, a former French ecology minister, said next year's event "will probably confirm the principles of Rio."

But, he indicated it would not launch any top-down projects on a similar horizon-scanning scale.

"1992 was just after the fall of the Berlin Wall, so the geopolitical situation was different compared with today," said Lalonde, saying many countries today fretted about their budgets and prospects for growth.

As a result, the focus in Rio will be on the "green economy" and on practical work to spur sustainable development, he said.

"At the top of the list is energy, which of course is the key for addressing climate change," Lalonde said.

The conference could endorse pledges to provide universal access to energy, halve "energy intensity" and double the share of in the world's energy mix by 2030.

would be another target. The world's population is officially set to reach seven billion on October 31, and is likely to reach eight billion within another two decades.

"With a billion more people coming onto the planet by 2030, how do we boost nutritional security but without using more water, land or ?" said Lalonde.

Other likely "concrete" objectives will be cooperation on improving the quality of life in cities, saving the oceans from pollution and over-fishing, and strengthening international help in disasters, a request put forward by Japan, he said.

The UN is canvassing governments and non-governmental organisations for their views on what the conference's political document should contain.

These opinions will be condensed into a "zero draft" that will then be hammered out in negotiations due to finish in late May, said Lalonde.

Apart from the talks at political level, the conference will also host meetings gathering activists, businesses, donors and representatives from regions and cities.

"Action starts at the local and national level. Nothing will happen at UN level if nothing happens in individual countries," said Lalonde.

Rio+20 has not been designated a summit because heads of state and government have yet to say whether they will attend. The last big environmental summit, in Copenhagen in December 2009, which sought to seal a global pact on a climate change, was a near-fiasco.

Explore further: US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Mayors reach climate deal with World Bank

Jun 01, 2011

Leaders of the C40 Mayors Summit on climate change said Wednesday the group had reached a financing agreement with the World Bank to help the world's major cities better adapt to climate change.

Climate change panel: renewable energy to be key

May 05, 2011

(AP) -- The world's top scientific body concluded that renewable energy in the coming decades will be widespread and could one day represent the dominant source for powering factories and lighting homes, ...

Report underscores advantages of renewable energy future

May 10, 2011

A major new report by the United Nations-supported Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched today underscores the incredible environmental and social advantages of a future powered by renewable ...

Recommended for you

US delays decision on Keystone pipeline project

Apr 18, 2014

The United States announced Friday a fresh delay on a final decision regarding a controversial Canada to US oil pipeline, saying more time was needed to carry out a review.

New research on Earth's carbon budget

Apr 18, 2014

(Phys.org) —Results from a research project involving scientists from the Desert Research Institute have generated new findings surrounding some of the unknowns of changes in climate and the degree to which ...

User comments : 0

More news stories

China says massive area of its soil polluted

A huge area of China's soil covering more than twice the size of Spain is estimated to be polluted, the government said Thursday, announcing findings of a survey previously kept secret.

UN weather agency warns of 'El Nino' this year

The UN weather agency Tuesday warned there was a good chance of an "El Nino" climate phenomenon in the Pacific Ocean this year, bringing droughts and heavy rainfall to the rest of the world.

NASA's space station Robonaut finally getting legs

Robonaut, the first out-of-this-world humanoid, is finally getting its space legs. For three years, Robonaut has had to manage from the waist up. This new pair of legs means the experimental robot—now stuck ...

Ex-Apple chief plans mobile phone for India

Former Apple chief executive John Sculley, whose marketing skills helped bring the personal computer to desktops worldwide, says he plans to launch a mobile phone in India to exploit its still largely untapped ...

Filipino tests negative for Middle East virus

A Filipino nurse who tested positive for the Middle East virus has been found free of infection in a subsequent examination after he returned home, Philippine health officials said Saturday.

Egypt archaeologists find ancient writer's tomb

Egypt's minister of antiquities says a team of Spanish archaeologists has discovered two tombs in the southern part of the country, one of them belonging to a writer and containing a trove of artifacts including reed pens ...