Fossil of the Day

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Lame Danes Win Fossil for Undermining Ambition

COP21 Fossil of the Day 4 Winner: Demark

Today’s Fossil of the Day Award goes to...Denmark! In the not too distant past Denmark was an inspiration for many - setting ambitious targets and rolling out wind energy. But today we are not talking about great Danes, we are talking about lame Danes, because today the Danish government are aiming to cut climate targets and shrink climate finance contributions.

The new, minority, Liberal government of Denmark got into power in July and clearly thought there was too much climate leadership going on. So they decided to dial it down, right down.

As negotiators in Paris work to deliver a durable and ambitious climate regime - the Danish Environment Minister, Lars Christian Lilleholt, declared he is in favour of scrapping his country’s ambitious national carbon reduction target of 40% by 2020. Signalling his government’s intent to put the handbrake on as other countries around the world gear up to accelerate the transition to a renewable energy future.

While looking to cut their own ambition, the Danish government also seems to want to restrict the ambition of less wealthy nations too. The new government has a steady stranglehold on climate finance - squeezing the budget from an initial 500 million Danish Krone, which is around 72 million US dollars, to a projected 39 million US dollars next year. That is hardly enough to buy a coffee in Copenhagen!

Contact: Mark Raven, Communications Coordinator, Climate Action Network-International

mraven@climatenetwork.org

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 115 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. 

This years Fossil of the Day Award ceremony is brought to you by host and comedian Dan Ilic and WoodyTV

Climate Vulnerable Forum Shines with Bold Call for 100% Renewable Energy

COP21: The Second Ever 'Ray of the Day'

To be fossil worthy you must be cowardly, you must shake with a limp wrist SO we’re not giving out a fossil today, instead we’re giving a Ray of the Day and despite the name we do not give them out everyday.

The Ray is a rare thing it’s only given out when extra-ordinary things happen. Last night at 6pm, there was a high level meeting of 43 nations from the Climate Vulnerable Forum and where they made a bold, ambitious declaration to do something amazing. These countries that are the most vulnerable have decided to not play the victim, but instead show the kind of leadership that the rest of the world can learn from.

The Climate Vulnerable Forum have declared that they support a Paris agreement that aims to achieve full decarbonisation of our economies, so they can run their countries on 100% renewable energy, by mid century 2050! They are leading the way in setting course for a safer world, with only 1.5 degrees of global warming. As well as demanding proper support for communities hit hardest by climate impacts.

This declaration is so big, so bold, that it makes lots of the other countries...look like fossils.

Let’s hear it for the countries of the Climate Vulnerable Forum!

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 950 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 115 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. 

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Dead Heat in First Fossil of the Day Awards of the Paris Climate Summit

As world leaders up the ante on the opening day of the Paris Climate Summit, the first place Fossil of the Day award is a double-act. New Zealand claim a top spot for rather hilariously, or not, urging countries to phase out fossil fuel subsidies while shelling out big bucks to prop up fossil fuel production to the tune of $80 million.

Prime Minister John Key showed a degree of hypocrisy by claiming, at a Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform event, that New Zealand is a leader on fossil fuel subsidy abolition - despite the country’s fossil fuel production subsidies have increasing seven-fold since his election in 2008. His phoney grandstanding came just a week after claiming that New Zealand ‘doesn't need to be and shouldn't be a leader in climate change’. Are you getting mixed signals too? Or is it just us?

Joining New Zealand on the winners podium (drum roll please) for a first placed Fossil Award is Belgium! With environmental leadership as murky as a tall glass of weisse beer it's four governments from four different parties are still bickering over how to implement the existing EU climate and energy package from 2009, ensuring they were too busy to even consider doing the work necessary to prepare for the Paris Climate Summit.

Today Belgium is one of the few EU countries lagging behind on their carbon pollution reduction and renewable energy targets. There is such a severe state of gridlock in the Belgian environment office it's as if the minister ate 5 boxes of Guylian Chocolates in one sitting. Because of this blockage on a Belgian climate agreement the country also lags behind in providing sufficient and durable climate finance.

For Belgium... the train has left the station for COP21 - literally. This weekend the Environment Minister missed the train to Paris. Why? Because the government was negotiating the restarting of old nuclear power plants that were canned over a year ago. Way to go Belgium…backwards.

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Three strikes and you’re out!

Strike One! Today’s first place fossil goes to Japan for their extremely weak INDC, for using smoke and mirrors (shifting baselines) to fake ambition, and for having the audacity to claim this is in-step with developed country 80% by 2050 targets. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe will present this weak excuse for an INDC - which equates to an 18% cut on 1990 levels - to G7 leaders this weekend, where he will presumably try to pull the wool over their eyes too. This INDC is not ambitious or fair.
 
Strike Two! The second fossil award goes to Japan for blocking a proposal from G7 countries that would help development aid and banks work in line with efforts to prevent global temperatures rising beyond the 2C degree threshold. Seriously, does Japan want to lead us towards a world with catastrophic levels of warming?
 
Strike Three! Japan wins the third fossil for funding carbon intensive coal projects in developing countries. Despite growing criticisms from international community - Japan was awarded a fossil in Lima for this dastardly behaviour - it continues to do so. As long as Japan keeps its dirty coal policy, the fossil awards will keep coming. Japan should be funding renewable energy solutions, not dirty coal.
 
You’re out! Japan get’s THREE fossil awards
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Umbrella and LMDC countries take fossil for failing on concept of “negotiation”

UN Climate Negotiations are a marathon, not a sprint - as we are enter the final lap here in Lima our last Fossil of the Day award goes to the Umbrella and LMDC groups of countries who are trying to take us all on a race to the bottom. At this crucial moment Umbrella and LMDC groups are taking extreme positions, avoiding crucial political discussions, and refusing to engage with proposals on the table. We are at a moment in the negotiations where countries need to show political leadership, to rise above narrow self-interest and make progress towards decisions that are for the larger, global good. 

Today’s second place Fossil is jointly awarded to Ukraine, Russia and Belarus for holding up an agreement on the Doha amendment that now means the KP rules for the second commitment period will be postponed until Paris. These unlikely allies have kicked the can down the road instead of achieving and important goal here in Lima. What is particularly frustrating is that Belarus and Russia barely engaged, for such minimal input they have allied with Ukraine to cause one massive headache for the rest of us.

Our third place Fossil of the Day goes to Canada who have managed to fly under the radar here in Lima, despite plenty of underhand work stalling the talks and refusing to make any commitments. Canadian negotiators have told observers on the ground in Lima they’re on track to meet 2020 emissions reductions targets - this is a bald-faced lie. Back at home the Canadian government keep pushing to expand the oil industry like its 1899! Pipe-down Canada. 

Our final and most infamous award is the Final Fossil of the day at COP20!

This year’s Fossil of the Year Award, goes to Australia who take the Colossal Fossil award for collecting more Fossil awards than any other country here at COP20. From the get-go Australia signalled they were not coming here to make progress towards a comprehensive international climate agreement. This was pretty clear when they sent a climate sceptic Trade Minister Andrew Robb along to “chaperone” Foreign Minister Julie Bishop into a negotiating dead-end. The delegation in Lima has been dragging down loss & damage, flip-flopping on climate finance, and making bizarre comments that reveal a warped perspective on climate action. Shape up Australia, you are making Canada look good!

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.

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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.

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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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