If public-private partnerships are essential to successfully carrying out the Olympics and using it to catalyze positive change for the host city, then Rio could have an important advantage for hosting the games in 2016.
Rio+20Building the Future We Want
“We need to build a decent life on a crowded planet.” That quote from Jeffrey Sachs sums up the challenge faced by thousands of participants at Rio+20, the UN Conference on Sustainable Development, June 20-22, 2012, in Rio de Janeiro. Staff and students from the Earth Institute will be writing for State of the Planet from the conference, and after, about the issues to be faced.
Representatives of the worlds’ cities came to Rio in June for a series of events focused on the problems pressing in on the burgeoning urban population. Mayors around the world already are working on solutions and came out of Rio with concrete commitments for the future.
The Sustainable Development Solutions Network will bring together public and private research centers to address some of the urgent social, environmental and economic problems raised during the recent Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro.
Although China dominates in the race to be the leading global manufacturer of clean renewable energy, they are not necessarily doing the most for the environment. China, consistently pushing the clean energy market towards an economic future, was expected to be a leading developing country in negotiations at Rio+20. Meanwhile, the United States, without a more forward-looking energy policy, simply cannot compete.
Last month, MPA in Environmental Science and Policy alum Krystal Laymon (MPA-ESP Class of 2012) traveled to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the Rio +20: The United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development. The conference, intended to be a follow-up to the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, was the largest United Nations environmental summit to date. Representatives from more than 190 countries gathered to discuss issues regarding economic growth, social equality, and environmental protection and provide a strong push towards sustainable development.
Watch a slide show featuring ongoing research by scientists at Columbia University’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, whose work around the globe is key to understanding past changes in the oceans and what is going on today.
The latest 2012 Climate Change Policy Tracker report released by Deutsche Bank Climate Change Advisors in partnership with the Columbia Climate Center shows that while current policies lead to emissions reductions, there is significant distance to go to reach “safe” levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases by 2020.
The 2012 Equator Prizes were awarded to 25 local initiatives from Bangladesh, Tajikistan, Nicaragua, Swaziland and Brazil and elsewhere, for work by local groups toward the advancement of sustainable development solutions.
UNESCO Director General Irena Bokova said sustainable development cannot be achieved by political agreements, financial incentives or technological solutions alone. There must be a fundamental change in the ways individuals think and act.
Population growth is a key contributor to the pressures pushing at our planetary boundaries. In Rio+20 discussions, implications of population growth have become shrouded in platitudes. It is important that discussions on planetary limits clearly lay out possible strategies that can alleviate these pressures.