Monday Moaning

Rio+20: Prince Charles in climate change warning

Prince Charles says greater knowledge is needed about the state of the planet

The Prince of Wales has warned of the “catastrophic” consequences of inaction on issues such as climate change, at a UN sustainability conference in Brazil.

Prince Charles said he had “watched in despair” at the slow pace of progress on the “critical issues of the day,” in a pre-recorded video address in Rio.

He urged world leaders to adopt a more integrated approach to issues such as climate change and food security.

Waiting for the worst to happen would be “too late to act at all”, he said.

Rio+20, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, is attended by heads of state and representatives from governments, non-governmental organisations and the private sector.

In his address, the prince said scientific evidence showed the potential consequences of ignoring the risks.

‘Sceptical reluctance’

“Like a sleepwalker, we seem unable to wake up to the fact that so many of the catastrophic consequences of carrying on with ‘business-as-usual’ are bearing down on us faster than we think, already dragging many millions more people into poverty and dangerously weakening global food, water and energy security for the future,” he said.

“One thing is clear. We need to be much more informed about the actual state of the planet.

“We do not have nearly enough knowledge on which to base the decisions that will be the best for the long term.

“Until we do, we expose ourselves to the mounting danger of major shifts in policy that are not well conceived, but come as panicked responses to crises that could have been avoided.”

He said the “outright, sceptical reluctance” by some to engage with these issues had often slowed progress “to a standstill”.

Pointing to the work of his International Sustainability Unit, a foundation set up to campaign on global sustainability, the prince said a better picture of environmental problems was needed before effective policy could be implemented.

‘Don’t have long’

He said data on energy, water, biodiversity, forestry and soil, which is collected separately, needed to be combined and analysed as a whole.

“If this could happen, at least then we would know what the state of the planet actually is – and then plan accordingly,” he said.

He went on: “We do not have long to capture such a comprehensive picture, and so I would appeal to you as you meet here in Rio to make an even greater and concerted effort to persuade policy and decision-makers to act before it is finally too late.

“It is, perhaps, a trait of human nature to act only when the worst happens, but that is not a trait we can afford to rely on here.

“Once the worst does happen, I am afraid that this time around it will be too late to act at all.”

The conference marks the 20th anniversary of the 1992 United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil’s second largest city.

Source: BBC News

Opinion:

My earlier gloomy prediction has all but come to pass. Rio +20 has produced more hot air than greenhouse gases.

The talks stalled, only but at that stage only 37% of the UN’s draft text had been agreed on in the end.

“Faced with a triple planetary crisis – climate catastrophe, deepening global inequity and unsustainable consumption driven by a broken economic system – the text is neither ambitious enough nor delivers the required political will needed.”BBC News

There is no commitment to end fossil fuel subsidies, as some countries have been advocating. Energy and water are two of the major issues that have been diluted.

As predicted, the worst offenders the US, Canada and the China bloc of 131 developing countries, have previously put red lines through many elements of the new text.

Procrastination as financing was deferred until 2014.

Basically the whole thing is a white wash.

We need action NOW!

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5 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by smallftprints on June 18, 2012 at 9:27 pm

    You’re right … their talks are a lot of hot air. I suspect that they put on a good show so that their constituents will be mollified. But in reality, they either aren’t taking it serious or it’s not in their wallet’s best interest. Either way, they are making life very difficult for us. Sad because they could do so much good! As you’ve said before, we need to find a way to get politicians, who won’t step up to the climate change challenge, out … and insist on representatives who will actually help rather than hinder.

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    • >SF, mollifying the constituents, that’s what it’s all about. I am going to write more on this, probably Thursday; I won’t be playing nice. Above, good old Prince Charming is on the right track, a bit more intelligible than usual.

      AV

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  2. You mean “green wash”? And why on Earth is it necessary for 50,000 delegates to come flying in from all over the place in order to accomplish not much?

    Perhaps the Prince of Wales would convene a more exclusive convention of royals who are of like mind – did not the Sultan of Oman ban plastic bags from his realm by a stroke of the pen?. I know most royals don’t wield that kind of political power, but I believe they could lead very effectively by their soft power: think of the outpouring of feeling and support when the Prince of Wales acquired a daughter-in-law.

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    • >CelloMom, no, I don’t think green wash covers that. Green washing is telling lies to make your product seem green. I was meaning a waste of time, now on reflection, wash out would have been a better choice of words.

      I do agree, that the cost of the summit compared to what was achieved is totally out of proportion. I’ll be commenting on that about Thursday.

      While the Sultans and Sheiks may be able to do that, the British royalty can’t. In fact, I don’t even think the Queen can veto a law proffered by govt for her signature.

      AV

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      • Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that the royals mess with the parliamentary democracies of their countries. What I have in mind is more like a green diplomacy, an advertising campaign that caring for the planet is important enough to the royals; implying it should important for the rest of us. Along the lines of what Prince Charles has been doing for years, but more explicit, and more organised. And all _soft_ power.

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