We're Utterly Failing Our Environmental Pledges Made 20 Years Ago in Rio, Scientists Report

Mark Wallace/CC BY 2.0

Underscoring the sobering words of the groups such as the Zoological Society of London and author-activists such as George Monbiot, that we're collectively rushing down a path towards ecological collapse, global eco-summits be damned, is a new piece in Nature (h/t Mongabay).

In it scientists grade nations and world leaders on how well we've lived up to the pledges and treaties signed at the 1992 Earth Summit. With few exceptions, we're failing, badly.

Under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, the main assignment being to stabilize greenhouse gas emissions, Nature gives us an F.

Other tasks taken on by the UNFCCC, things are bit better: Tracking greenhouse gas emissions and sinks gets an A, as does increasing climate research and the establishment of a diplomatic process to deal with climate change. Promoting sustainable land management and preparing for the impacts of climate change receive Cs. On promoting and dispersing climate-friendly technologies, we're getting a D.

Under the Convention on Biological Diversity, the main assignment is to reduce to the rate of biodiversity loss. We're failing here too.

The sub-assignments given to the CBD fare largely no better: Regulating genetically modified organisms gets an A (though I have to think the US and Canada fare far worse than the world as a whole). Protecting ecosystems, C; developing biodiversity targets, D; recognizing indigenous rights, D; providing funding to protect biodiversity, F.

The UN Convention to Combat Desertification, the main assignment being to reverse desertification and land degradation, also gets a failing grade.

There aren't too many other assignments given to the CCD, but on these too scant little progress has been made. Developing indicators to measure progress, D; providing funding for developing nations to preserve land, E (not 'excellent'); build corp of scientists to tackle this issue, F.

Keep in mind, we've had twenty years to make progress on all these issues. We've had twenty years, but with few exceptions all that we've done is talk about doing something, sometime, somewhere.

Read more, Nature goes into far more detail on the progress made, or lack thereof: Earth Summit: Rio Report Card

Tags: Biodiversity | Conservation | Global Climate Change | Rio+20

WHAT'S HOT ON FACEBOOK