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Prime Minister must not let Rio+20 failure stand

The Prime Minister and other world leaders arriving in Rio tomorrow (local time) must intervene to strengthen the farcically weak text agreed by bureaucrats today, said the Australian Greens.


"Twenty years after making laudable commitments to sustainable development, which spawned three international conventions, the world's diplomats have taken no steps forward and are failing the needs of this planet and future generations," said Australian Greens environment spokesperson Larissa Waters, from Rio.


"The entire draft document is an exercise in rhetoric, lacks any meaningful new commitments and is a mere re-statement of 20 year old goals which have not yet been met.


"The draft text on fossil fuel subsidies reaffirms G20 commitments but lacks implementation timeframes and strong encouragement for other countries to follow suit, despite huge community concern for the over $7bil subsidies given by the Australian Government to polluters, expressed in a twitter storm in the last 24 hours.


"Australia's push to include in the Rio draft agreement text supporting 'sustainable mining' on the spurious basis that it can help local communities flies in the face of all evidence in Queensland's mining towns, which are suffering the effects of skyrocketing costs of living, social pressures and the two speed economy.


"The PM must ditch this plan to export the problems our mining industry creates for communities, and push hard to progress Sustainable Development Goals from just a notional future possibility to a serious reality.


"Even if Rio+20 ends as a failure, Australia must act domestically.


"Australia must turn around our biodiversity crisis, properly protect marine reserves, slow down the mining boom, protect the Great Barrier Reef from coal export explosion, and ditch fossil fuel subsidies.


"Australia is a wealthy country and we can better afford environmental protection than many other nations. Our natural wealth is unparalleled and our grandchildren must thank us for what we do," said Senator Waters.

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