NRDC: Rio+20 Just A Starting Place For Real Action

Statements from NRDC’s Rio+20 Team on Successes and Challenges That Remain after Earth Summit  

RIO DE JANEIRO–(ENEWSPF)–June 22, 2012 – On the final day of the Rio+20 Earth Summit, the Natural Resources Defense Council’s delegation in Rio made the following statements:

NRDC President Frances Beinecke on the overall summit:

“Government negotiators at the Rio+20 Earth Summit did not produce the prescription for the planet that is needed. But you can’t save the planet with a document.

“That does not mean Rio+20 was a failure. Some 50,000 people attended and hundreds of thousands more participated virtually to make their voices heard like never before. Countries, communities and companies worldwide announced hundreds of individual commitments to instigate real change – irrespective of any United Nations document.

“It’s unequivocally clear now that we can’t depend only on the slow wheels of bureaucracy and government negotiators to address the urgent problems our planet faces.

“But it’s also clear from what we witnessed in Rio that we can – and must – harness the collective power and will of individuals worldwide to hold our government leaders accountable while simultaneously taking real action on our own to leave a better world for our children.

“Rio+20 showed us what we can and must do. It’s just the starting place for real action.”

 NOTE: NRDC launched a new Web site designed to track individual commitments made at Rio+20 and hold those who make them accountable. See for more details.

NRDC International Program Director Susan Casey-Lefkowitz on fossil fuel subsidies:

“The public sent a clear signal at Rio+20 that it is way past time to stop subsidizing fossil fuels. The world provides nearly $1 trillion in subsidies to the fossil fuel industry – 12 times more support than the clean, renewable energy industry gets.

“The public outcry over fossil fuel subsidies during Rio+20 is a wake-up call that countries must finally end this destructive practice and shift those resources towards more productive uses like renewable energy.

NRDC International Climate Policy Director Jake Schmidt on energy, climate issues:

“The world is making real progress on clean and renewable energy. At Rio+20, developing countries committed to phase-out inefficient light bulbs by 2016, for instance, while other countries pledged to dedicate new resources to spur develop more sources of renewable electricity.

“We now need our governments to support policies that will create more of what people everywhere say they want and need: Clean renewable energy that won’t pollute our air and water, harm our health and ruin our planet.”

“The final political declaration commits to phase-down the production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons – a powerful global warming pollutant.

“China, India, and Brazil must now turn these words into action by beginning the negotiations under the Montreal Protocol to phase-down these substances that contribute to global warming.”

NRDC International Oceans Program Director Lisa Speer on oceans:

“We made real progress on oceans protections at Rio+20. World leaders made solid commitments to finally address plastics pollution in our oceans, fishing subsidies, overfishing and ocean acidification that results from our dependence on fossil fuels.

“These are all positive steps that – if vigorously implemented – will help reverse the decline of our oceans.

“There is still much more we must do, however. It is disappointing that no decision was reached to negotiate a new international agreement for the conservation and management of marine areas beyond national jurisdictions. But that doesn’t prevent our own countries from stepping up now to do more to protect our irreplaceable oceans and coastlines.”

For more details and blogs from NRDC’s team at Rio+20 team, please click here.

For NRDC’s comprehensive Rio+20 Web site, please click here or visit


The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists, and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world’s natural resources, public health, and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at and follow us on Twitter @NRDC.