Today the winner of the Colossal fossil may not come as a surprise to many. Yes there is a country that really outdone others in destroying the climate concretely on the ground and in the negotiations, attacking and killing the very people who are protecting unique ecosystems: indigenous people.
Brazil is the winner of CAN´s COP25 colossal fossil.
What a difference a year makes. Cradle of the UNFCCC and widely praised for impressive emission cuts in the last decade, Brazil has become a climate pariah. Eleven months into the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, the South American country has joined the United States as one of the main threats to the Paris Agreement.
Bolsonaro, self-dubbed “Capitan Chainsaw”, has managed to kill environmental policies that helped Brazil achieve spectacular emission reductions in the past decade. The results were the highest Amazon deforestation rates in a decade, a spike in land invasions and the murder of three indigenous leaders just this week. The government is also cracking down on environmentalists – who Bolsonaro famously blamed for setting fire to the jungle.
Brazil had some bizarre behaviors in Madrid, such as blocking mention to human rights on article 6.4 and opposing language on “climate emergency” in the COP decision. And the usual ones, like insisting on lose accounting rules for article 6.4 and on flooding the market with rotten Kyoto credits in order to appease old lobbies that got pink badges for Madrid – unlike civil society. Jair Bolsonaro is a walking carbon bomb who no doubt deserves this great achievement, the Colossal Fossil.
And much more.
Ray of the Year goes to Indigenous People and the Youth
Despite continuous discrimination and risk, indigenous people have fought to save the environment since the beginning of time. Today more than ever and despite suffocating closing on their space, they continue to fight at the forefront of climate struggles. For this and for simply existing and challenging systemized monocultures, they systematically get oppressed - often having to hold space with patience, love, and resilience, despite all the violence they face on a daily basis. This COP25, which originally was supposed to be held in Chile, where access was easier, was a golden opportunity to express themselves. But another oppressive government decided to change that and the COP shifted to Madrid. Still, they showed up and raised their voices. Despite exclusion and silencing, they continue to safeguard environmental and cultural diversity and integrity..
Young people around the world have mobilized millions of people to march on the streets, fighting desperately for their lives and their future. It’s not inspiring - indeed it’s downright depressing - that they have to mobilise like this just to get a halfway decent future, but it’s their resilience, their courage, and their determination to never let politicians get away with destruction of their hopes and dreams that is truly inspiring. They have been called radical, yet what is truly radical is to continue blitzing the world with fossil fuels. What’s truly radical, is to pretend that the cost of action is somehow greater than the cost of inaction; the cost of the future, the cost of entire civilisations. Young people’s mobilisation forced Governments to act, demonstrated the power of the people, and inspired so many.
These beacons of hope deserve CAN´s Ray of the Year. Power to the people.