Fossil of the day

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.

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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!

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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. 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. 

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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. 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.

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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. 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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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.  

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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.

 

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Australia awarded Fossil of the Day at UN Climate Talks for Trying to Reconvene Flat Earth Society

June 10 2014, Bonn - Germany: CAN bestows the first Fossil Award of the Bonn UNFCCC negotiation session to Australia in recognition of Prime Minister Tony Abbott's stupendously brazen denial of the catastrophic risks posed by climate change in his effort to form an alliance of "like minded" countries opposed to action on climate change, already dubbed by some as a new "flat earth society."   
 
News accounts report that the Minister has enjoined Canada in his new coalition and is reaching out to other countries including the UK and India "aiming to dismantle global moves to introduce carbon pricing."  
 
CAN salutes the Abbott's commitment and consistency in his willful blindness to the catastrophic economic costs incurred by climate change. 
 
He has also recently announced his intention to keep climate change out of the upcoming G20 talks hosted by Australia arguing that  climate change is inappropriate because such talks are primarily about economics.  
 
Prime Minister Abbott must have missed the IPCC memo which spells out that climate change is the economic problem facing our age - it's already costing us, but it doesn't cost the earth to save the world. 
 
He is clearly looking for recognition of his visionary approach to climate change, and CAN is proud to be among the first to step out and congratulate his dedication to the fossilized past.  [In case you were wondering – no, this isn't a joke.  Abbott has really done this.  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction.]
 
 
Notes to Editors: 
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 human induced 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
 
 
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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. 

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