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.