Tag: Fossil Awards

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.


Fossil #2: Russian Federation

Russia received the 2nd Place Fossil for very significant weakening of its emissions reduction commitment from 25% to 15% of 1990 levels if land use, land use change and forestry (LULUCF) is not counted. The Russian president announced the 25% target as unconditional, but the Russian delegation converted this to being conditional in yesterday’s Numbers+LULUCF contact  group. In addition, Russia’s proposal to account for LULUCF would  hide huge quantities of emissions.

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Fossil #1: Saturday
 United States

The US earns the Fossil of the Day for blocking the common space discussion on mitigation in the Ad Hoc Working Group for Long-term Cooperative Action yesterday.  Failing to pass a strong climate and energy bill is keeping them from participating in cross-cutting discussions, like the one AOSIS proposed, to build a post-2012 agreement to reduce global warming emissions.

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Fossil #1: Monday

Canada was awarded First Place. Canada earns a Fossil of the Day for reducing its mitigation commitment after Copenhagen to the same level pledged by the United States of America. This January, Canada scrapped a 2020 target equivalent to 3% below 1990 in favour of one equivalent to 3% above 1990, using the rationale of following the U.S. Canada is endangering progress on post-Copenhagen targets by acting like the 51st US state.

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Fossil #2: Monday 
Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia was awarded Second Place. Saudi Arabia earns a Fossil for being the only country trying to block discussion of bunker fuels. Speaking in this morning’s LCA contact group on sectoral approaches, Saudi Arabia asked the chair not to bring forward any text on reducing emissions from international aviation and shipping fuels and warned her that discussions on this issue ‘would be futile’.  No prizes for guessing who will try to wreck that debate.

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Fossil of the Day Awards, 14 December 2009

First Place – United States

The US won its first fossil of the COP yesterday 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 toreduce their own emissions even further. Second, because the US – far and away the biggest cumulative emitter of global warming pollution in world history – has among the weakest mid-term emission 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?

Second Place – The EU

The EU won second-place fossil dishonours 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.

Third Place – Canada and Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia and Canada received the third place fossil for their respective last and second-last place finish in the Climate Change Performance Index released yesterday by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe. The Index evaluates 57 industrial and developing countries which 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.

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