Newsflash: Something Has Been Accomplished at Rio+20

Andrew C. Revkin delivers the good news out of Rio, where global leaders are gathered to argue incessantly over how not to address climate change. At a side event, $175 billion in loans have been pledged for sustainable transportation.
June 21, 2012, 11am PDT | Jonathan Nettler | @nettsj
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Despite pre-conference pessimism, something meaningful has been achieved the Rio+20 earth summit. OK, it didn't really come out of the conference itself, where "tussles over the language in the conference declaration" continue. But, Revkin reports on a substantial agreement announced at a side event. 

"Led by the Asian Development Bank, and nudged by the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy and other groups, the eight largest multilateral development banks have committed to lending $175 billion over the next 10 years for transportation projects that cut urban congestion and limit pollution and energy waste."

Why is this important? According to Michael Replogle, the founder of the transportation and development institute, as the world's cities grow by a billion people over the next 20 years, "Having banks that have focused principally on building massive new roads focusing more on public transit, safer walking and bicycling, pollution reduction and improved freight systems is a huge breakthrough." 

More importantly, "He [Replogle] said that these loans typically leverage 10 or 20 times more public and private investment, meaning this initiative could shift trillions of dollars from conventional road-building projects to more sustainable transportation alternatives."

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Published on Wednesday, June 20, 2012 in The New York Times
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