<p>Despite some criticisms that the results of Rio were "a failure of leadership" and "insipid," the summit did manage to secure some financial commitments to sustainability goals and new approaches to measuring sustainability and economic progress. United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon announced last week that more than 50 governments have committed to new energy strategies while private investors have pledged $50 billion toward a goal of doubling the share of renewable energy and the rate of efficiency by 2030.
<p>European's conservation values vary greatly by region, according to a study supported by the European Commission. The study investigated whether members of the public valued conservation priorities similarly by conducting 1,502 interviews asking how much people were willing to pay to conserve different species. Researchers chose three coastal locations in Portugal, the United Kingdom, and Poland to carry out their survey, and found significant differences in the way people valued mammals, fish, birds, algae, and invertebrates.
<p>The death toll of environmental activists has almost doubled in the last three years, according to a new report by Global Witness, and almost one activist per week was killed in 2011. The organization released the report in Rio last week, calling on leaders to better monitor and counter rising violence by reducing the pressures that drive development in remote areas. "This trend points to the increasingly fierce global battle for resources, and represents the sharpest of wake-up calls for delegates in Rio," said a campaigner at Global Witness.
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