CCTF Statement launched: Failure to act on climate change will doom Rio+20 outcomes

Rio de Janeiro: The high-level Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) issued today a landmark call on governments around the world to take urgent action and make serious political commitments to curb the threats of climate change in order to unlock the transition to sustainable, just and secure development of the civilization.
The Climate Change Task Force, convened by President Mikhail Gorbachev, today issued its first Statement on Action to Face the Urgent Realities of Climate Change on the eve of the high-level session of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), which lasts from 20-22 June.
“Today I am very concerned and worried because the draft final document of the Rio+20 conference does not give proper attention to climate change,” says President Gorbachev.
“It looks like there is backsliding on this (climate change) issue and that is what worries me so much because without addressing climate change, all of the other problems and tasks that will be set by the final document (of the Rio+20 conference) will not be accomplished and will become meaningless,” adds President Gorbachev.
The Climate Change Task Force Statement, which has been endorsed by more than 30 leading figures from relevant fields (see Annex 2 full list),  says:
  • It is a misconception to think that limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees will keep us safe. The impacts we see today are driven by a rise in temperatures of 0.8 degrees above pre-industrial levels. Even a rise of 2 degrees will have massive, irreversible impacts;
  • It is a misconception that action on climate change is an economic drag on development, and instead shows how early action can save money and promote new areas of economic development;
  • World peace will be an “illusion” if the basic needs and aspirations of all people on the planet cannot be provided due to the threats posed by climate change.

Alexander Likhotal, President of Green Cross International, which hosts the CCTF, says inadequate action and results have flown from the 1992 Earth Summit in Rio, which had prioritized the issue.

“Twenty years after the original Rio conference, there is overwhelming evidence that the state of the climate and the environment has been treated with a woefully insufficient business-as-usual approach,” Mr Likhotal says. “There has been a breakdown in the multilateral political system that has replaced global good with national greed, and given a free hand to unchecked use up of natural resources. These are the key causes of the climate crisis and the unsustainable system of development that is wracking the world and condemning people all over the world – especially in the poorest parts – to lives of vulnerability, desperation and suffering.”
Mr Likhotal adds: “Governments participating in the Rio+20 meeting must grasp the moment and produce an effective, action-oriented political commitment here in Brazil that puts climate change at the centre of efforts to ensure sustainable development of our planet.”
The Statement recommends seven lines of action to master the threats of climate change:
  • Implement urgent and deep cuts in CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions;
  • Preserve the planet’s natural capital and restore its ecosystems;
  • Undertake rapid adaptation to the inevitable impacts of climate change;
  • Strengthen capacities and resources at community levels for mitigation and adaptation;
  • Develop radical new low-cost solutions;
  • Reorient economies onto a sustainable path;
  • Mobilise essential financial resources through private and public sector investment and government stewardship that eases regulatory conditions to promote sustainable alternatives.
The Statement says: “To avert the threats of climate change, we must address its underlying causes, which lie in the unsustainable model of consumption-driven, fossil fuel-based economic growth followed by industrialized States, and more recently adopted by emerging economies.”
Martin Lees, Rector Emeritus of the UN University for Peace and a lead writer of the Statement, said the document is crucial because not only does it look at the science behind global warming, but it tackles the drivers of the climate crisis – including the failing path of fossil fuel based growth driven by ever increasing demand for unsustainable material consumption.
“If left uncorrected, the intensifying impacts of climate change will undermine the foundations of our economies and societies and will compromise the prospects for security and peace and the opportunities of future generations,” Mr Lees said.
“Leaders must now recognize that concerted action to confront the realities of climate change cannot be further delayed. It is imperative that we urgently change the trajectory of human progress towards the resource-efficient, low-carbon economies of the future.”
Further information:
Paul Garwood
Brazil mob:  +55 2182066955; Swiss mob: +41797760454;
Skype: paul.garwood
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