Fossil of the Day

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A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

Fossil of the Day - Day 4 of COP18 in Doha, Qatar


The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.

Photo Credit: Miljømagasinet Putsj/Vilde Blix Huseby

Fossil bounty for backtracking Canada and New Zealand


The First Place Fossil is awarded to Canada, who has capped support rather than emissions. Newsflash! This just in from the Canadian Environment Minister! Developing countries need to just take a deep breath and wait until we have an all-in global deal before they should expect any support from Canada to move towards a clean energy future through the Green Climate Fund. In talking to reporters yesterday, Canada’s environment minister took a moment to tell journalists that he would ‘make it clear’ at the meetings in Doha that developing countries shouldn’t expect more money towards climate financing from Canada, because after all, Doha “isn’t a pledging conference.”
Thanks for clearing that up, Minister! We are sure that that will do wonders for your stellar credibility and reputation at these talks. Thankfully the Minister IS coming to Doha with at least one commitment: Canada is still firmly committed that tar sands emissions will rise far beyond the 2 degree climate limit.
World to Canada: You are supposed to be ramping finance up and emissions down; not the other way around!”

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to New Zealand, again, because not only did Wellington deliberately decide not to put its target into the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, but today proposed that access to the CDM should be open to all and should not depend on whether a country is signing up to a second commitment period. To make it clear, New Zealand pointed out that otherwise the Adaptation Fund will not have enough money to keep functioning. Come on Kiwis, forget about the hobbits and think about your neighbors! You have to be serious… if you want to feast on carbon markets you have to work up your targets first!

The United States gets the Third Place Fossil for once again rejecting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yesterday President Obama signed a misguided Bill coming from Congress aimed at preventing compliance of US airlines with EU regulations, for flights into and out of the EU. If Congress doesn't like the EU approach, we hope they realize the only alternative is a strong multilateral agreement. We urge Obama to reject any approach based on isolationism, and take this bill as an green light to pursue a strong multilateral agreement for the global  aviation sector, including putting a price on carbon, and to lead the way a strong and binding global climate agreement under the UNFCCC.




Fossil of the Day - Day 2


The First Place Fossil is awarded to Turkey. Although Turkey is the world's fourth largest investor in coal, recording the largest relative increase in annual GHG emissions between 1990–2010 with Ankara declaring 2012 the year of coal, Turkey is asking for more funds in the climate negotiations. This is even though Ankara did not post any QUELROs for the first commitment period. To make matters even more fossilised, Turkey has already declared they wont make a pledge for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Although, they work almost invisibly during the negotiations, so as not to receive too much attention, it’s clearly their time to step onto the fossil stage! It’s your turn Turkey for a Fossil!

The second place Fossil of the Day goes to the EU for having already reached their pledged 2020 target of 20% but having so far failed to increase even though there is still almost 10 years to go. How outrageous! Is the EU really planning to go for the next 10 years without doing ANY further emissions reductions? EU you will need to quickly increase your target or the clouds will appear and it will start raining even more fossils on your negotiating table.

(1) According to the latest projections by the European Environmental Agency the EU’s domestic emissions were 17,5% below the 1990 level in 2011. Factoring in offsets surrendered into the EU ETS in 2011, we find that the EU27 has effectively beaten it’s -20% climate target for 2020 with nine years to spare! 

Civil Society Awards Fossil To Rich Countries Who Shun Kyoto Commitment

Fossil of the Day - Day 1 at COP18


The First Place Fossil is awarded to USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and New Zealand for running away from a legally binding, multilateral rules based regime.  To the USA – seriously, get over your exceptionalism and agree to common accounting rules already.  Canada you are exceptional in ways we cannot communicate diplomatically during a fossil presentation, but it is not good - withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol is completely unacceptable and your target is an insult to the most vulnerable.  As for Japan, Russia and New Zealand - you still have a chance to support the only legally binding regime and commit to ambitious targets for the second commitment period (and that means no AAU carry over, Russia).  We are looking to hearing from you by the end of the week, because really, do we want to be lumped into this low-ambition group?

The Second Place Fossil is awarded to New Zealand. Unlike its neighbor to the west, New Zealand decided not to put its target into the second commitment period, citing spurious grounds when the reality is that it is just a massive display of irresponsibility.  It's island partners in the Pacific should think again before ever trusting NZ again.

The Ray of the Day goes to the EU for having already reached their pledged 2020 target almost 10 years ahead of time!(1). They really are the fastest under-achievers in the KP! But wait!? The EU has told us that they are not planning to increase their 2020 emissions pledge from the already achieved 20%. How outrageous! Is the EU really planning to go for the next 10 years without doing ANY further emissions reductions? EU you will need to quickly increase your target or the clouds will appear and it will start raining fossils on your negotiating table.



Fossil of the Day awards for ALL governments for agreeing a future we DON'T want

In an unprecedented move, the Fossil of the Day award 
was today given to ALL governments attending the Rio+20 summit. NGOs 
reacted to the adoption of a shockingly weak outcome text applauded by 
all governments in the plenary this morning, pointing out that - 
contrary to the document's title - the agreement did NOT reflect the 
future they want.

The text of today's Fossil award reads as follows:

"For the first time ever, yesterday, we awarded Big Oil a Fossil of the 
day - and the Fossil itself became the target of a protest by some angry 
billionaire CEO’s.

Today, we faced a monumental task deciding just who to award the fossil 
to. Obviously the perpetual podium contenders came up, Canada for 
tarring Rio+20 by cutting out funding, commitments and so much more. The 
United States and Japan, for weilding the literal and metaphorical 
delete button, cutting up the text like a ribbon, and the other Big Oil 
states for weakening language on subsidies and trying their best to cut 
the climate out of Rio. But for some reason we just didn’t feel like 
that was doing it justice, too many people were getting off the hook.

The outcome so far in Rio is an epic failure. Yet all governments have 
applauded it, as if selling out the planet and people were a grand 

This is NOT the future we want, if anything this is the future that big 
polluters have bought.

With this text Rio+20 is turning back the clock on sustainable 
development. As nations hide behind economic uncertainty, they continue 
to give upwards of trillion dollars a year to the fossil fuel industry - 
yet here in Rio they’ve all come up with empty pockets. The first step 
is to turn that trillion green and make it work for the people and the 
planet, and like I said, that's just the first step. There is still 
miles to go on oceans, the sustainable development goals, or even having 
the ambition to build a pathway to just, sustainable future.

Because every country has applauded this document, and no country has 
had the guts to step up and be a champion for the people and the planet, 
this fossil is for every single nation here, and for all the world 
leaders beginning to arrive for what has become a glorified photo op to 
sign a declaration of destruction and a plan for pollution.

There are 3 days left here in Rio, and without a change this summit 
will go down in history as more than simply a failure, and those leaders 
who sign off on its demise will be known as the architects of 
destruction. So as we hand out this, the biggest fossil yet, Heads of 
State and their representatives need to remember one thing: the whole 
world is watching, the planet is burning, and they are holding matches."




Shell, Exxon Mobil, Petrobras, Chevron and BP Given First Ever “Corporate” Fossil

Award given for lifetime commitment to blocking progress on climate and environmental protection

Rio de Janeiro - In an unprecedented move, the Fossil of the Day award broke protocol today to award a special fossil to big oil and their friends. The award is a recognition of the back room, dirty tactics that the fossil fuel industry and lobby has used here in Rio and for years to block progress on climate change and sustainable development. 

The corporations were also singled out for being some of the biggest recipients of the narly $1 trillion in subsidies handed out each year to big polluters. The award comes on the eve of a corporate business event including a session entitled "Fossil Fuels and Sustainability" that features representatives of Petrobras, BP and Shell. The text of the Fossil Award read as follows:

Today's fossil award is an extra special one, a never before seen or heard of Fossil of the Day...a Fossil First here in Rio.

The recipients of this Fossil have for years stood in the shadows, and in the way of real progress on climate change and sustainable development. Around the globe they are the worlds largest climate criminals, responsible for spilling millions of barrels of oil in the natural world, and dumping billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the aptmosphere.

Let's get a (oil) drumroll please for today's Fossils! Those big bad polluters!

Shell! Exxon-Mobil! BP! Chevron! and a special Brazilian Rio Fossil for our sponsors here at Rio+20 Petrobras!  Honorable mention goes to all the oil barons, king coals and gas giants around the globe! Our top four recipients collectively made nearly $140 billion dollars in 2011, all while working against the adoption of strong, ambitious climate legislation in countries around the globe, digging deeper into dirty energy. All four are major players in the tar sands and part of a new rush to develop oil in the Arctic - despite their roles in major disasters like the Deepwater Horizon, the Kalamazoo river spill, the Exxon Valdez and the list goes on.

Oh yeah, and they're all part of that prestigious trillion dollar club, recipients of massive polluter handouts.

Petrobras gets a special spot for coming on as a sponsor of Rio+20 while trying to break the resistance of fishermen of Rio’s Bahia de Guanabara with violence. The fishermen have been struggling to defend their livelihoods against Petrobras’ oil spills.

The Fossil of the Day ceremony was also the target of a mock protest by "Billionaires for Subsidies", a group of youth drawing attention to the influence of big polluters here in Rio and on climate progress around the globe. The fossil fuel companies were targetted for attempting to hijack the agenda in Rio, but also for lobbying to weaken climate commitments for governments around the world. 


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.”



G77 earn Fossil of the Day as they oppose language to foster civil society participation

Today's first place fossil goes to Algeria!

Algeria on behalf of the group of G77 was awarded the third ever Rio Fossil of the Day today. Moves to oppose language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation in implementing sustainable development have earned them the top spot.        

Today’s Rio Fossil was chosen through a vote by representatives of youth networks and hundreds of global NGOs organized in the Climate Action Network CAN.                          

The Fossil presentation text reads as follows:

“Algeria is receiving the fossil on behalf on G77 for opposing language in relation to effective civil society engagement and participation to implement sustainable development. 20 years ago, Principle 10 of the Rio Declaration recognised that the best environmental decisions are made  with the involvement of the public. That includes civil society groupings such as NGOs, women, trade unions, youth and others. We agree that referring to stakeholders in the outcome document should be avoided as some private interest groups, such as big corporations, do more harm than good.

However, in many ways civil society groups are the best allies parties have at the international level, especially developing country parties, whom we often support by providing increased capacity and advocacy efforts. We have a huge range of expertise and experience that adds real value when we are able to participate in decision-making at the local, national and international levels. Our ability to participate also ensures the legitimacy of decision making and helps translates decisions into real world outcomes. This is the only way to genuinely achieve sustainable development. We know that only a very small number of G77 members are resisting language that would help us play our role more effectively. The rest of the G77 should not allow this minority rule."

The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy. Fossil of the Day ceremonies take place every day at 18:15, in the corridor leading from the negotiating rooms in Pavillion 3 into the main  crossroads towards the courtyard in the center of RioCentro.




Canada Comes Out of Fossil Retirement to Take Home a Surprise Second Rio Fossil - Recognized for gutting the text in Rio and rolling back environmental regulations at home

Canada was awarded the second ever Rio Fossil of the Day today in a surprise move that brought them out of Fossil of the Day retirement with a real bang. The combined impact of their moves to delete and undermine many key pieces of the Rio texts, while pushing through a budget bill that guts environmental and climate policies at home, has earned them a top spot once again.

Today’s Rio Fossil was chosen through a vote by representatives of hundreds of global NGOs and youth based on Canada’s opposition to funding for a Green Economy, their obstruction of key initiatives to protect oceans and sustainable fisheries, their constant watering down of strong commitments on the phase out of Fossil Fuel Subsidies, and their request to remove the recognition of Common But Differentiated Responsibility in the Rio text.
The Fossil presentation text read as follows:
This evening’s recipient of the Rio Fossil may come as a surprise to some of you. That’s because at the UNFCCC negotiations in Durban last December, the international community gave Canada a lifetime achievement award, vowing never again to waste a fossil on a country that has made itself irrelevant when it comes to combating climate change.
But just when we think Canada has hit the bottom of the barrel, they always seem to find more bitumen – so to speak – moving from conventional forms of obstruction to dirtier, darker and more intensive forms. Yesterday Canadian negotiators continued weakening the language around fossil fuel subsidies along with oceans and fisheries, coming out in favour of continuing billions in handouts to big polluters and against protecting the high seas, the low seas, and any other seas. They also hit the delete button on green economy funding and stayed true to form calling for removal the principle of common but differentiated responsibility…sorry – what they consider to be “guilt payments” to the global south…Not content just being a perpetual thorn in the side of progress here in Rio, the Government surprised us all by flipping the proverbial bird to nature. They turned back the clock on decades of environmental regulations, protections, review processes, most things related to protecting the climate, and generally anything green and or nature-related by pushing through a 400 page budget bill that guts Canada’s environmental review and regulatory processes.
For coming out of retirement with a bigger bang than any of us could have imagined, CANADA this FOSSIL is truly for you…you have earned it!!
The Rio Fossil was presented at a mock award ceremony at the RioCentro space where Canada “cut out”
environmental protections. This Fossil of the Day is another in a long history of Fossil Awards for Canada, the all-time champion who has taken home more fossils at United Nations climate talks than any other nation.
“At home and here in Rio, Canada has really earned this Fossil award for undermining a just and sustainable future,” said Amara Possian, a young woman from Canada who accepted the award. “Canada had to go pretty far to get back on this list, and they’ve managed to do it by fighting against the bare minimum of commitments, like ending $1.4 billion in handouts to the fossil fuel industry.”
The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries
who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy.

International Youth and NGOs award USA first “Rio Fossil of the Day” at Earth Summit Award given for backpedaling on 1992 commitments.

At the opening of the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development the United States of America was awarded the inaugural Rio Fossil of the Day. The Rio Fossil Awards will be presented daily throughout the negotiations highlighting the country or countries who do the least to support progress (or the most to block it) on issues relevant to climate change, such as energy, forests, and the green economy.

Today’s award was given to the United States for the overall strength of their not having any real commitments. This fossil recognizes the United States' (once the considered the only remaining superpower) efforts to delete meaningful commitments from various parts of the negotiation text all through the day yesterday.

The Rio Fossil as presented read:

"This first recipient of the Rio Fossil has consistently refused to commit new funding to sustainable development initiatives in the Rio+20 process, despite handing out upwards of $521 billion to big polluters - more than enough to invest in a just and sustainable future at home and abroad.

The US has actually been deleting meaningful action across the board, such as disregarding the Rio Principle on Equity (Principle 3) - asking for its deletion from the entire text to be replaced by the term ‘inclusiveness’, rejecting the urgent need to work towards advancing sustainable consumption and production patterns , and blocking the launch of a High Seas Biodiversity Agreement to protect marine life in the high seas, which cover 64% of our oceans.

The first Rio Fossil goes to the United States of America!

The United States may have taken the first Fossil, but the field of candidates is opening up, and there are plenty of chances to get on, and off the Fossil podium. The U.S. has a real shot at not being a Fossil if they can become a champion on strengthening commitments and setting an ambitious timeline on ending fossil fuel subsidies in Rio.”

The presentation of the award took place at the RioCentro conference center at the Rio Fossil award ceremony. Organized by youth and NGO’s from across the globe the award was presented in a mock ceremony and accepted on the United States' behalf by Brendan Schoenman from the United States.

“As a young person representing the United States I regret-fully accept this award on behalf of my government" said Brendan. "Although I hope that I never have to stand up and accept this award again and that US steps up to be a champion here in Rio."