By Julia Day, STEPS Centre Communications Manager

“The Prime Minister should promise to attend next year’s Rio + 20 Earth Summit to show leadership on sustainability and strengthen global political will to tackle the environmental crisis,” say MPs on the Uk parliament’s Commons Environmental Audit Committee in a report published today.

The report warns that the planet’s environmental problems are now much more urgent than at the first Rio Summit in 1992. Safe limits on the amount of waste, pollution and biodiversity loss that natural systems can tolerate continue to be breached – undermining our ability to use natural resources to support further growth.

Speaking on the publication of the report, Joan Walley MP, Chair of the Environmental Audit Committee, said: “The Rio+20 Earth Summit is a vital chance for world leaders to take action to avert a global environmental crisis. But the financial situation means minds will be focused elsewhere and there is a danger that business-as-usual may end up carrying the day.

The Prime Minister should lead by example. He could make a big difference by demonstrating his commitment to Rio + 20 and letting other world leaders know that he will personally be attending. Lasting prosperity can only be built on a healthy planet.”

The STEPS Centre works on many of the issues being discussed in Rio next summer and we are embarking on a series of activites and engagements in the run up to the event.

While it looks like David Cameron will not attend, we hope  a strong consensus emerges from Rio+20 that provides a global framework supporting different forms of innovation to address sustainable development challenges at local, national and global levels.

Crucially, we would like to see the interlinked global challenges of poverty reduction, social justice and environmental sustainability take centre-stage in discussions, rather than economic imperatives alone.