Fossil Awards Day 9: US Continues its “Winning Streak” and Loser Status for the “X Factor”

Last week at the UN climate talks in Copenhagen, America was able to make it through six straight days of negotiations without a single award. This week, it seems like they’re trying to make up for it with their shameful actions. Today, they take home first prize for the third day in a row, this time for muddying the waters around mitigation targets. The United States has inserted a proposed “X %” as an alternative to the science based targets currently in the text. When it comes to targets, we need numbers, not letters.

Today’s second place Fossil of the Day Award goes to the Umbrella Group for blocking progress towards a Fair, Ambitious and Binding Agreement by refusing to commit to the critical long term finance required. Developing countries are ready to act on a path of climate protection and are the ones that will be hit the hardest by the impacts of climate change. They need a helping hand and the Umbrella Group should be leading the way.

SECOND: Umbrella Group
To the Umbrella Group, for coming up empty on long-term financing just when these talks need it most. It doesn't get much more anemic than today's umbrella group statement on long-term finance, which contained not a single number -- but did prominently feature the role of carbon markets. The Umbrella Group represents all of the industrialized Annex 1 countries other than the European Union and refused to provide developing countries with the support they need through long term finance agreements. Umbrellas: Copenhagen needs you to step up and recognize a scale of public financing in line with what's really needed, and to tell us how you plan to provide that support. It's way too late for vague platitudes.

FIRST: United States
In a truly remarkable tour de farce, the United States picks up its THIRD STRAIGHT, First Place Fossil of the Day Award. And they had done such a good job last week with their clean Fossil record. This First Place Fossil Award is bestowed upon the United States for having inserted a proposed “X %” as an alternative to the science based targets currently in the text. This mysterious “X” would represent voluntary pledges by parties in the agreement, replacing concrete binding emissions reductions. At a time when critical action and strong, concrete terms are what’s needed most, the US is proposing we move as far as possible in the other direction. One superlative deserves another, so we thought it fitting that the US ends up with highest dishonor given to the government that does the most to block progress towards achieving the Fair, Ambitious and Binding Treaty that the world expects. A hearty un-congratulations to you.

Video: Day 8

Video: Day 7

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[caption id="attachment_240" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Eu, Canada and Saudi Arabia accepting their fossils"]CAN Fossil of the Day[/caption]
[caption id="attachment_240" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Eu, Canada and Saudi Arabia accepting their fossils"]CAN Fossil of the Day[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_241" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Mayor Miller of Toronto accepts Canada's fossil"]mayor[/caption]

[caption id="attachment_242" align="alignnone" width="500" caption="Scoreboard!"]scoreboard[/caption]

Day 8: US 1st AND 3rd for Blocking 'Bunker Finance' and Sinking Redd


THIRD: US and Colombia Colombia and the United States received the 3rd place Fossil of the Day award for moving the process backwards on the REDD text. Instead of deleting and merging text, Colombia and the US added and divided text. In the space of one evening, they expanded a 3 page text on REDD to a 7 page text, which led to a chain reaction of text edits and expansion, preventing the text from reaching ministers. Overall, there was a softening in the text--a big step backwards for what has been, up to now, a fairly positive process on REDD at COP15. While we want to get this car into gear, reverse wasn’t the gear we were thinking of. SECOND: Canada For lying to Canadians, to negotiators and to the rest of the world, Canada is awarded a 2nd place Fossil of the Day award. Leaked Cabinet documents from Canada’s Environment Minister, Jim Prentice, show that Canada has absolutely no intention of meeting its 2020 target. Instead, the government plans to fry Canadians and the planet by letting oil and gas emissions rise another 37% above current levels by 2020. The leaked plan is three times softer on big polluters like the tar sands than the government’s last kid-gloves approach. Canada's promise of an absolute reduction of 3% below 1990 levels – so often repeated to negotiators here – has been revealed as an outright lie. Canada has seldom filled us with hope at these climate talks, but even we expected better than this pathetic deception. It’s time to start writing climate policy for Canadians and the world, not for the tar sands. FIRST: United States After staying clean during all of last week, The United States took home another first place Fossil of the Day Award today. This one is for being the only industrialized country to block 'bunker finance' -- the idea that you could pass measures that cut emissions from international aviation and shipping ('bunker fuels', in the UN jargon), and in doing so raise revenues to fund adaptation and mitigation in developing countries. It's hard to see what's not to like in this idea -- you tackle the fastest-growing sources of emissions, and turn them into money to help poor countries in the fight against climate change. Over the last few months, every other industrialised country, even Canada, has come around to the idea. It's high time the US put some long-term finance on the table, and this is one blindingly obvious way of doing so.

Day 7: USA Wins First Place Fossil for Weak Target, No Cash

The USA wins its first Fossil of the COP for two reasons: first, for making absolutely no commitment on long-term financing for developing countries to cope with the impacts of climate change and reduce their own emissions even further, a failure that could sink the talks. Second, because the US--far and away the biggest cumulative emitter of global warming pollution in world history--has among the weakest mid-term emissions targets of any major developed country, a laughable 4% below 1990 levels by 2020. Will US negotiators ignore the interests of their own children and the poorest nations on the planet? Or will they bring the US into the community of nations, rich and poor alike, rising to the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced? US, all eyes on you: is it Hopenhagen or Brokenhagen?

The EU wins second-place Fossil dishonors for failing to address a gaping loophole that undermines its targets: hot air and forest management. Allowing full carry-over past 2012 of Europe's hot air--that is, targets based on 1990 levels that in fact allow huge increases in emissions--could allow 11 gigatonnes of carbon emissions. Europe's flagging credibility as a climate leader could crumble completely if this hot air loophole is not closed -- and all of the EU member states are responsible.

Saudi Arabia and Canada receive the third place fossil of the day for their respective last and second-last finish in the Climate Change Performance Index released today by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe. The Index evaluates 57 industrial and developing countries who release 90% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Saudi Arabia’s record speaks for itself. Canada only finished second-last because Saudi Arabia received a zero rating for its climate policy! Canada is in the world’s top ten emitters, has one of the world’s highest per capita rates of emissions at 23 tonnes per person, and is 34% above its Kyoto target (which is just a modest 6% cut from 1990). Simply put: on climate change, Canada has performance issues.