Fossil deja vu as Aussies abandon their neighbors on loss and damage

   
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

The First Place Fossil goes to – again - Australia. Withdrawing from climate action and finance for developing countries is already like a slap in the face of those suffering from the impacts of climate change. Simply expressing solidarity with the Philippines, as they did on Wednesday in the loss and damage negotiations, is not sufficient to repair the damage Australia caused.

Even worse, in the same negotiations, Australia gave a gold star performance in obtrusiveness.  Their first point was to attach conditions and list the things Australia would not broach talking about. This included objecting to rehabilitation funds – even though this is an area of work already agreed to last year.  Then Australia objected to provisions of insurance in the Convention process – even though insurance is even mentioned in the Convention. They insisted that the work programme on loss and damage should be ended when institutional arrangements are agreed, although many Parties have highlighted the usefulness of past work programme activities in their submissions, and a substantial discussion on the future activities has yet to happen.

Happily in contrast to Australia – the majority of other countries showed a constructive spirit. However, Japan gets a dishonorable mention for supporting Australia's obstructive and belligerent stance.

                                                       
                                                       Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

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AUSTRALIAN CARBON PRICE REPEAL DRAGS COUNTRY BACK TO THE FOSSIL ERA


Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

It has been millennia since the rumble of dinosaurs has been heard, but now in 2013 at COP19 to the UNFCCC we find ourselves among prehistoric fossils once more. 

Overnight, the Australian government tabled legislation to repeal effective climate policy. Instead they hope to bring in an almost Orwellian-named “direct action plan” which they claim will meet their paltry 5% reduction target. Though if it doesn’t, which most leading economists agree it will not, further funding or even a Plan B are low on the list of the new government’s priorities.

As well as repealing the carbon price (hence hurling Australia back into the abyss of time, as opposed to the more than 40 countries, states and provinces who have moved into the modern times with a carbon price), in equally grim news, the bills will also strip $435 million in funding from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and remove $10 billion of investment in clean energy. This comes amongst uncertainty around Australia’s 2020 targets, with a lack of clarity on whether the new policy regime will meet 5% and a review of a review of a possible review to take place in 2015 as to any further commitments.

In an extra outrageous statement the Prime Minister Tony Abbott opened the new parliament with the bold claim to the Australian people that “as far as the government is concerned, the adults are back in charge.”  All of this earns Australia today’s first place Fossil of the Day award.

For the people who might not know this country, let’s us describe it a bit. This country has increased its carbon emissions 124% from 1990 levels. In the past few years, this country is recording the largest relative increase in annual carbon emissions. If you still don’t know what country this is, here is an other clue: this country is the 4th biggest coal investor in the world. If you still cannot figure it out, this is an Annex 1 country without any pledges. Also, this country has recently issued an exemption to all state owned electricity production companies on all environmental permits and legally binding environmental investments until 2021.

38% of this country’s electricity production comes from state owned plants. Have you guessed yet? Today’s second place Fossil goes to Turkey.

It seems that previous fossils were not enough for Turkey to take its responsibility so we're hearing rumours like the country has closed down their Interministrial Climate Change Coordination Council as well as they dismantling other institutions that have to work on climate change. But the last thing we saw from participant list was unbelievable. Turkey didn't bring one single person from the Ministry of Environment, even from Climate Change Department. We don't want to believe that Turkey came to UNFCCC for a tour of Warsaw’s sights. We also don't want to believe that Turkey is here with Ministry of Energy to participate to Coal & Climate Summit. We're giving this fossil to Turkey for their love of coal and dismantling climate policies and institutions but we also want you to know that you still have a chance to be loved. Now be responsible and take your pledge!

What is worse than appalling action on climate change? Having an appalling record on climate change AND congratulating others for their appalling climate policies. With Australia taking steps to dismantle its climate protection program and its carbon price, the Canadian government jumped at the opportunity to take Question Period talking points to the international stage. Canada’s rejection of carbon pricing in favour of an ineffective regulatory approach has been demonstrated to be the wrong way to actually get emissions down – with the government’s own estimate putting their projected 2020 emissions 20% above their Copenhagen target. We shake our heads in disbelief that a government publicly congratulates others on moving backward and dodging their responsibility on climate change while people are dying from climate impacts. That’s why we award Canada the Fossil of Disbelief today.

Let’s Count the Ways the Polish Government Earned The Fossil of the Day, while the Polish People Deserve Only Rays

      
Photo Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

The list of reasons to award Poland as the first place fossil is probably the longest any country has ever earned. 

Reason 1: Continuously opposing the European Union from taking more ambitious climate action

Reason 2: Co-hosting a Coal Summit coinciding with the COP but not organizing any debate on renewable energy opportunities

Reason 3: Inviting polluting companies that openly oppose an ambitious climate action to sponsor the COP

Reason 4: Allowing the dirty side of European industry, Business Europe, to represent the business voice at the pre-COP

Reason 5: Writing mad postings on the official COP19 website about the economic opportunities the melting Arctic will bring as well as chasing the “pirates, ecologists and terrorists” on the sea

Reason 6: Presenting delegates with standard climate denialist rhetoric through their mobile device app, repeating the old chestnut that “climate changes are natural phenomena, which occured (sic) many times on Earth”.

Poland, it is not ok to misuse your position as a COP President to advance your own coal agenda. Stop it.

Ray of the Day for the Renewable Energy Loving Polish People

The Polish government is holding the world back and acting as the PR department of the coal industry.

But the Polish people want to grasp a renewable future, not be stuck in a coal-based past. No less than 89% of Polish citizens want more energy to come from renewable sources and more than two-thirds of Polish people (70%) want an energy policy that gives support to renewables. 73% of Polish people want Poland to be more involved in global actions to prevent the negative effects of climate change. 

With this ray we say: Thank you, Poles, for supporting a future without climate chaos. It is about time that Prime Minister Tusk and his government listen to their people and go for an energy revolution based on energy efficiency and renewables. All renewable power to the Polish people.

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 850 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. 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), 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.

About the rays: CAN, gives out the 'Ray of The Day' award to the countries who are a ray of hope over the past days of negotiations at the UN climate change conference. This ‘Ray of Solidarity’ is in the same spirit.

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