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Is green growth possible?

Economic growth or ecology? Or both? Some argue “green growth” can solve global environmental problems and unemployment. But others dismiss it as a dream saying growth is impossible without depleting natural resources.

Can new technologies stop the exploitation of raw materials and create jobs at the same time? Or hasn’t technological progress always been aimed at increased spending? (Cars today are more fuel efficient but the average trip by car has become longer).

Is it possible to achieve progress?

Twenty years after the Earth Summit at Rio de Janeiro, the international community met in Brazil’s second largest city for the Rio+20 summit from June 20 to 22. 

The conference aimed to find the most concrete accord possible on ways in which the global economy can continue to grow at the same time as protecting the environment.

  

The big result: the Rio resolution marked the introduction of a “green economy” – defined as creating “well-being” and jobs without damaging the ecosystems – on the global policy agenda and identified it as a “key tool” for living sustainably.

Apart from that the final accord reaffirms many of the goals of the 1992 summit. The word “reaffirm” is used 59 times in the 49-page document entitled “The Future We Want.” They reaffirm the need to achieve sustainable development (but not mandating how); reaffirm
commitment to strengthening international cooperation (just not right now); and reaffirm the need to achieve economic stability (with no new funding for the poorest nations).
 
Some of the biggest issues activists wanted to see in the document that didn’t make it in included a call to end subsidies for fossil fuels, language underscoring the reproductive rights of women, and some words on how nations might mutually agree to protect the high seas, areas that fall outside any national jurisdictions. 

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“The spirit of Rio risks being lost”

This content was published on At the time this was the largest political conference ever. Twenty years later, international heads of state are returning to the Brazilian city to renew political commitment for sustainable development. In the run-up to the Rio+20 conference, being held from June 20-22, swissinfo.ch looked back at 1992 with Philippe Roch, the former head of the…

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Growth and sustainability seek common ground

This content was published on Humanity’s challenge of managing the earth’s limited natural resources requires new and efficient modes of production, and the green economy, which is now on the international agenda, could be a solution. Whether the Rio summit will take this new kind of economy to its heart remains questionable though, as preparatory meetings have shown stakeholders do…

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Rio+20: Big powers need to step up

This content was published on Small countries such as Switzerland cannot make a significant difference, Leuthard said in her plenary speech on Thursday in Rio de Janeiro. If major countries do not participate or make only vague commitments, then other actors will be unwilling to act, pointed out Leuthard. She said that action was essential in view of the growing…

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Swiss-funded school doubles as cyclone shelter

This content was published on A clump of aquatic vegetation is wound around the propeller. The motor, designed for a tractor, sputters. Three feeble revs are followed by silence. The pleasant rustling of the leaves in the wind can be heard. In the palm trees on the riverbank, a small bird begins to sing. Then another crank, and the motor…

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SWI swissinfo.ch - a branch of Swiss Broadcasting Corporation SRG SSR