There has been little mainstream medical interest in Rio 2012 despite the fact that improvements in world health outcomes are intimately related to the out comes.
The issues raised for discussion range from initiatives to reduce world subsidies for fossil fuels to fundamental causes of hunger and starvation due to climate change.
It is estimated that one trillion dollars pa are spent on fossil fuel subsidies reflecting the influence of the big polluters. Australia participates.
The number of undernourished women and young children could increase 20% and affect one of every five within a decade because of climate change’s impact on food production, according to an analysis by the World Health Organization and other groups. Today, one in seven, or 495 million women and children under age 5, lack sufficient food and adding population growth will worsen the problem.
The health issues are listed by WHO
On June 18th before the conference George Monbiot wrote “Rio 2012: it’s a make-or-break summit. Just like they told us at Rio 1992”
Worn down by hope. That’s the predicament of those who have sought to defend the earth’s living systems. Every time governments meet to discuss the environmental crisis, we are told that this is the “make or break summit”, on which the future of the world depends. The talks might have failed before, but this time the light of reason will descend upon the world.
We know it’s rubbish, but we allow our hopes to be raised, only to witness 190 nations arguing through the night over the use of the subjunctive in paragraph 286. We know that at the end of this process the UN secretary general, whose job obliges him to talk nonsense in an impressive number of languages, will explain that the unresolved issues (namely all of them) will be settled at next year’s summit. Yet still we hope for something better.
The reasons for failure are detailed by Monbiot, but are already obvious to all, and are displayed before us in the attitudes and performance of governments in Australia and those around the World.
To see Obama backtracking on the commitments made by Bush the elder 20 years ago is to see the extent to which a tiny group of ¬plutocrats has asserted its grip on policy.
Also prior to the Conference Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned scientists asked whether we have made any progress in the 20 years
It’s not a pretty picture: of 90 important environmental goals and objectives that were assessed, the report finds that ”significant progress” has only been made on four: eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment.” Some progress has been made on 40 of the goals, and little or no progress on 24 others, including climate change, fish stocks, and desertification and drought.
The provisional communicate for Rio 2012 strongly suggests another failure.
The world awaits a leader. Meanwhile hope must be vested in other avenues
Let us look at the actions of the 40 mega cities initiative (C40 Cities) of which Melbourne is one. Michael Bloomberg Mayor of New York is Chair. C40 are responsible for 14% of world emissions. This is one emerging reason for hope, we will develop others in the next few weeks
This article does not necessarily represent the views of DEA