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EU wants tangible outcome at Rio climate conference
by Staff Writers
Brasilia (AFP) Feb 28, 2012

World leaders who will attend the upcoming Rio conference on sustainable development must come up with a tangible compromise leading to a greener economy, visiting EU climate commissioner Connie Hedegaard said Tuesday.

"It is extremely important at this point in history that Rio delivers a tangible outcome, something that citizens can relate to," she noted, stressing the need for "a paradigm shift, into a more green economy, into more green growth".

The EU official was here for talks with Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota and Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira.

The Rio+20 summit scheduled for June, the fourth major summit on sustainable development since 1972, is to take up a broad range of issues on the health of the world, including growth, food security, access to water, lifestyles, energy, biodiversity and climate.

Hedegaard hailed some of the points contained in the first official conference draft released mid-January, such as "sustainable development goals" that commit countries to meeting targets in food security, access to water, green jobs and even "sustainable production and consumption models."

These goals would complement the poverty-reduction Millennium Development Goals set by 192 countries in 2000.

"In Europe we think it is very important to have the sustainable development goals. Or at least take a decision in Rio that we should have these," Hedegaard said.

She suggested that one of the goals at the Rio conference should be universal access to renewable energy in 2030.

"If the political will is there, we can do tangible things. There are very specific things we can do," she added.

The EU also believes the summit should tackle the issue of the price polluters must pay.

"We must internationally get the pricing right. The way we measure GDP today... we must take care that there is a price attached to harming the common environment," Hedegaard said. "One place to start would be to phase out fossil fuel subsidies."

Brazilian Environment Minister Izabella Teixeira said late last month that the June summit must have high-level representation, comparable to that at the Rio Earth Summit, which drew more than 100 heads of state or government 20 years ago.

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