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In June 2012, more than 150 presidents and prime ministers and thousands of other top leaders are expected to come to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. The gathering will mark the 20th anniversary of the first historic Rio Earth Summit where governments pledged to take actions to protect the planet while addressing poverty and equity. Yet a generation later, the pressures on the planet continue to grow as do human numbers and needs.

The UN Secretary General has warned that we are running out of time. We do not need any more ineffective treaties and abstract plans of action. The NRDC has challenged the UN instead to make the Rio+20 Earth Summit different, indeed transformative. We want our leaders to come to ready to take action to speed the transition to a low-carbon green economy.

You can join NRDC in the Race-to-Rio as preparations for the June gathering become even more intense. Explore here and check back frequently for updates on how we can work together to assure that Rio+20 Earth Summit marks a real start towards a world we are proud to pass along to the next generation.

NRDC's Priorities: What We're Advocating for at the Earth Summit

environmental solutions

Actions and Accountability

Countries, corporations and communities must come to Rio to promise specific actions now to meet sustainability goals. The UN should deploy state-of-the-art information technology to enable citizens worldwide to ensure these promises are kept. We see these actions recorded on a "cloud of commitments as the major output of Rio+20.

Click here to view a mockup of a proposed web-based Global Registry that NRDC presented at the UN.

Clean Energy and Global Warming

Perverse subsidies, short-sighted investments and weak policies are driving global warming, putting toxics in our air and water, and locking the world into an unsustainable path. It's time for governments to wake up, and:

  • Phase out regressive and environmentally-harmful fossil fuel subsidies, such as those to the oil and gas industry.
  • Scale up renewable electricity.
  • Deploy energy efficiency, such as phasing out inefficient light-bulbs.
  • Phase down HFCs (a "super greenhouse gas").
healthy oceans


Our oceans have limits. We're destroying the largest biodiversity reserves on the planet through pollution, overfishing and over-exploitation of our natural resources. Governments must take action to:

  • Protect the high seas.
  • Curb ocean acidification.
  • Stop plastic pollution.
renewable energy green jobs

Green Economy and Jobs

Reducing pollution, increasing efficiency and deploying clean energy can be valuable job creators, especially for the next generation of workers. At the Rio+20 Earth Summit, governments and corporations must:

  • Integrate environmental costs into national and corporate accounts.
  • Increase support for environmentally sustainable jobs training and education programs.

Get Involved in Rio+20

In order to put us on a more sustainable path, we need action from every country.

Our Team

Jacob Scherr
Jacob Scherr
Director, Global Strategy & Advocacy
Jake Schmidt
Jake Schmidt
International Climate Policy Director
Lisa Speer
Lisa Speer
Director, International Oceans Program
Michael Davidson
US-China Climate Policy Coordinator
Anjali Jaiswal
Anjali Jaiswal
Staff Attorney, India Initiative
Leila Monroe
Leila Monroe
Staff Attorney, Oceans Program
Carolina Herrera
Carolina Herrera
Latin America Advocate

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