Rio+20 Countdown: The Best Sources for Information About Rio+20

This is Part 13 of a series of blog posts leading up to the Rio+20 Sustainable Development Conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil on June 20-22.  The full series is available here.


The Rio+20 Conference is quickly approaching and to help anyone that wants to know more, I’ve compiled some Best Sources for information about the issues, ideas, negotiations, debates, etc.  In addition, there is a ‘Worst Source’ at the bottom that should be avoided at all costs.

The Guardian

By far the best news or multi-author blog site for information about Rio+20 has been The Guardian‘s Environment Page.  They have produced a number of different articles, some sponsored, about Rio+20 available under that heading.  The Guardian Rio+20 Coverage is outstanding, smart, written by connected people and as such can give you a great view of the context behind the debates.

Earth Negotiations Bulletin

If you want to get a behind the scenes look at the negotiations, the best source is undoubtedly the Earth Negotiations Bulletin.  They cover all formal negotiations and get the closest to any informal negotiations or talks that happen and do so in a highly professional manner.  The Rio+20 Archives Page is available here.  There is a little bit of a delay in presentation, so if you really want to know what is happening in close to real time, sign up for the email updates.

Huffington Post

If your interest is in collecting what issue-focused nongovernmental organizations and scientists think about Rio+20, Huffington Post, Environment is where they turn to write about issues from those perspectives.  So, for example, Leila Monroe, an Ocean issues Attorney for Natural Resources Defense Council, writes an excellent piece about what Ocean progress might result from Rio+20.  As a central site for collecting all these different opinions, Huffington Post offers unique analysis.

Jacob Scherr’s Blog

Speaking of the NRDC, Jacob Scherr’s blog is going to be a first stop for me throughout the next couple of days with the Rio+20 summit.  The Director of Global Strategy and Advocacy at NRDC, he has a blog that is simultaneously connected to the negotiations and to the environmental organizations outside of the negotiations.  So far, the discussion has been mostly advocacy and analysis of the issues behind the Rio+20 negotiations; I expect some excellent posts during and after the Convention.

RTCC Live Updates

Responding to Climate Change has a live blog about what is happening at Rio+20 Negotiations spearheaded by John Parnell.  It was the first place I heard about a couple of big issue progress.  It is a fantastic resource that is half-way between Twitter and Earth Negotiations Bulletin in terms of keeping you up to date, with context.  It will be bookmarked on my page for sure.

Sha Zukang’s Blog

Sha Zukang is the Secretary General of the Rio+20 Conference and as such has a lot on his plate.  However, if you want the official updates about the Conference, his blog is a good resource.  You will not find criticism or in-depth analysis here, and the blog has gone silent for a month now, but it has been a key staple of providing the official background in a timely and effective manner.

Alex Farrow’s Blog

Alex Farrow is a youth activist attending the Rio+20 conference and doing some outstanding updating and analysis on the issues.  You can follow him in a few places: His twitter, a blog on key issues, and his excellent analysis about Sustainable Development Goals.

World Resources Institute

WRI has a number of experts at Rio+20 who will be very active within the conference and online.  WRI always provides clear environmental positions and there articles so far on Rio+20 have been clear and articulate.  The archive of Rio+20 articles is available here.    Great site to visit for lots of updates about the happenings of Rio+20.

More Fun Sources

The links above are sometimes often dry reading and are good resources, but there are other sources that are much more fun reads (not necessarily any less sophisticated, just a little more fun).  TreeHugger of course has a lot of different blogging voices. Sustainable businesses always have highly interactive stuff; RioPlus is promising live coverage of the Conference.  But let’s not forget the personal blogs either:  Katrin Muff’s 50+20 Blog is a fun read, personal+professional makes for an interesting read.  Two great blogs by the same author, an ex-pat in Brazil, are With Minds Wide Awake and Brazil! Pra Mim…  I like both because they are deliberately transnational in their focus.

Other Sites

Other good websites for information are contained in my Rio+20 Page.  The Conference Website itself may be useful.  I’ll keep my Rio+20 page updated with additional sources if I find something outstanding.


All of the sites above provide information important in understanding Rio+20:  Huffington Post aggregates a lot of different nongovernmental organization and activist perspectives,  Earth Negotiations Bulletin provides information about the actual negotiations, Etc.  I do not agree with everything said by bloggers at Huffington Post or the Guardian, for example, but I do find it useful to understanding all perspectives from people active in the issue.  There is one source that actively provides bad information and does not help anyone learn anything.  Fox News coverage of Rio+20 gets basic facts wrong (like the start date of the Conference), provides little unique information, and twists everything into a conspiracy.  George Russel, the main Fox News writer on the subject, adds editorial comments throughout the articles making each piece a mess of anti-UN conspiracy theory mixed with vague quotations (labeled as “exclusive”) that reiterate what a dozen other news organizations have reported days earlier.  I know there are partisan issues in the U.S. context that make this source a touchy subject; my criteria was simply whether it provides decent information to help all of us become more informed.  If they start doing good reporting, I’ll update this post.  But with that in mind, if you actually want any good information about the Rio+20 Conference avoid this source entirely.


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