Gorbachev warns Rio+20 against ‘backsliding’ on climate change

World governments have been accused of 'backsliding' on climate change by the highly influential Climate Change Task Force (CCTF) who also said that the final document from this week's Rio+20 meeting will be meaningless.

These words, spoken on behalf of CCTF by former Soviet President Mickhail Gorbachev, are described as a landmark call on world governments to take urgent action and make serious political commitments to combat climate change. 

“I am very concerned and worried because the draft final document of Rio+20 does not give proper attention to climate change,” said President Gorbachev. “It looks like there is backsliding on climate change. That worries me because without addressing climate change, all of the other problems and tasks that will be set by the final Rio+20 document will not be accomplished and will become meaningless.” 

CCTF consists of scientists, economists, former heads of state, Nobel Prize laureates, climate specialists and sustainable development experts. Today’s so-called ‘First Statement on Action to Face the Urgent Realities of Climate Change’ was endorsed by 30 leading global figures. 

“It is a misconception to think that limiting global temperature rises to 2 degrees will keep us safe,” they said. “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.” 

The Statement also listed seven points of required climate change action: 
– 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; and 
– Mobilise essential financial resources through private and public sector investment and government stewardship that eases regulatory conditions to promote sustainable alternatives.

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