Tarnished: Dirty Oil Smears Canada's Reputation

Canada’s environment minister, Peter Kent, arrived in Doha yesterday under the long shadow of the tar sands. 

Since Durban, his government has been working hard to dismantle Canada’s environmental protection laws to speed up resource extraction, an initiative that government has been promoting under the Orwellian slogan of “responsible resource development.”
 
ECO has warned over and over again about the creeping influence of Canada’s massive deposit of carbon intensive “unconventional oil”. Larger in geographic extent than the entire nation of Qatar, and generating more emissions than all of New Zealand, the tar sands have been called the planet’s largest “carbon bomb”. 
 
Projections from Minister Kent’s own department show that the growth in tar sands emissions by 2020 (73 Mt) will virtually cancel out all other emission reductions in Canada’s economy (75 Mt). And yet Ottawa has done nothing to curb the sector’s exploding GHG pollution.
 
Quite the opposite -- government documents suggest that Canada has taken international climate policies to some of the largest tar sands corporations in Canada for vetting. 
 
Great news for Canada’s Fossil trophy case: the CEOs love what they called Canada’s “elegant” approach.  So now, a new report by the Canadian Youth Delegation, Commitment Issues, digs into the tar sands’ expansion blueprint, documenting the sector’s plans to blow past the production levels outlined in the IEA’s 450 scenario.  Looking at how Canadian government is attached to its dirty oil, it's no surprise that current subsidies to the fossil fuel industry surpass those for climate finance by a ratio of 7 to 1.
 
Right now, Canada’s “drill baby drill” approach for tar sands is smearing the country’s reputation, keeping its climate policy hostage in the process. He supposedly wants to show the world that climate change does matter to his government.  To do so, Environment Minister Peter Kent needs to start by unveiling some real “tough on tar” policies this week in Doha.
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Dear Canada

Do you remember last year? We do. ECO desperately hoped the hallway rumours of a Kyoto withdrawal weren’t true, but the second your Minister left the fine city of Durban, he confirmed your reckless abandonment of the only legally binding climate treaty we have. Little birds from around the world are telling ECO that this promise-breaking probably has something to do with those vast pits of tar sands you are so hooked on, the same ones that are undermining all of your domestic climate goals.

ECO knows you are still technically allowed in the Kyoto room, but please don’t touch that microphone. When you jumped ship on the first KP term as it hit the home stretch, you drowned what little credibility you had left. As a matter of principle you should sit silently in the back like the bad kid in the class who has been told to be quiet until they learn how to behave. There are well-intentioned Parties in the room that are trying to move forward to solve the climate crisis, so please just back off.
 
You don’t want Kyoto and we suspect, as a result, it doesn’t want you. 
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Civil Society Awards Fossil To Rich Countries Who Shun Kyoto Commitment

 

The First Place Fossil is awarded to USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and New Zealand for running away from a legally binding, multilateral rules based regime.  To the USA – seriously, get over your exceptionalism and agree to common accounting rules already.  Canada you are exceptional in ways we cannot communicate diplomatically during a fossil presentation, but it is not good - withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol is completely unacceptable and your target is an insult to the most vulnerable.  As for Japan, Russia and New Zealand - you still have a chance to support the only legally binding regime and commit to ambitious targets for the second commitment period (and that means no AAU carry over, Russia).  We are looking to hearing from you by the end of the week, because really, do we want to be lumped into this low-ambition group?

The Second Place Fossil is awarded to New Zealand. Unlike its neighbor to the west, New Zealand decided not to put its target into the second commitment period, citing spurious grounds when the reality is that it is just a massive display of irresponsibility.  It's island partners in the Pacific should think again before ever trusting NZ again.

The Ray of the Day goes to the EU for having already reached their pledged 2020 target almost 10 years ahead of time!(1). They really are the fastest under-achievers in the KP! But wait!? The EU has told us that they are not planning to increase their 2020 emissions pledge from the already achieved 20%. How outrageous! Is the EU really planning to go for the next 10 years without doing ANY further emissions reductions? EU you will need to quickly increase your target or the clouds will appear and it will start raining fossils on your negotiating table.

    

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Brazil Takes 1st Place; Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, EU, Canada US, & More 2nd

It was a full day for fossils Sunday at the Rio+20 negotiations. Brazil earned the First Place Fossil for a frightening new draft text. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela took Second Place for trying to save fossil fuel subsidies. The European Union, United States, and other developed countries earned another Second Place Fossil for bringing empty pockets to plans in need of financing. The Fossils as presented read:

“Brazil earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday Brazil took over as host country of the negotiations for the Rio+20 summit and presented its new draft of the negotiating text. With great power comes great responsibility. The world is watching how Brazil performs in its task of steering negotiators towards agreement on ambitious, concrete outcomes. Outcomes that will get the world on the path to sustainable development and ensuring all members of this and future generations access to quality food, clean water and renewable energy, as well as a healthy, liveable planet, a stable climate and a vibrant prosperous economy. The outcome also need to find new sources of financing and ways to mobilize the technologies to achieve these goals.
 
Unfortunately the text yesterday shows no signs of movement in this direction. It appears that Brazil is missing the chance be a force for raising ambition and living up to the hopes and trust that the world has placed on its shoulders, and will be content with using its growing political clout and indisputable diplomatic capacities only to find clever compromises and get agreement on a watered-down document devoid of clear commitments and actions. Furthermore it seems that the Brazilian government are more focused on closing text, even though it is slashing the ambition, rather than ensuring the outcome we need. Of course Brazil can’t single-handedly turn this process around, and it needs bold and ambition proposals from other countries and a willingness from all countries to get this process on track to creating the world we really do want.”
 
“The United States, European Union, Canada, and other developed countries earned the Second Place Fossil. US, Canada, EU and other developed countries, turned up in Rio with not a Euro cent or Dime, and now that we see all references to finance and technology commitments deleted from the Rio negotiating text it’s clear that developed countries are intending to run away from the Rio principles signed 20 years
ago, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibility. Rich, industrialised countries need to step up and provide the predictable and adequate support that allows developing countries to pursue truly sustainable development.”
 
“Saudi Arabia and Venezuela also earn a Second Place Fossil. During closed door negotiations Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have consistently blocked progress on ending fossil fuel subsidies. Despite an honest effort by Brazil to bridge the divide, these two countries remain the biggest obstacle to stopping our governments handing taxpayers' money directly to the dirty energy industries. Why aren't these billions being spent on access to clean energy for the billions without? The oil industry' slippery tentacles are strangling sustainable development and driving us closer towards a climate catastrophe, with our governments in on the act. By refusing to end these dirty handouts, we give Saudi Arabia and Venezuela the second place fossil, hopefully we won’t see them on the podium again.”

 

CANADA COMES OUT OF FOSSIL RETIREMENT TO TAKE HOME A SURPRISE SECOND RIO FOSSIL - RECOGNIZED FOR GUTTING THE TEXT IN RIO AND ROLLING BACK ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATIONS AT HOME

Canada was awarded the second ever Rio Fossil of the Day today in a surprise move that brought them out of Fossil of the Day retirement with a real bang. The combined impact of their moves to delete and undermine many key pieces of the Rio texts, while pushing through a budget bill that guts environmental and climate policies at home, has earned them a top spot once again.

Today’s Rio Fossil was chosen through a vote by representatives of hundreds of global NGOs and youth based on Canada’s opposition to funding for a Green Economy, their obstruction of key initiatives to protect oceans and sustainable fisheries, their constant watering down of strong commitments on the phase out of Fossil Fuel Subsidies, and their request to remove the recognition of Common But Differentiated Responsibility in the Rio text.
 
The Fossil presentation text read as follows:
 
This evening’s recipient of the Rio Fossil may come as a surprise to some of you. That’s because at the UNFCCC negotiations in Durban last December, the international community gave Canada a lifetime achievement award, vowing never again to waste a fossil on a country that has made itself irrelevant when it comes to combating climate change.
 
But just when we think Canada has hit the bottom of the barrel, they always seem to find more bitumen – so to speak – moving from conventional forms of obstruction to dirtier, darker and more intensive forms. Yesterday Canadian negotiators continued weakening the language around fossil fuel subsidies along with oceans and fisheries, coming out in favour of continuing billions in handouts to big polluters and against protecting the high seas, the low seas, and any other seas. They also hit the delete button on green economy funding and stayed true to form calling for removal the principle of common but differentiated responsibility…sorry – what they consider to be “guilt payments” to the global south…Not content just being a perpetual thorn in the side of progress here in Rio, the Government surprised us all by flipping the proverbial bird to nature. They turned back the clock on decades of environmental regulations, protections, review processes, most things related to protecting the climate, and generally anything green and or nature-related by pushing through a 400 page budget bill that guts Canada’s environmental review and regulatory processes.
 
For coming out of retirement with a bigger bang than any of us could have imagined, CANADA this FOSSIL is truly for you…you have earned it!!
 
The Rio Fossil was presented at a mock award ceremony at the RioCentro space where Canada “cut out”
environmental protections. This Fossil of the Day is another in a long history of Fossil Awards for Canada, the all-time champion who has taken home more fossils at United Nations climate talks than any other nation.
 
“At home and here in Rio, Canada has really earned this Fossil award for undermining a just and sustainable future,” said Amara Possian, a young woman from Canada who accepted the award. “Canada had to go pretty far to get back on this list, and they’ve managed to do it by fighting against the bare minimum of commitments, like ending $1.4 billion in handouts to the fossil fuel industry.”
 
The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries
who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy.
 
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