Fossil of the Day

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Australia gets another Oi, to its Oi Oi Oi with 4th Fossil of the Day Award (4 out of 10, ouch)

Australia’s worsening status as a climate wrecker was given even more attention internationally with its fourth Fossil of the Day awarded today at the Lima COP20. It’s another dubious honour. It’s not an award the Prime Minister will be sending “straight to the pool room”- that’s for sure.

Even the spin doctors in the Abbott government will be scratching their flaky heads with what to do as these negative accolades roll on in. There have been ten days of Fossils awarded and Australia has won nearly half. Normally Aussies like to win things, but most sensible Australians would be shaking their heads at this.

So what did they do this time? Well the Australian Trade Minister who is here to ‘chaperone’ the Foreign Minister told big business leaders yesterday that his Government may not sign up to a new global deal if major trade competitors are not doing it to, he said Australia will not "get it in the neck". And heck he’s got a heck of coal to flog.

Robb’s a self professed climate sceptic, he’s travelling with BHP lobbyists here in Lima and he wanted to reassure everyone at the big end of town that those pesky developing countries got all they were ever going to get (you know that $200million over 4 years they pinched from the massively slashed Australian Foreign Aid budget.)

Minister Robb made it clear at the swanky event with big mining and big corporates that the Abbott Government may very well might not sign up to any agreement in Paris next year. That’s just not cricket Minister.  

Today we will also present a very unusual Ray of the Day - a “Pending” Ray. Japan have declared that the engagement of civil society in the INDC process is important - which is good. However, Japan is one of two countries (the other being the USA) that oppose webcasting meetings of the Green Climate Fund - an important element of transparency.

NGO participation and transparency are crucial in the INDC process. Since Japan is championing this position, and hopefully reflecting a similar sentiment at home, Japan is awarded a “Pending” Ray of the Day. When they stop blocking efforts to increase transparency in the Green Climate Fund, they can come and collect.


US and Japan in fossil double for trying to oust adaptation and loss & damage

Does anyone have an extra pair of spectacles to lend the US delegation here in Lima? Because they seem to be chronically short-sighted. These delegates represent a country that suffered severe flooding during Superstorm Sandy and Hurricane Katrina. Yet, with the support of Japan, they are trying to remove adaptation and loss & damage from the ADP Decision text. For this reason our first-place Fossil of the Day award is a dead heat between the USA and Japan.

As highly vulnerable countries and communities know, you can't adapt to your island home going under water, you can't adapt to your farmland becoming desert, and you can't adapt to your family being killed in a typhoon. This is why it is vital for both adaptation and the separate issue of loss & damage to be included in the decision coming out of Lima, and in the final agreement next year.

Now, can we borrow a second pair of spectacles please? This time, they are for the Polish officials who can’t see that the writing is on the wall for the coal industry. IPCC science, people around the world, and country delegations at this COP are all calling for a fossil fuel phase-out. Poland win the second-place Fossil of the Day for being blind to the growing momentum behind the clean energy transition and proposing a range of new coal-related projects as part of a new EU 300 billion Euro stimulus package.

We are not sure that clarity of vision is an issue with our final fossil winner - spectacles won’t help here. Instead our third Fossil of the Day winner, Venezuela, could probably benefit from some more time spent with scientific advisors. This morning Venezuela’s Minister of Foreign Affairs clearly stated that “the problem of climate change is not because of the production of petrol, but for the irrational use of it”.

If we want to solve climate change it is important that all countries commit to leave fossil fuels underground and ensure a just transition to a renewable energy future.

It’s not all acrimony here in Lima, to show our appreciation for countries that have moved us closer to a fair and comprehensive climate agreement next year in Paris we have three Ray of the Day awards to present. The winners are Germany, Peru and Colombia who have all pledged climate finance that is vital for these negotiations and climate vulnerable countries. Germany pledged around $60 million to the adaptation fund in a demonstration of leadership we expect from all developed countries. Peru then pledged $6 million to the Green Climate Fund, they were soon matched by Colombia who pledged a further $6 million. A useful step forward, I’m sure you’ll agree.

Australia displays willful ignorance on scope for climate action


This is getting bizarre. Australia wins the Fossil of the Day Award...again! Is it lack of sleep? Is it the heat? Ministers are arriving and we are supposed to be getting serious but Australia is getting silly. They are making some very telling statements at this COP, statements that slip into the realm of willful ignorance, and that is why they get today’s fossil.

Here in Lima, Australia is saying that they don’t understand the concept of a “long-term temperature limit”. Have they ever put food in the oven with the heat raised to high? Or more seriously, have they bothered to read the World Bank’s Turn Down the Heat report? This outlines very clearly why we need to prevent long-term temperature rise above 1.5C or 2C, which countries have agreed to. 

Continuing their slapstick approach to these negotiations, Australia has also stated it doesn’t really understand the idea of “global solidarity” either. Has anyone on the Australian delegation seen a photograph of the earth from space? If not, then here’s a newsflash for them: we live in a single biosphere and we rely on communities all around the world for our security, food and health - we are all in this together when it comes to climate impacts. 

We all do silly things, but not all the time. Now is the time for Australia to shape up and take these negotiations seriously. Perhaps they should take a short course on the Cancun agreement on the global temperature threshold. Then, after Lima, their delegation and Prime Minister could visit some of the vulnerable islands off the coast of Australia or the drought and wildfire-stricken districts in their very own country - to learn why we need to weed out free-riders and act in global solidarity to tackle climate change.


Peru dragged back by leaden government policies



What a drag! So far the Peruvian Ministry of Environment has done some impressive work, as the President of COP 20, paving the way for climate action at this meeting. However, at the same the time, other elements in the Peruvian government are undermining broad, national efforts to tackle climate change - like a lead weight on a balloon. This incoherence is why Peru gets the Fossil of the Day award.

The government recently approved a law known as known as “Ley Paquetazo”, or in legal terms “Law 30230” which decouples environmental protection from economic growth. There are serious concerns that this new law severely weakens the ability of of environmental bodies in Peru to regulate and supervise economic activity, like power and infrastructure development, that impacts the environment.

In particular, we fear that by undermining the Ministry of Environment, elements of the Peruvian government are making it more difficult for Peru to take effective and adequate climate action in a way that addresses national, social issues. This is of real concern to the Peruvian people and will be discussed at the People’s Summit, that started today at the Exposition Park.

Saudi Arabia spreads prejudice in the process

Oh, what a horrible dream! The Saudi delegation seem to be dreaming of a world made out men, only men, and a stream of pollution. Today’s fossil goes to Saudi Arabia for spreading prejudice within the process. The Saudi delegation has spoken out strongly against the recognition of gender equality in the implementation process.

Over four days they attacked the vital content on gender equality, and the need to promote urgent and effective gender-responsive climate policy. Our new climate agreement needs to promote gender equality, to effectively attend the varying impacts that climate change has on women and men, and to accelerate the benefits of meaningful implementation.

The European Union fell in disgrace along with Saudi Arabia for supporting, in public, the withdrawal of gender equality language. Dear, oh dear!


Australia doubles down with dodgy call to bail on Green Climate Fund

Oh no, not again! Australia earns today’s first place Fossil of the Day. To mark her preparations for delicate climate negotiations Australian Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that Australia will not contribute to the Green Climate Fund. While other countries are coughing up, like Norway who doubled their pledge, Australia is bailing out.

The Minister said Australia would rather pay for climate change adaptation in vulnerable South Pacific island nations through its aid budget, than donate to a U.N. Green Climate Fund dedicated to the same purpose. The problem is that Australia is cutting its foreign aid budget by $7.6 billion over the next five years. This means they are reducing money for climate impacted countries just as UNEP reveals the cost of climate adaptation could soar to $150 billion by 2030.

The Marshall Islands receives the illustrious Ray of the Day award for shining a light on an issue that has been lurking in the shadows - the time frame for INDC commitments, of course.

This bold island state has stepped forward to propose a 5-year timeframe for future mitigation commitments. A short time frame that prevents countries locking in low ambition, incentivises early action and can reflect the latest climate science. Now the proposal is on table, we hope it will be included in the new draft decision text and that it remains there, by agreement, at the end of this COP.

In the spirit of today’s COP theme, ‘Business and Industry Day’ or BINGO we have a special award. The Sly Sludge award, which goes to Royal Dutch Shell for their slick attempts to hijack the legitimacy of the COP to protect their business-as-usual strategies, and ultimately their bottom line.

Shell has been busy at the COP, touting the unproven potential of carbon, capture and storage (CCS) technology. They even turned up to push CCS at an IPCC-organized side event and have an event with other polluters on Monday. Conveniently, this techno-fix would enable the fossil fuel industry to continue extracting and burning fossil fuels at unprecedented rates. But this quick fix isn't fooling the rest of us, as is shown by the rapid increase in groups calling for fossil fuel divestment and the growing list of organisations and institutions (700+) that are shifting their money away from dirty energy.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. 

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 (, 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. 


Australia Wins Fossil on Lost and Damaged Position on Loss and Damage

Coo-eee! Australia has today taken first place in the Fossil of the Day. The dubious award was handed down after Australia said in an ADP session on the 2015 agreement that loss and damage should be an element of adaptation, not a standalone part of the Paris Protocol. But hear this, this stance is in direct opposition to the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts including those from AOSIS, the LDCs, the Africa Group, AILAC who want to see the agreement feature loss and damage as separate issue. not bundled into adaptation.

It is not possible to adapt to your farmland being turned into desert. It is not possible to adapt to losing your land due to rising sea levels. Not really that cool with another major Typhoon bearing down on the Philippines (incidentally the third during a COP) and with the IPCC warning that some climate impacts will soon be irreversible. The Aussies will lose mates on this one.

The European Union wins the second place Fossil of the Day Award for calling for a 10 year commitment period, a sure fire way to lock in low ambition in the future climate deal. No European Union, 10 year cycles is not the right timeline for the next deal. 

Five year commitment periods ending no later than 2025 is the approach you want to follow in order to capture the fast evolving dynamics of domestic political and energy situation.

Only this time frame will prevent us from locking in low ambition,. Only this time frame incentivizes early actions, and ensures the politics is linked to the latest climate science. 

EU, you must not pretend that your hands are bound by your 2030 climate and energy package towards 2030. There is no technical reason at all that you cannot put forward a target for 2025 based on what you have agreed in the package. 

The time to decide a common five year period is here and now in Lima, in order to enable countries to prepare their INDCs with a clear guidance on this 2025 timeframe. The quality of future climate regime is at stake, in a rapidly changing world where renewable technologies are becoming ever cheaper and competitive.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. 

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 (, 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.


Bully Boys from Switzerland Win Fossil Over Finance Threat


Switzerland earns today’s first place Fossil of the Day for being a big bully. As anyone who listens to civil society or a climate scientist will know, we have to do much more if we want to keep temperature rise to within the internationally agreed threshold of 2degreesC. Predictable public climate finance to help developing countries to scale up their climate actions will help grease the ambition wheel. Switzerland, in an intervention today, not only opposed any legally binding commitments of finance, but also threatened developing countries that any demands for such would jeopardize the outcome here in Lima. Other developed countries, EU and the US came close to earning a fossil too as they didn't exactly paint themselves in glory either when they also strongly rejected commitments on finance.

Brazil stated in the Framework for Various Approaches Contact Group that “there is no double counting in the CDM.” As numerous scientists have documented, double-counting of emissions is a serious problem with the Clean Development Mechanism. New, robust accounting rules that stamp out such practices are seriously needed to ensure the integrity of our efforts to combat climate change. This statement undermines climate action and earns Brazil a second place Fossil.

AOSIS received the Ray of the Day award today for being the first group to directly support during this COP the complete phase out of carbon pollution by 2050. What makes this statement even more powerful is that other countries added their voices to that of AOSIS, specifically AILAC and Norway. Achieving this phase out of fossil fuel emissions and a just transition to 100% RE by mid century is our only hope to stay below the 2 degrees threshold. Countries also need to ensure that there is enough financial and technological support to have developing countries achieve transition. Shifting investments and subsidies from fossil fuels to renewable energy is a good start.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 100 working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. 

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 (, 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.



Japan Climate Finance Funding False Start Wins Fossil

Japan climate finance funding false start sins Fossil of the Day at COP20

Japan wins the Fossil of the Day Award for getting busted funding coal and gas power stations in developing countries, in particular Indonesia, with money meant for scaling up climate action.  Using climate finance to fund the root causes of climate change smells very whiffy. 

Japan's argument is that it is better to fund clean coal than dirty coal. A very short sighted vision of what development means: A slightly cleaner coal or gas-fired power plant will not get energy to everybody that needs it. And the bill will only get higher in the coming year as fuel prices rise, and pollution from the plants hits home, and of course as climate change impacts worsen. Already locals are complaining that coal sludge is clogging up their rivers and killing fish stocks.  Not something known to happen with renewable energy. 

The fact is, Japan has in pretending to be a knight in shining armour with its Fast Start Finance Funds, but has actually been the dragon that ate the damsel all along.

This pot of Japanese money should have gone to renewable energy which could have solved some of Indonesia's problems, not worsened them. That's what climate finance should be about.  


Missing Money for the Green Climate Fund earns first Fossil from Lima Climate Talks

COP20, Fossil of the Day, Day 1

The first Fossil of the Day in Lima at the UN Climate Talks goes to Australia, Belgium, Ireland, Austria, Iceland, Greece and Portugal for being the only developed countries who have so far failed to contribute to the Green Climate Fund. After a string of encouraging initial contributions, it seems a few free-riders within Annex 2 believe they are off the hook on this one. Their intransigence translates into several billions of dollars missing in the fund’s coffer - that’s money not being spent helping developing countries reduce their pollution and adapt to climate impacts. This is not acceptable and stands to jeopardize the Paris agreement, under which all countries are expected to take action. To the free-riding ministers: Don't forget to sign your check before you land in Lima.