First Place Fossil Goes to the USA, while Saudi Arabia Earns Its 2nd Second Place Fossil

Photo Credit: Adopt a Negotiator

First place Fossil is awarded to the USA. There are three excellent reasons to award today's first prize Fossil to the United States:

First, recent news has surfaced that the US State Department has a bias towards carbon polluting pipelines--namely, the Keystone XL, which is a 1,700-mile fuse to the largest Carbon bomb on the planet, the Alberta tar sands. The State Department is currently conducting a review for the pipeline, but has been receiving significant counsel from the pipeline company's own lobbyists.

Exploiting the tar sands is a dangerous step in the wrong direction, and one that President Obama will decide upon before the year is out. This troubling relationship obscures the fact that saying no to Keystone XL is a positive step for the US to demonstrate seriousness in face of the climate crisis.

Given this bias, it's no wonder there is further cause to award the US a Fossil. In today’s LCA discussion on legal form, the U.S. expressed its unwillingness to reach agreement on a mandate.  To sum up, the US doesn't think the likely outcome would suit them, so they would rather not bother continuing the discussion. The US expressed that a strong mandate is in fact in the US interest, but expending the energy to reach it appears not to be.

Finally, yesterday's finance informal resulted in the US stating that no discussion of sources of finance should continue, but rather, proceed into the g20 as a venue. The US is only interested in discussing the standing committee--which is only one of four important areas of focus to ensure adequate financing. Innovative sources of financing are crucial and should be taken up here.

For these three reasons, we award the United States a first-prize Fossil.

Saudi Arabia gets the 2nd place Fossil of the Day for attempting to block the Chair of the Legal Options Informal Group from outlining the options on legal form.  Hmmm - let's go over that one, one more time - the Saudis do not want the Chair, who has been mandated by Parties to convene a group to talk about legal options, to talk about legal options??  Come on!  A mandate is a mandate and progress in this group on legal form is crucial to a successful outcome in Durban.  Luckily, the Chair is well aware of her mandate and will proceed with the discussions on options tomorrow.  Good on her!  A legally binding agreement is the highest form of commitment and with an issue as serious and as pressing as climate change, the highest form of commitment is sorely needed from all countries.  The first step to getting there and bridging the divide is to have a clear overview of the options currently on the table in terms of legal form and where countries stand on them.  We are looking forward to the continued discussions tomorrow, but without any further procedural shenanigans!

First Place Fossil Goes to the USA, while Saudi Arabia Earns Its Second Second Place Fossil

Photo Credit: Adopt a Negotiator


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                     4 October 2011
Panamá City, Panamá

Contact:
David Turnbull
dturnbull@climatenetwork.org
Home mobile: +12023162499
Local mobile: (+507) 64751851

First place Fossil is awarded to the USA. There are three excellent reasons to award today's first prize Fossil to the United States:

First, recent news has surfaced that the US State Department has a bias towards carbon polluting pipelines--namely, the Keystone XL, which is a 1,700-mile fuse to the largest Carbon bomb on the planet, the Alberta tar sands. The State Department is currently conducting a review for the pipeline, but has been receiving significant counsel from the pipeline company's own lobbyists.

Exploiting the tar sands is a dangerous step in the wrong direction, and one that President Obama will decide upon before the year is out. This troubling relationship obscures the fact that saying no to Keystone XL is a positive step for the US to demonstrate seriousness in face of the climate crisis.

Given this bias, it's no wonder there is further cause to award the US a Fossil. In today’s LCA discussion on legal form, the U.S. expressed its unwillingness to reach agreement on a mandate.  To sum up, the US doesn't think the likely outcome would suit them, so they would rather not bother continuing the discussion. The US expressed that a strong mandate is in fact in the US interest, but expending the energy to reach it appears not to be.

Finally, yesterday's finance informal resulted in the US stating that no discussion of sources of finance should continue, but rather, proceed into the g20 as a venue. The US is only interested in discussing the standing committee--which is only one of four important areas of focus to ensure adequate financing. Innovative sources of financing are crucial and should be taken up here.

For these three reasons, we award the United States a first-prize Fossil.

Saudi Arabia gets the 2nd place Fossil of the Day for attempting to block the Chair of the Legal Options Informal Group from outlining the options on legal form.  Hmmm - let's go over that one, one more time - the Saudis do not want the Chair, who has been mandated by Parties to convene a group to talk about legal options, to talk about legal options??  Come on!  A mandate is a mandate and progress in this group on legal form is crucial to a successful outcome in Durban.  Luckily, the Chair is well aware of her mandate and will proceed with the discussions on options tomorrow.  Good on her!  A legally binding agreement is the highest form of commitment and with an issue as serious and as pressing as climate change, the highest form of commitment is sorely needed from all countries.  The first step to getting there and bridging the divide is to have a clear overview of the options currently on the table in terms of legal form and where countries stand on them.  We are looking forward to the continued discussions tomorrow, but without any further procedural shenanigans!

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of roughly 700 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) 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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Increasing Ambition & Common Accounting – What are you Waiting for?

As negotiations have now gone into a somewhat un-transparent mode, ECO had little choice but to catch delegates on their way out of the developed country mitigation informal yesterday – and was pleasantly surprised that indeed Parties used the session to address two of the elephants in the room – the lack of ambition of developed countries’ pledges, and the need for common accounting rules. It came as no surprise that while almost everyone recognized the latter, a few considered that such accounting would pose inconvenient hurdles they weren’t ready to take. This “unhelpfully resisting the numbers,” as one delegate put it after the session, doesn’t strike ECO as particularly plausible for a country that in other circumstances insists on level playing fields (when it suits them).

 ECO was pleased to hear the EU referring to its submission on options for increasing ambition. Their proposal indeed contains a useful list to start with. However, the most obvious “option” for the EU does not require a submission but bold action – upping its own target to 30% reductions by 2020. One (large) developed country has been reported to have suggested that the meeting was not the place to discuss increasing ambition by developed countries. If not here, then where, wonders ECO. Yet, there has been no lack of ideas to increase ambition. ECO cannot resist to line them up into four broad steps, as a service to the hurried negotiator and to help the upcoming next informal meeting today:

Step 1would seek full clarity on developed countries’ net domestic emissions in 2020 resulting from current pledges, based on assumptions on LULUCF accounting, AAU carry-over, or the use of carbon offsets.

Step 2would close the damn loopholes. For instance, LULUCF rules would use historic reference levels rather than some bogus projections into the future; AAU carry-over would be limited and no new hot air allowed to enter the system – you get the picture.

Step 3would move developed countries to the high end of their pledges as a first step. Where needed, countries would clarify (a) what part of the conditions have been met so far and (b) what would fulfill the remaining conditions.

And finally, Step 4, developed countries would go beyond the high end of their current pledges to get them into the 25-40% IPCC range, and then (double-check with them if they are still up for 2°C) to at least 40% cuts by 2020. Difficult? Ask Denmark.

Japan Takes First Place Fossil Of The Day Award At Panamá Climate Talks, While Denmark Receives The Ray Of The Day

First place Fossil is awarded to Japan. About 7 months ago, Japan experienced one of the most dreadful tragedies in the country's history. The country is still in the process of recovering from the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami. The nuclear accident in Fukushima certainly destroyed the myth that nuclear power is safe and clean. And yet, the country seems to have failed to learn an important lesson from the accident. In the KP spin-off group meeting yesterday, the country again rejected to drop the option to include nuclear in CDM. The position was also supported by India. This means the country still wants to export the technology that brought tremendous hardship upon its own nation to developing countries and then earn credits from this.
It is inappropriate, irresponsible and even morally wrong, given the fact that the Fukushima reactors are still in a very dangerous situation and the residents are still in heavily contaminated areas. In addition, the technology does not fit one of the dual objectives of CDM, which is to contribute to sustainable development. We sincerely hope the country come to sense, drop the proposal and work "against" it.

Saudi Arabia gets the 2nd place Fossil of the Day for insisting on the inclusion of response measures in the negotiation-text of the Adaptation Committee. Setting up negotiation chips is one thing, but using the same (wrong) old story again and again is another. Adaptation is not the place to negotiate response measures. Saudi Arabia we want change.

The Danish government announcement to reduce the Danish emissions 40% by year in 2020 earns Denmark the Ray of the Day. NGOs from around the world greeted this announcement with joy and excitement, “a new page has turned in Denmark’s climate politics. From now on when we say ‘Denmark’ we will smile. When before - we did not.” Also worth noting is that the brand new Danish government, as one of the first acts, sacked Bjorn Lomborg from his post as a government advisor. We hope that this also marks a new dawn for the EU’s delayed effort to move to a 30% target and will be followed up by other countries upping their pledges to the higher end of their range as Durban approaches.
 

Photo Credit: Adopt a Negotiator

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