Tag: Fossil fo the Day

Fossil of the Day-Nov 18

The COP host, Poland, earns today’s First Place Fossil for aggressively promoting coal.

The Polish government is endorsing the International Coal and Climate Summit. The Polish Ministry of Economy and the World Coal Association developed "The Warsaw Communiqué", a statement claiming “there is a misconception that the use of coal is incompatible with meeting the challenge of climate change”, contrary to the fact that coal combustion is the largest contributor to the human-made increase of CO2 in the Earth’s atmosphere.

As the UNFCCC executive secretary Christiana Figueres said at the summit today, most of the known reserves of coal will have to stay in the ground if we are to secure a safe climate.

Also, today 27 scientists released a joint statement discrediting "high efficiency coal" promoted at the coal summit. The scientists confirm that the unabated burning of coal will make it impossible to secure a safe climate.

Poland could halve its coal demand, boost energy from renewable sources to over 25 per cent and create 100,000 jobs by 2030, but instead, the government plans to increase Poland's emissions even after 2020 . . .

 

Read complete Fossil texts at www.climatenetwork.org/fossil-of-the-day

Photo: David Tong, Adopt A Negotiator

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New Zealand Earns First Place Fossil, United States and Canada Share “Colossal Fossil”

Durban, South Africa –  At the final day of the United Nations climate negotiations for 2011, countries received their biggest shaming yet for blocking greater progress in the talks. With the final outcome of negotiations not yet decided, it was at least clear enough which nations had done their worst in the last day and the entire two weeks. New Zealand took the infamous 1st prize for its strongest statement yet against continuing Kyoto. But Canada earned yet another Colossal Fossil for scoring the most dirty points at these negotiations, though they earned isolation and a minute of silence more than another fossilized award. Instead, the United States of America took the Colossal Fossil, too, for coming in second place in overall Fossil points and showing serious lack of action for such a major polluter. The Fossils as presented read:

“New Zealand wins the 1st place Fossil. The New Zealand government got a Fossil this week for severely mixed messages about its Kyoto Protocol 2nd Commitment Period stance. This time, it made it clear, describing Kyoto as 'actually an insult to New Zealand'. The only insult is to the citizens of New Zealand and the rest of the world, who will have to suffer the costs of climate change.”

“Canada wins a Colossal Fossil by mathematical majority. The Canadian government has made headlines and earned criticism from the international community in Durban for refusing to sign onto a second Kyoto commitment period, calling critical climate financing 'guilt payments', and bullying least developed countries into leaving the Kyoto Protocol. And over the two week negotiation period, Canada has won a staggering total of 6 Fossil of the Day awards. Mathematically, they are the undisputed winner of the 2011 Colossal Fossil award.

But when environment minister Peter Kent announced Canada’s third fossil of COP 17 on the floor of the House of Commons, members of his Conservative government cheered and applauded. The minister brought that reckless arrogance with him to Durban, where he’s maintained a hard line and refused to budge on a second commitment period under the Kyoto Protocol and fought hard to put polluters before people.

Canada remains the only country in the world to have weakened its emissions targets after returning from COP 15 in Copenhagen and the only country to have signed and ratified the Kyoto protocol and then say that it has no intention of meeting its targets. The Government killed the only major federal renewable energy program in the country while plowing over 1 billion dollars a year of subsidies into the oil sector.

The Government’s lack of ambition or action to combat climate change is no laughing matter. Climate change is one of the most serious issues that humanity has ever faced, and it is already affecting millions of people – including vulnerable communities in Canada.

(minute of silence)

While a colossal fossil might be a fitting reward for such egregious behaviour, we’d prefer to confer that title on a country whose actions are still having an effect on the negotiations taking place, and not a laggard who’s been pushed to the sidelines of this debate. Until Canada is prepared to become a real leader on climate change, it’s time to turn our backs on the government’s policies and move on with a coalition of the willing built from people, cities and provinces that understand the urgent need for action.”

“And so, the United States of America wins a Colossal Fossil for sheer (un)ambition. For a country that in 2009 claimed to come back to the negotiations full of hope and change, it has mostly just brought more of the same – no commitments, no Kyoto, plenty of rhetoric, and minimal money. Whether because of a conservative Congress or an administration that hid behind it when its President and negotiators could have done more, we can only 'hope' that the U.S.A. 'changes' its stance and doesn't spend the next 4 years earning Colossal Fossils like Canada spent the last 4. This is not the kind of international cooperation CAN had in mind.”

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United States Takes Two Fossils for Failing to Commit and Blocking Climate Finance

Durban, South Africa – It was a dark day for the United States of America, as it took the first and second place Fossil of the Day awards for stalling on legally binding commitments and blocking immediate financing for climate change-vulnerable countries. The Fossils as presented read:

"The United States of America wins the 2nd place Fossil. The U.S. supported the deletion of Fast Start Finance paragraphs (Paragraph 18 and 19) from the updated amalgamated Long-Term Cooperative Action text. This implies that they are not serious about the past commitments made by their head of states on provision of finance to the most vulnerable countries to cope with the impacts of climate change. Not only is it a breach of trust, but also shows lack of leadership from them to take climate action seriously."

"The United States of America earns the 1st place Fossil. The US is in complete denial – other country delegates inside the Indaba could not believe their interventions. Having put forward a proposal for a treaty before Copenhagen, the US now seems to have taken a complete u-turn on the issue of legally binding commitments. We are just at the start of a 'critical decade' (according to a United Nations Environment Programme report) in which we must increase ambition, peak and decline and the USA – the largest historical emitter – turns up with a mandate to only discuss commitments in the next decade. 9 more years of talks? This is completely irresponsible as this is only making other high emitters sit back and do nothing."

 

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Canada wins a fossil of the day award for being flexible when it comes to facts, but not when it comes to their Kyoto stance

Durban, South Africa – Canada wins a first place Fossil of the Day Award. Canada’s position has been clear when it comes to Kyoto – without movement from large industrializing emitters, Canada will not budge. Over the weekend you may say that China called this bluff by announcing openness to a more flexible position at the climate talks. Unfortunately, it seems Canada is not prepared to live up to its end of the bargain – with the Minister saying that even if China moves, Canada’s position is set in stone.
 
In addition to having this fossilized position – Canada’s minister also seems a bit confused in his messaging, saying that all major emitters have to be on board in order to, “prevent global warming hitting or exceeding two per cent.” Two per cent? Two degrees? Facts don’t seem to matter when your mandate is to protect polluters and not people.
 
Perhaps the Minister has confused two degrees with two percent because one of this government’s top lines to avoid action is to say they are only responsible for two per cent of global emissions. Important to note is that Canada is in the top ten global emitters no matter how you cut it: per capita, absolute and historically.


Photo credit: Sarah Rifaat

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