Photo Credit: IISD
Canada receives the 3rd place Fossil for a spectacular, year-long effort to regain its title of ‘colossal fossil’ as the country making the least constructive contribution to the negotiations.
In January, Canada backed off of a weak target to adopt an even weaker one, as part of the government’s plan to outsource climate policy to the United States. Canada’s plan to meet that target is, to put it nicely, still being written. And the guy they’ve just put in charge as Environment Minister is John Baird; COP veterans might remember him as the solo holdout against science-based targets for developed countries at the end of Bali.
Canada also receives the 2nd place Fossil. We’ve already heard that Canada doesn’t have a plan to cut emissions. What it does have is a plan to cut a lot of other things, such as:
- the only major federal support program for renewable energy
- a program funding energy efficiency upgrades for homeowners
- funding for Canada’s climate science foundation
- climate change off of the G8 and G20 agendas when Canada played host this summer, and last but not least...
- clean fuels policies in other countries. Internal government documents released today reveal that Canada worked to “kill” a US federal clean fuels policy to protect its tar sands, working with allies like the Bush administration and Exxon.
With friends like that, who needs clean energy?
Finally, Canada wins the 1st place Fossil. Some might think the US Senate wasn’t too helpful on climate change. But today’s Fossil winner has a Senate that makes the US look good, and not just because these Senators aren’t elected. In this country, Conservative Senators killed a progressive climate change bill without even bothering to debate it, something that hasn’t happened for at least 70 years. This leaves their country without a science-based target or any domestic transparency program for the 2020 target the government has brought to these talks. Where can we find that fossil-worthy Senate? In a shocking twist, it’s Canada again!
So Canada is starting off with a substantial lead, taking three prizes today. Killing progressive legislation, cancelling support for clean energy and failing to have any plan to meet its target all position Canada well for another two weeks of ignominy here in Cancun.
About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org <http://www.climatenetwork.org/>
About the fossils: The Fossil of the Day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999 in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum. During United Nations climate change negotiations (www.unfccc.int <http://www.unfccc.int/> ), members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), vote for countries judged to have done their 'best' to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.
COP 16 will be the seventh Conference of the Parties since the Kyoto Protocol entered into force in February 2005. That’s a lot of talking. And the physical layout of these meetings means there is also a great deal of walking.
But, lack of progress in the negotiations shows that so far not enough governments are ‘Walking the Talk’.
To highlight this disconnect, Greenpeace is hosting More Walk, Less Talk, a competition to find the person – and the country – that covers the most ground in Cancun. And there will be fabulous prizes!
As we all know, walking is very good for us – among its many benefits it is credited with improving circulation, bolstering the immune system, and helping keep us in shape.
It is also, of course, good for the climate.
So, the race to the future starts now. Grab your step-counter . . . reset . . . and go!
Get your pedometer from the Greenpeace booth or Greenpeace representatives around the Moon Palace. Register at morewalklesstalk.org. Winners will be announced on December 10th.
And by the way – did we mention the fabulous prizes?
In the lead-up to Copenhagen and since, climate finance ranked has ranked higher and higher on the list of make-or-break issues. It’s both vitally important and politically challenging. As COP16 kicks off, however, there are worrying signs that negotiators may be taking their eye off the ball and sleepwalking toward a result that does little to resolve the inadequacies of existing institutional arrangements.
To be sure, there is good news also. Over the course of 2010, talks on a new global climate fund have been productive – and now there are proposals and options on the table to provide for its establishment here in Cancun, with details to be worked out in time for COP17. But the establishment of the Fund and related climate finance decisions are far from a done deal. Many of the emerging ‘areas of convergence’ on the table may not deliver the fair, legitimate and effective climate fund that’s really needed.
For example, many Parties appear ready to accept equal representation between Annex I and non-Annex I on the Fund Board. Because there are roughly three times as many developing countries, this means that each developing country will have one-third the voice in the Fund’s governance. This notion of ‘equal representation’ is a big step backward from the precedent established by the Adaptation Fund, which additionally has two seats from each of the UN regional groups plus one each for LDCs and SIDS. It’s hard to see how, in the end, this would deliver arrangements that are any different from the GEF. Is this the “balanced’ guarantee of interests needed for all UNFCCC members?
Secondly, none of the textual proposals tabled so far guarantee any balance between adaptation and mitigation funding – something most countries agree in principle even though it has not been delivered in practice to date.
Adaptation currently receives scarcely 10% of the overall climate finance portfolio. Unless Parties agree a dedicated adaptation window in the new Fund with at least 50% of the monies channelled to it, we can only assume the current trend will continue. Is this what Parties really mean by ‘balance’?
Third, textual proposals for guidelines to ensure that the most vulnerable communities, especially women in rural areas, will ultimately benefit aren’t difficult to improve – only because right now there aren’t any such proposals. But this is easy to address with a few lines of text and it’s hard to imagine any country opposing it. Who is against guarantees that gender equity will receive particular attention in adaptation support?
Finally, everyone knows building another near-empty fund is pointless. Several options to deliver predictable sources of innovative financing – such as a levy on international shipping and aviation as part of an emissions reduction scheme – were presented by the UN Secretary General’s High-level Advisory Group on Climate Finance less than a month ago.
In fact, it’s clear from the AGF Report that raising $100 billion or more in public finance is possible. But unless Parties work in concert to map out options for putting such proposals into practice, a decision to establish a new Fund could deliver an empty shell. Is this what Parties had in mind in Bali when they agreed to ‘improve access to adequate, predictable and sustainable financial resources’?
The decisions taken here in Cancun may not result in the FAB deal that is increasingly overdue. But they will have profound, long-standing implications for the institutional architecture of the future international climate regime.
A fair climate fund is definitely within reach, and ECO calls on all Parties to stand up for it.