Colossal Fossil for Australia’s New Government

This year’s Colossal Fossil goes to Australia. The new Australian Government has won its first major international award – the Colossal Fossil. The delegation came here with legislation in its back pocket to repeal the carbon price, failed to take independent advice to increase its carbon pollution reduction target and has been blocking progress in the loss and damage negotiations. Aussie Aussie Aussie Oi Oi Oi!

Canada is dishonored with a special Lifetime Unachievement Fossil Award for its long-standing efforts preventing this process from making a sufficient contribution to the fight against climate change. As long as Canada and the Harper Government puts their addiction to the tar sands first, Canada will continue to be a Fossil champion.

Canada’s record is in indeed unsurpassed – it is the only country in the world to withdraw from the Kyoto Protocol. And it did not event meet its pitifully lowered emissions reduction target announced in the lead-up to the Copenhagen COP. Canada’s stance is also rubbing off on other countries at the negotiations. Following Canada’s Kyoto “lead,” Japan abandoned its own 2020 target, and when Australia proposed to cut its carbon price, Canada cheered instead of staging an intervention. Canada you truly are a climate laggard... again... and again.

Singapore slinks to first Fossil for stingy stance on 2015 deal

The first place Fossil of the Day goes to Singapore for strongly opposing the inclusion of the clear elements of a roadmap to the comprehensive global climate action planned that needs to be agreed in 2015. The island city-state is blocking the development of framework to fairly divide climate action between countries. Furthermore, Singapore is promoting weak language in the text on the post-2020 carbon pollution reduction commitments, preventing national actions being integrated in a rules-based multilateral system. Despite being a member of AOSIS, Singapore is blocking progress towards the 2015 deal because of their unwillingness accept they must contribute to the solution.

Second place Fossil goes to U.S.A. We have been hearing that the Americans came here with a mandate to play a constructive role in the negotiations, which is not currently being reflected. They are blocking progress on a Long Term Finance pathway as well as an agreement on the relationship between the COP and the Green Climate Fund (GCF), which are critical issues for developing countries. The U.S. is also being difficult around the establishment of an international mechanism on loss and damage, which was agreed at COP 18 last year. This is complete backtracking and a betrayal to the millions of poor and vulnerable people around the world.

Saudi Arabia wins the third place Fossil of the Day. Saudi Arabia wants to introduce the issue of “Response Measures” into the 2015 agreement. Response Measures is the about how countries like Saudi Arabia would be compensated for any loss in oil sales if the world decides to reduce the use of fossils fuels to solve climate change. It would be surprising to many to see Saudi Arabia asking governments for financial compensation when they have one the highest GDPs in the world for selling the substance that caused climate change in the first place. But Saudi Arabia is not interested in financial compensation. They just want to poison the negotiations. They are not fooling anybody.

Ray of the Day goes to Chile. The Alliance of Independent Latin American and Caribbean States (AILAC) has proven itself to be the gold standard in civil society engagement, moral integrity and simple logic by championing youth in the ADP and putting forward Intergenerational Equity. 

Plans to Axe Warsaw’s Only Fair Share Mention Gets Fossil for Five Countries, while Australia’s Schoolboy Antics Get a Fifth Gong


Credit: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

The first place fossil goes to India, Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, Malaysia, and China for proposing to delete the only reference to equity in the ADP text!  (And for the wonks, we mean paragraph 9 in the ADP text).  Equity is key to the 2015 agreement and Parties must leave Warsaw with a clear understanding of how the ex ante review will be conducted. This includes – at a minimum - details on submissions, expert workshops, and the development of a technical paper on a basket of indicators covering: adequacy, historical responsibility, capability, and development and adaptation need).  Details that are really hard to achieve if you just delete the whole paragraph.  We were shocked that with all the discussions here and in Bonn, equity did not yield more than a passing reference in the first version of the ADP text.  The next iteration must expand and not ‘streamline’ references to equity.  To these members of the Like-Minded Group, we urge you to engage in the development of an ex ante review, rather than hovering over the delete button.

The second place in today’s fossil goes to Australia, who along with some other developed countries is impeding progress towards setting up an international mechanism on loss and damage here in Warsaw, as proposed by G77 and China. Trying to keep out key text elements proposed by more than 130 developing countries (such as on non-economic losses and permanent losses), delaying negotiation progress through procedural manoeuvres, and lacking a clear commitment to strong support provisions in the decision text is highly concerning.  Australia is the leader of those lacking constructive spirit.
 
We call on the other developed countries to work seriously for the needs of the most vulnerable countries and help in establishing an effective international mechanism on loss and damage here in Warsaw.

Fresh Breeze from the Arab World

 

A milestone was passed today, when perhaps for the first time ever, an intervention by Saudi Arabia got an enthusiastic round of applause. Speaking on behalf of the Arab Group, Saudi Arabia delivered an intervention devoid of the finger-pointing that an ADP co-chair lamented about past sessions. The applause came when the Saudi speaker delivering the intervention stumbled over an unpronounceable English word, then recovered with grace, humour and dignity.

She went on to commit the Arab group to assume its fair share of efforts to combat global climate change, to move past finger-pointing, to implement new and renewable energy strategies, to delink growth from emissions, and then called for a principled approach based on equity and science. A breath of fresh air, and quite different from a Saudi intervention earlier this session that emphasised uncertainties in the climate science.

PS: After the advice offered from one of the co-chairs, no non-native English speaker should ever feel compelled to utter this 8-syllable word again. But even if it becomes treated as a 4-letter word, we still want it to happen!

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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.”

 

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.”
 
 

Saudi Arabia is Awarded the 1st Place Fossil of the Day Award and Poland Receives 2nd Place Fossil.

 

The First place Fossil of the Day goes to Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich Arab countries are in for a big test this year. They are all over the process. Not only is Qatar the Presidency of COP18, but also Saudi Arabia is chairing the LCA, and Algeria is heading G77+China. It is great to see the Arab region taking on big roles in the process, but as Spiderman says ‘with power, comes responsibility’. It is an important year for the Arab World, and failure in achieving a successful political outcome in COP18 would be a disgrace to the region. Therefore, one would expect that all Arab countries would be supportive of Qatar, not take extreme positions, not alienate Parties, and definitely not play obstructive roles in the process. Unfortunately, we still see Saudi Arabia trying its best to push its own short-term agenda forward, and getting a whole bunch of countries angry consequently blocking progress in different areas. What is upsetting is that this will not only reflect badly on their LCA chairmanship, but it will also send negative signals on the nature of the influence Saudi Arabia will have on their Qatari neighbors. CAN cautions Saudi Arabia, and advises it to take a progressive role. Countries are already calling COP18 the Saudi COP. So, Saudi Arabia, CAN’s message to you: “Stop undermining Qatar!”

The Second Place Fossil goes to Poland to Poland, for blocking the European Union to increase its pledge to 30% reductions by 2020, much less the 30% solely through domestic action or 40% overall that NGOs and some vulnerable countries would dearly love to see. The Polish government is taking 26 other countries hostage to increase their level of ambition, and thus driving the European emissions trading to collapse. The Polish position is also undermining the EU’s overall credibility in their call for real progress under the ADP workplan to increase near-term ambition until 2020.  Poland, notably, has also been instrumental in blocking the European Union to adopt a position on the issue of AAU carry-over.  Without Poland, the EU would have been able to move forward on AAUs ages ago.

 

Saudi Arabia is Awarded the 1st Place Fossil of the Day Award and Poland Receives 2nd Place Fossil.

 

The First place Fossil of the Day goes to Saudi Arabia. The oil-rich Arab countries are in for a big test this year. They are all over the process. Not only is Qatar the Presidency of COP18, but also Saudi Arabia is chairing the LCA, and Algeria is heading G77+China. It is great to see the Arab region taking on big roles in the process, but as Spiderman says ‘with power, comes responsibility’. It is an important year for the Arab World, and failure in achieving a successful political outcome in COP18 would be a disgrace to the region. Therefore, one would expect that all Arab countries would be supportive of Qatar, not take extreme positions, not alienate Parties, and definitely not play obstructive roles in the process. Unfortunately, we still see Saudi Arabia trying its best to push its own short-term agenda forward, and getting a whole bunch of countries angry consequently blocking progress in different areas. What is upsetting is that this will not only reflect badly on their LCA chairmanship, but it will also send negative signals on the nature of the influence Saudi Arabia will have on their Qatari neighbors. CAN cautions Saudi Arabia, and advises it to take a progressive role. Countries are already calling COP18 the Saudi COP. So, Saudi Arabia, CAN’s message to you: “Stop undermining Qatar!”

The Second Place Fossil goes to Poland to Poland, for blocking the European Union to increase its pledge to 30% reductions by 2020, much less the 30% solely through domestic action or 40% overall that NGOs and some vulnerable countries would dearly love to see. The Polish government is taking 26 other countries hostage to increase their level of ambition, and thus driving the European emissions trading to collapse. The Polish position is also undermining the EU’s overall credibility in their call for real progress under the ADP workplan to increase near-term ambition until 2020.  Poland, notably, has also been instrumental in blocking the European Union to adopt a position on the issue of AAU carry-over.  Without Poland, the EU would have been able to move forward on AAUs ages ago.

“CAN Collectibles”: Saudi Arabia

More Fun Than BacktoBack Plenaries!
Fast Facts About Countries That Can Increase TheirAmbition in Qatar

 



National term of greeting: Assalamu Alaykom (meaning "peace be on you")
Best things about Saudi Arabia: Saudi Arabia houses Mecca and Medina, the two holiest places in Islam.
Worst things about Saudi Arabia: The super lavish lifestyle of many people
Something you didn't know: It is believed that the tomb of (Biblical) Eve is located in the city of Jeddah
Another thing you didn't know: 50% of employees in the governmental sector are women
Existing action on the table: No mitigation action has been communicated to the UNFCCC
Additional actions Saudi Arabia should agree as their 2020 contribution, at a minimum: Develop and communicate a comprehensive low carbon development strategy, including reductions targets and NAMAs to reach those targets
Rationale: Saudi Arabia is strongly situated to inspire us and actually become a progressive voice to save the planet. Saudi Arabia behaves as if oil is the only thing that matters to them, which is not true. Saudi Arabia is rich with culture, values and history, which is not reflected in its current position. With the COP coming to the region, Saudi Arabia should reflect the fact that “Arabs are more than oil” and adopt a position that would ensure the survival of future generations. With such a position, combined with their diplomatic skills, Saudi Arabia will establish itself as a true global leader. ECO is ready to assist.
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Oil King Turns Solar Pioneer?

Have a strong coffee, shake your head and rub your eyes. Saudi Arabia, the well-known guardian of fossil fuel interests, is planning a massive renewable energy scheme in its country. So says the news in the region and rumours from inside the Royal Family and their ministries. Apparently 52 Gigawatts (GW) of renewable power will come online by 2030, 130% of existing electricity generation capacity - most of it as concentrated solar power and the remainder as solar photovoltaics and wind. Reportedly, the government is looking for a quick start, with about three GW to be installed in 2013 and another four GW in 2014.

It all started about one year ago when Saudi Arabia announced a US $100 billion investment for solar power, which was followed shortly after by oil minister Al-Naimi declaring to the media "Saudi Arabia plans to generate solar electricity equalling the amount of its energy from crude exports”. Although the current plan does not come close to that ambition, it still represents a remarkable and substantive move. For comparison, in 2011, which was another renewable energy boom year, total newly installed renewable power worldwide was about 80 GW.

ECO is not naïve. We know that high oil prices on world markets of more than $100 per barrel are strong incentives for any oil exporter to save the crude domestically and reap the benefits of exports. Certainly one, if not the key, motivation for the Saudis presently.

But there is another logic. Saudi Arabia admits that using renewable energy makes much more sense than “abundant” fossil fuels. And expanding renewables substantially, for whatever reason, is good for our atmosphere and the climate. Each ton of CO2 saved through renewables is one ton saved permanently. Could we also imagine that some clever folks in Saudi Arabia assume that the desire for fossil fuels in the world economy will end some time before we physically run out of them? We should be reminded that OPEC’s call for increased oil prices in the early 80s met with this advice from the then oil minister Yamani of Saudi Arabia to his peers: “The stone age did not finish because mankind ran out of stones”. Is it now time to assume that the Saudis are seriously preparing to export solar and become a technological hub for solar industry manufacturing?

Before ECO applauds Saudi Arabia’s constructive contribution to climate change policy, ECO would like this renewable energy target officially confirmed in Riyadh and announced internationally. If this happens, ECO will rub its eyes again and be happy to publicly acknowledge a landslide in Saudi policy, especially when those with greater responsibility are shirking their pollution reduction obligations.

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