Fossil of the day

Australia’s Empty Purse Earns First Fossil of COP19, with Special Solidarity Ray of the Day for Philippines in the Face of Typhoon Devastation.

                                

Many would have thought that Australia’s position couldn’t have got much worse after the dismantling of its climate change department, ridding itself of the burden of a climate change minister and intending to remove its carbon price during COP.  But we thought wrong.

Yesterday, the media revealed that Australia will not be putting forward any new finance commitments at the Warsaw negotiations, beyond their old Fast Start Finance commitments. This has earned Canberra COP19’s very first Fossil of the Day.

The Australian Government’s stance is despite the crushing losses suffered by the Philippines this week, a country who is a Pacific neighbor to Australia and needs international finance to insure against future tragedy. This is a glaring illustration of Australia’s lack of understanding of the purpose of climate finance.

To top it off, Australian cabinet ministers characterize climate finance as ‘socialism masquerading as environmentalism’ – we have news for you, it’s not socialism, its equity and it's your responsibility.

Special recognition today, the Ray of the Solidarity, goes to the Philippines.

Today, just as we have heard with sadness and great frustration Australia’s intentions not to increase its climate financing, we also heard from the Philippines lead negotiator, Yeb Sano, who addressed the opening session of the UN climate negotiations, calling for urgent action to prevent a repeat of the devastating storm that hit parts of his country this past weekend. Super Typhoon Haiyan was like nothing the world has ever experienced.

During his speech Sano thanked civil society, especially those who are risking their lives climbing oil rigs in the Arctic, trying to stop the building of new oil pipelines, or taking any direct action against the dirty fossil fuel industry.

To this we say to Sano and the rest of the countries of the world, civil society has never felt the urgency of action as much as we do now, and we guarantee that we will never lose our passion, motivation, and determination to achieve a change in light of these and many other events.

We stand in solidarity with the Philippines and all other nations that were hit by this devastation. We urge the international community to act here in Warsaw to reduce the threat of climate change and push towards a new, globally-binding agreement in 2015.

We would like to have a moment of silence as a symbol of our solidarity, and invite you all to hold hands and stand with us.

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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Russia Wins Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award

Russia continues to break new ground here in Bonn, and not in a good way. CAN has issued Colossal Fossils before to countries that richly deserved it, but never before has one country monopolized the fossil awards the way Russia has this session.  For this reason, CAN is giving Russia special recognition  with the Disastrous Diplomacy Dishonorable Distinction (4D) Award.

Never before has the agenda and work of an entire Subsidiary Body of the UNFCCC has been held hostage to the whims of one country, or more likely one negotiator.

Russia claims they want to discuss the rules of procedure here at the UNFCCC yet they rejected all solutions that offered to do so. So the mystery of their continued blocking (with Belarus and Ukraine continuing to go along for the ride)   around such a political issue remains.

If they do want to make  a political statement this should be done between Ministers in a Ministerial meeting, not at the negotiator level.

Disconcertingly, all this it remains unresolved, and it is not clear whether Russia, Belarus and Ukraine will continue to disrupt progress during the COP in Warsaw, when we desperately need to focus on getting emissions down, and finance  up.

We say out of the way at Warsaw, Russia. 

No love lost on Russia as climate talks delayed for fifth day

                 

Climate Action Network (CAN) has slammed blocking moves by Russia which have stalled progress during the first week of the UN climate negotiations in Bonn, Germany. 

 
CAN - a network of over 850 NGOs all working together to combat climate change -  voted to give Russia the nation the weekly fossil award for the country which does the most to block progress in the talks a day early.
 
Kaisa Kosonen, senior political adviser from Greenpeace International, said so far five days have been wasted as Moscow insisted the rules on agreeing laws in the UN climate process be discussed  - meaning many negotiation sessions could not begin -  and all efforts at compromise so far have been blocked.  
 
“It’s in everybody’s interest that the rules of the game are respected, but frankly, the Russians broke the rules first by pulling out of the Kyoto Protocol and by not taking any climate action even though they are a major emitter,” Kosonen said. 
 
Moscow’s actions seem to stem from their anger over the way their objections to the Doha Decision - which quite rightly removed tons of poor quality emissions permits from the system -  at last year’s major climate talks was ignored. 
 
However, governments have as few as five negotiating sessions left before the 2015 climate agreement has to be signed.  This behavior derails progress towards this deadline. 
 
It comes as science finally re-enters these political negotiations with the kick off of the First Periodical Review to measure the adequacy of and the progress towards the global agreement to limit temperature rise to 2 degrees C.
 
Scientists told country delegates that the 2 degree limit was still achievable - but its clear there remains a huge gulf between the action governments have currently committed to and what the world needs. 
 
Furthermore, with deadly climate impacts already being felt around the world and the carbon concentration breaking through the 400 ppm landmark, scientists said the world is currently experiencing the “worst-case climate change scenario” envisaged by the IPCC in 1990. 
 
The kind of progress that Russia is blocking includes workshops that would help developing countries do more on climate. For example, unable to proceed are:
 
  • a workshop designed to help developing countries prepare and implement emissions reduction targets
  • efforts to help developing countries implement forest related emission reduction efforts more effectively
 
This process has the real potential to change lives on the ground by agreeing a global agreement that provides assistance to countries looking to use technology to adapt to the impacts of climate change and reduce their emissions, but right now the interests of a few are holding back its potential to move forward. 
 
Contact:
For more information or for one-on-one interviews with the NGO experts, please contact Climate Action Network International’s communications coordinator Ria Voorhaar on +49 (0) 157 317 35568 or rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org
 
About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of roughly 850 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. 
 
About Fossil: 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.
 
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Russia Agenda fight delays UN climate talks for two days, earns Moscow a fossil award

Today's Fossil is awarded to Russia for blocking the start of the SBI through trying to alter the agenda. In Doha, Parties made progress on improving the environmental integrity of the Kyoto Protocol by getting rid of some of the hot air in the system. Yet, now Russia – who is not even a Party to the second commitment period of the Protocol – is all bent out of shape about how the decision was taken. Of course, having matters being formally adopted and adhering to the rules of procedure are very important elements in this process, however blocking the work of the SBI for two days is not the way to have this matter is resolved.  There has been an item on the COP agenda dealing with proposals regarding the rules of procedure for the past two years.  The SBI agenda is full of pressing issues that could also yield real emission reductions – like reforming JI and the CDM to ensure additionality or reviewing the adequacy of the long-term goal. So Russia why don’t you use that super power of yours to get the SBI back on track?!

 

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CANADA AND NEW ZEALAND TIE FOR THE INFAMOUS COLOSSAL FOSSIL 2012 AWARD

 

This year’s Fossil of the Year Award, The Colossal Fossil, goes to Canada and New Zealand! After a 5-year reign as the Colossal Fossil, it seems Canada is refusing to bow out gracefully into the irrelevance that comes with being an historic climate laggard. They, instead, stood strong for inaction throughout the UN climate talks, challenged only by the up and coming New Zealand.

Although Canada can share the honour for one more year, Fossil feels that Canada’s tar sands are, frankly, giving Canada an unfair advantage in this competition – Canada has been carbon doping!

For a country whose emissions are similar in scale to the Canadian tar sands, New Zealand has demonstrated exceptional blindness to scientific and political realities. Surprising many and disappointing all, New Zealand has fought hard to unseat 5-time Colossal Fossil winner, Canada, in a campaign of extreme selfishness and irresponsibility. While New Zealand may have helped drown the talks for another year, New Zealand's small and vulnerable Pacific neighbours should take heart that they have not been forgotten - New Zealand intends to drown them too.

 

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QATAR PRESIDENCY'S LACK OF LEADERSHIP AND EU'S DILLY-DALLYING ON HOT AIR TURNS INTO FOSSILS

 

The First Place Fossil goes to the [EU]. The EU receives a bracketed Fossil because we still have hope that the EU will stop being bullied by Poland and stand up for full cancellation of all hot air at the end of the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.

Before Durban, the EU talked about the importance of closing the gap. On Kyoto it said it can commit to a second commitment period, on the condition that there's a roadmap where the major emitters engage in a broader framework and where Kyoto rules are improved to ensure environmental integrity, specifically referring to the AAU surplus. However, the EU is still dilly-dallying. We need a strong EU position right now. If the EU fails to come to a sensible and joint position on the surplus, it will fail to be seen as serious in the ADP discussions to come. A political declaration is no option and a solution has to include a full cancellation of all surplus at the end of the second commitment period.

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Poland for a fossilized position on the hot air issue. They stubbornly insist on full carry-over and generous use in the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol while vehemently opposing cancellation of any hot air at the end of the that period. Poland’s Environment Minister even had the audacity to say in an recent DPA interview that Poland wants to keep their hot air because they believe they will be able to use it in a new agreement, post-2020. Note to the Polish delegation: defending your own interest does not build any confidence in you as the next COP president!

The Third Place Fossil goes to the COP18 Presidency of Qatar for their lack of leadership in pushing Ministers during roundtable discussions towards ambition in the ADP. As the hosts of this COP, the Presidency is required to facilitate a successful agreement to inject urgency in the talks for progress towards an ambitious legally binding deal.


Photo Credit: IndyACT

 

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US ACTIVELY BLOCKS HELP FOR CLIMATE VICTIMS WHILE JAPAN HAS GONE MISSING ON ITS EMISSIONS PLEDGE

 

The First Place Fossil goes to the US. The world's poorest and most vulnerable people, and many fragile and precious ecosystems, are already being hit by the devastating impacts of climate change. These poor countries and communities who are least responsible for the global climate crisis are the most vulnerable to it. Because of present and historic inaction by developed countries, we are currently heading towards the biggest social injustice of our time. Low mitigation ambition and low support for adaptation means high loss and damage in developing countries.

Establishing an International Mechanism on Loss and Damage here in Doha is vital to ensuring that the impacts of climate change, both extreme weather events and slow onset events, are dealt with. However, the US in particular, with support by Australia and Canada, is killing the issue by pushing for loss and damage to be dealt with under the Nairobi Work Program and Adaptation Committee.

All the parties here in Doha – including the US - must support the proposal by the G77, China, AOSIS, Africa Group and the LDC Group to establish an International Mechanism on Loss and Damage and continue the work program so other elements can progress.

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Japan for no pledge, no urgency, no money. Japan has failed to reconfirm its pledge to reduce emissions by 25% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels in the opening speech at the Minister's roundtable. In fact, the Minister did not mention any target at all! No Pledge.

Japan has completely ignored the core discussion here in Doha, which is how to raise the level of ambition to keep the temperature below 2 degrees. No Urgency.

Moreover, Japan has not brought any funding promises for climate finance over the next few years, which is desperately needed here. No Money. 

No pledge, no urgency and no money earns Japan the 2nd place Fossil, as they have seriously undermined the momentum of the negotiation by saying “No, No, No.”   

 

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PUTTING MONEY ON THE TABLE GETS A RAY FOR UK, WHILE A US PUSH FOR RULE WEAKENING IS FOSSIL-WORTHY

 

The First Place Fossil goes to the US for downgrading developed country MRV.  Comparability between those inside the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and those outside is essential to underpinning a regime built on trust and transparency. The US has been consistently blocking progress on MRV inside the Talks.  This is all the more strange because in Copenhagen the US pushed hard on China to be more robust in its accounting and reporting of emissions.  Now the tables have turned.  If the US is serious about a 2015 deal they need to count their carbon.  Their blocking is counter-intuitive.  The US has some of the most robust transparency and accounting procedures in the whole world, but simply has an allergy to replicating these at an international level.  The key to securing a global binding treaty is trust; the US knows more than anyone that transparency and accountability help reassure all countries that they each are all doing what they said they would.  What the US, and their minions, like Japan and Canada, are doing is corrupting their carbon accounting.

Ray of the Day goes to the United Kingdom for being the first mover on announcing post FSF pledge. The UK announced today its climate finance will be £1.8bn over the next two years, which is a 40% increase on FSF levels, with 50% of it being dedicated to adaptation. 

This announcement sets a constructive tone to the negotiations on finance here in Doha. We urge other developed countries to start putting money on the table and commit to post FSF going up not down. 

While this commitment is certainly noteworthy and welcome, in other circumstances it may not have met the "Ray of the Day's" stringent standards.

What makes it worthy of such a coveted recognition is that the UK government has gone first. Rather holding back its commitment to exact concessions from other Parties, the UK has done much to create a positive dynamic by putting it forward early in the Ministerial session, and with no apparent strings attached. We look forward to other donors coming forward in similar fashion over the next three days, and we think that this cooperative approach is one that all Parties should emulate.

Contact:

Ria Voorhaar

Communications Coordinator

Climate Action Network – International

rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org

Home mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

Local mobile: +974 33 38 6907

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of roughly 700 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

 

About Fossil: 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 Ray: 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.


 

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A SENSE OF FOSSIL DEJA VU AS NZ AND CANADA EARN AWARDS AGAIN

 

The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand because the NZ Environment Minister thinks NZ is ‘ahead of the curve’ in not signing up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. CAN knows the opposite is true. What the Minister fails to realize is that by refusing to sign up to the only international legally binding deal to reduce carbon pollution, New Zealand will become more and more irrelevant in shaping a post-2020 regime. The second commitment period is critical to maintaining the legal architecture and strengthening the rules of the future regime, post-2020.  It would have cost NZ zero to put in its weak pledge into a QELRO, but it stubbornly refused. All this shows is that NZ is becoming more and more like the ‘old’ Australia - cutting off its nose to spite its face.  New Zealand is abandoning its national interest for what? Look out Canada, you’ve got competition.

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Canada for serious ‘climate amnesia.’ Today Canada published a timeline of the past 3 years of their climate (in)action in an attempt to “clear the air” as it were, about whether or not Canada is committed to capping warming at 2 degrees. Unfortunately, they forgot to include their biggest, historic action when it comes to global climate commitments - making history as the first ever country to formally pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. Maybe Canada doesn’t want to admit they’ve pulled out, maybe a few too many barrels of bitumen were clouding their memory. After all, they are still negotiating on Kyoto until the end of this COP, despite walking away from any commitments they made. We know that you are modest, Canada, not a braggart when you are such a laggard, but a climate (in)action this big deserves recognition, and since Canada forgot to include it themselves, we wanted to make sure that they get credit where credit is due. Already recognized once today, as the worst developed nation in the Germanwatch/CAN-Europe Climate Change Performance Index, Canada truly earns this Fossil for having one of the most serious cases of climate amnesia we’ve ever seen. I mean really, if you can forget pulling out of Kyoto, who knows what’s next.

And the Ray of the Day goes to Monaco for their outstanding unconditional pledge of 30% emissions reductions by 2020. They are also fully committed and on track to complete their commitments from the first commitment period, and are urging others to make pledges as well. Monaco serves as a shining example that this COP needs, and this Ray is to encourage others to follow.

MORE FOSSILS FOR NEW ZEALAND, USA AND CANADA: ACCOUNTANTS NEEDED TO TALLY TOTALS

 


Photo Credit: CAN Europe

The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand and the USA for not wanting to advance common accounting rules here in Doha.  CAN was shocked in today’s spin off group on 1b1 when New Zealand had the gall to declare that countries will not agree on common accounting in Doha and thus a pragmatic approach would be to continue talking.  Oh New Zealand, if only that approach would work on climate change!!  But we all know, as Hurricane Sandy dramatically reminded us, climate change waits for no government. So the pragmatic approach would, in fact, be to finally agree that a tonne is a tonne is a tonne and all must be reduced!  The USA has long not moved on this issue and today’s session was no different. But as South Africa helpfully reminded us, it is no longer acceptable to just refer to the system as “rigorous, robust and transparent” but you actually need to agree on the rules to make that happen.  Time to get to work!

Canada wins the Second Place Fossil of the Day award. Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break? You have failed on Kyoto and you are embarrassing on mitigation, but it seems you will not be content until you hit rock bottom on finance too. You won a first place fossil two days ago for holding finance in the green climate fund hostage, and now we have confirmed you are also breaking with agreed practice when it comes to NAMA support.

By walking away from the agreement to provide information on support available for NAMAs in the Registry, as you indicated yesterday in the SBI, you are not only breaking promises but you are destroying trust. Canada, it is true that we gave up on you a long time ago, but we had hoped if you weren’t going to do anything about your emissions you would at least do your fair share to support those suffering from your soaring pollution.

Lets break it down:

Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break?
No money, no target, no pledges to make.
Mitigation? No way. Kyoto? Won't play.
GCF or NAMA no new money coming from our way.

Oh Canada, we thought you were done.
Promises broke, trust left with no-one,
Progress, you keep stalling. Your stock keeps on falling,
Positions on finance, mitigation, and more...frankly appalling

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