Ghost of climate change haunts Rio

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Trust deficit between rich and poor nations, a legacy of failed climate negotiations, has led to paralysis of ambition. The distance between Flamengo Park and Rio Centro is as huge as the difference in thinking and expectations between civil society groups and governments. Flamengo Park is where the Peoples’ Summit is being held and Rio Centro is where the official negotiations on the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development is taking place. At the Peoples’ Summit, thousands of activists, community groups and NGO representatives are discussing, debating and demanding a new future for the world: an environmentally sustainable future without poverty, discrimination and deprivation. At Rio Centro, however, governments have already finalised the final conference text, titled 'The future we want’, which reads more like a high school lesson in sustainable development than an action plan for a new sustainable development paradigm. Unlike the 1992 Rio conference, no new convention is being signed or new paradigm articulated.

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