I acknowledge you would like it here in Rio, and encourage you to establish a plan to arriving here in the future! Such lovely weather, lush green mountains and blue seas. So glad to be here reaffirming the stresses all these things are under. Even more glad to be acknowledging the need to begin to save them sometime in the future.
When flash floods hit Wales earlier this month necessitating the evacuation of more than 1,000 people, my thoughts immediately returned to the people I met last month in Cagayan de Oro in the Philippines who had also been affected by flooding. I also reflected on the floods that hit my own constituency, Workington in 2009 and how it shook our community.
One of the themes of Rio+20 is 'green growth'. The first and most obvious question will be 'Can there be such a thing as green growth?' and for me the answer is an emphatic 'Yes' - as long as there is a paradigm shift in the way that governments, the private sector and consumers think about resources.
As I speak, the world's rainforests continue to be destroyed, wiping out so much of the world's vital biodiversity and removing our chances of storing carbon naturally; and we continue to ignore the painful lessons of the so-called 'Green Revolution' in India by intensifying our food production methods in such blinkered, chemically and technologically-based ways, that the land and the oceans are now both beginning to fail. Tragically, we cannot even plead ignorance of the consequences of our actions, for the scientific evidence is overwhelming and the impacts are well understood.