Fossil of the Day

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Fossil of the Day - Day 8 at COP18 in Doha, Qatar


The First Place Fossil goes to the US for downgrading developed country MRV.  Comparability between those inside the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol and those outside is essential to underpinning a regime built on trust and transparency. The US has been consistently blocking progress on MRV inside the Talks.  This is all the more strange because in Copenhagen the US pushed hard on China to be more robust in its accounting and reporting of emissions.  Now the tables have turned.  If the US is serious about a 2015 deal they need to count their carbon.  Their blocking is counter-intuitive.  The US has some of the most robust transparency and accounting procedures in the whole world, but simply has an allergy to replicating these at an international level.  The key to securing a global binding treaty is trust; the US knows more than anyone that transparency and accountability help reassure all countries that they each are all doing what they said they would.  What the US, and their minions, like Japan and Canada, are doing is corrupting their carbon accounting.

Ray of the Day goes to the United Kingdom for being the first mover on announcing post FSF pledge. The UK announced today its climate finance will be £1.8bn over the next two years, which is a 40% increase on FSF levels, with 50% of it being dedicated to adaptation. 

This announcement sets a constructive tone to the negotiations on finance here in Doha. We urge other developed countries to start putting money on the table and commit to post FSF going up not down. 

While this commitment is certainly noteworthy and welcome, in other circumstances it may not have met the "Ray of the Day's" stringent standards.

What makes it worthy of such a coveted recognition is that the UK government has gone first. Rather holding back its commitment to exact concessions from other Parties, the UK has done much to create a positive dynamic by putting it forward early in the Ministerial session, and with no apparent strings attached. We look forward to other donors coming forward in similar fashion over the next three days, and we think that this cooperative approach is one that all Parties should emulate.


Ria Voorhaar

Communications Coordinator

Climate Action Network – International

Home mobile: +49 157 3173 5568

Local mobile: +974 33 38 6907


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. 


About Fossil: 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 (, 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.


About Ray: CAN gives out the 'Ray of The Day' award to the countries who are a ray of hope over the past days of negotiations at the UN climate change conference.





Fossil of the Day - Day 7 COP18


The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand because the NZ Environment Minister thinks NZ is ‘ahead of the curve’ in not signing up to a second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. CAN knows the opposite is true. What the Minister fails to realize is that by refusing to sign up to the only international legally binding deal to reduce carbon pollution, New Zealand will become more and more irrelevant in shaping a post-2020 regime. The second commitment period is critical to maintaining the legal architecture and strengthening the rules of the future regime, post-2020.  It would have cost NZ zero to put in its weak pledge into a QELRO, but it stubbornly refused. All this shows is that NZ is becoming more and more like the ‘old’ Australia - cutting off its nose to spite its face.  New Zealand is abandoning its national interest for what? Look out Canada, you’ve got competition.

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Canada for serious ‘climate amnesia.’ Today Canada published a timeline of the past 3 years of their climate (in)action in an attempt to “clear the air” as it were, about whether or not Canada is committed to capping warming at 2 degrees. Unfortunately, they forgot to include their biggest, historic action when it comes to global climate commitments - making history as the first ever country to formally pull out of the Kyoto Protocol. Maybe Canada doesn’t want to admit they’ve pulled out, maybe a few too many barrels of bitumen were clouding their memory. After all, they are still negotiating on Kyoto until the end of this COP, despite walking away from any commitments they made. We know that you are modest, Canada, not a braggart when you are such a laggard, but a climate (in)action this big deserves recognition, and since Canada forgot to include it themselves, we wanted to make sure that they get credit where credit is due. Already recognized once today, as the worst developed nation in the Germanwatch/CAN-Europe Climate Change Performance Index, Canada truly earns this Fossil for having one of the most serious cases of climate amnesia we’ve ever seen. I mean really, if you can forget pulling out of Kyoto, who knows what’s next.

And the Ray of the Day goes to Monaco for their outstanding unconditional pledge of 30% emissions reductions by 2020. They are also fully committed and on track to complete their commitments from the first commitment period, and are urging others to make pledges as well. Monaco serves as a shining example that this COP needs, and this Ray is to encourage others to follow.



Photo Credit: CAN Europe

The First Place Fossil goes to New Zealand and the USA for not wanting to advance common accounting rules here in Doha.  CAN was shocked in today’s spin off group on 1b1 when New Zealand had the gall to declare that countries will not agree on common accounting in Doha and thus a pragmatic approach would be to continue talking.  Oh New Zealand, if only that approach would work on climate change!!  But we all know, as Hurricane Sandy dramatically reminded us, climate change waits for no government. So the pragmatic approach would, in fact, be to finally agree that a tonne is a tonne is a tonne and all must be reduced!  The USA has long not moved on this issue and today’s session was no different. But as South Africa helpfully reminded us, it is no longer acceptable to just refer to the system as “rigorous, robust and transparent” but you actually need to agree on the rules to make that happen.  Time to get to work!

Canada wins the Second Place Fossil of the Day award. Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break? You have failed on Kyoto and you are embarrassing on mitigation, but it seems you will not be content until you hit rock bottom on finance too. You won a first place fossil two days ago for holding finance in the green climate fund hostage, and now we have confirmed you are also breaking with agreed practice when it comes to NAMA support.

By walking away from the agreement to provide information on support available for NAMAs in the Registry, as you indicated yesterday in the SBI, you are not only breaking promises but you are destroying trust. Canada, it is true that we gave up on you a long time ago, but we had hoped if you weren’t going to do anything about your emissions you would at least do your fair share to support those suffering from your soaring pollution.

Lets break it down:

Oh Canada. When will you give fossil a break?
No money, no target, no pledges to make.
Mitigation? No way. Kyoto? Won't play.
GCF or NAMA no new money coming from our way.

Oh Canada, we thought you were done.
Promises broke, trust left with no-one,
Progress, you keep stalling. Your stock keeps on falling,
Positions on finance, mitigation, and more...frankly appalling


A Hot Blast of Hot Air from Doha Delivers Fossils to Poland and Russia

Fossil of the Day - Day 4 of COP18 in Doha, Qatar


The First Place Fossil is awarded to Poland. Back home in Poland, Environment Minister Korolec, revealed the country's position on the Doha talks -  claiming the carryover of AAU credits is NOT a priority issue, but that the length of the second commitment period and the obligations contained in the Kyoto Protocol are. We should remind the minister that carryover of AAUs influences the level of ambition in CP2. 

Moreover, Poland does not want to give up even one tonne of their huge surplus of AAU emission allowances to contribute to the environmental integrity. Why? Warsaw believes their AAU surplus is a strictly national issue. Hello…!! Carbon emissions know no national borders and the issue is a key element of the CP2 negotiations!

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to Russia. The Russian vice Prime Minister confirmed on Wednesday following ministerial talks that the country will not sign on to the Second Commitment Period of the Kyoto Protocol. Next week, Russia will announce its emissions reduction targets, but they will not be attributed to the Second Commitment Period, which Russia strongly opposes. This also means that Russia will lose the chance to take part in JI (Joint Implementation) projects in the future, something that the country was striving to be involved with. This will have a negative effect on both the economy and low-carbon development in Russia.

Photo Credit: Miljømagasinet Putsj/Vilde Blix Huseby

Fossil bounty for backtracking Canada and New Zealand


The First Place Fossil is awarded to Canada, who has capped support rather than emissions. Newsflash! This just in from the Canadian Environment Minister! Developing countries need to just take a deep breath and wait until we have an all-in global deal before they should expect any support from Canada to move towards a clean energy future through the Green Climate Fund. In talking to reporters yesterday, Canada’s environment minister took a moment to tell journalists that he would ‘make it clear’ at the meetings in Doha that developing countries shouldn’t expect more money towards climate financing from Canada, because after all, Doha “isn’t a pledging conference.”
Thanks for clearing that up, Minister! We are sure that that will do wonders for your stellar credibility and reputation at these talks. Thankfully the Minister IS coming to Doha with at least one commitment: Canada is still firmly committed that tar sands emissions will rise far beyond the 2 degree climate limit.
World to Canada: You are supposed to be ramping finance up and emissions down; not the other way around!”

The Second Place Fossil of the Day goes to New Zealand, again, because not only did Wellington deliberately decide not to put its target into the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol, but today proposed that access to the CDM should be open to all and should not depend on whether a country is signing up to a second commitment period. To make it clear, New Zealand pointed out that otherwise the Adaptation Fund will not have enough money to keep functioning. Come on Kiwis, forget about the hobbits and think about your neighbors! You have to be serious… if you want to feast on carbon markets you have to work up your targets first!

The United States gets the Third Place Fossil for once again rejecting strong measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yesterday President Obama signed a misguided Bill coming from Congress aimed at preventing compliance of US airlines with EU regulations, for flights into and out of the EU. If Congress doesn't like the EU approach, we hope they realize the only alternative is a strong multilateral agreement. We urge Obama to reject any approach based on isolationism, and take this bill as an green light to pursue a strong multilateral agreement for the global  aviation sector, including putting a price on carbon, and to lead the way a strong and binding global climate agreement under the UNFCCC.




Fossil of the Day - Day 2


The First Place Fossil is awarded to Turkey. Although Turkey is the world's fourth largest investor in coal, recording the largest relative increase in annual GHG emissions between 1990–2010 with Ankara declaring 2012 the year of coal, Turkey is asking for more funds in the climate negotiations. This is even though Ankara did not post any QUELROs for the first commitment period. To make matters even more fossilised, Turkey has already declared they wont make a pledge for the second commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol. Although, they work almost invisibly during the negotiations, so as not to receive too much attention, it’s clearly their time to step onto the fossil stage! It’s your turn Turkey for a Fossil!

The second place Fossil of the Day goes to the EU for having already reached their pledged 2020 target of 20% but having so far failed to increase even though there is still almost 10 years to go. How outrageous! Is the EU really planning to go for the next 10 years without doing ANY further emissions reductions? EU you will need to quickly increase your target or the clouds will appear and it will start raining even more fossils on your negotiating table.

(1) According to the latest projections by the European Environmental Agency the EU’s domestic emissions were 17,5% below the 1990 level in 2011. Factoring in offsets surrendered into the EU ETS in 2011, we find that the EU27 has effectively beaten it’s -20% climate target for 2020 with nine years to spare! 

Civil Society Awards Fossil To Rich Countries Who Shun Kyoto Commitment

Fossil of the Day - Day 1 at COP18


The First Place Fossil is awarded to USA, Canada, Russia, Japan and New Zealand for running away from a legally binding, multilateral rules based regime.  To the USA – seriously, get over your exceptionalism and agree to common accounting rules already.  Canada you are exceptional in ways we cannot communicate diplomatically during a fossil presentation, but it is not good - withdrawing from the Kyoto Protocol is completely unacceptable and your target is an insult to the most vulnerable.  As for Japan, Russia and New Zealand - you still have a chance to support the only legally binding regime and commit to ambitious targets for the second commitment period (and that means no AAU carry over, Russia).  We are looking to hearing from you by the end of the week, because really, do we want to be lumped into this low-ambition group?

The Second Place Fossil is awarded to New Zealand. Unlike its neighbor to the west, New Zealand decided not to put its target into the second commitment period, citing spurious grounds when the reality is that it is just a massive display of irresponsibility.  It's island partners in the Pacific should think again before ever trusting NZ again.

The Ray of the Day goes to the EU for having already reached their pledged 2020 target almost 10 years ahead of time!(1). They really are the fastest under-achievers in the KP! But wait!? The EU has told us that they are not planning to increase their 2020 emissions pledge from the already achieved 20%. How outrageous! Is the EU really planning to go for the next 10 years without doing ANY further emissions reductions? EU you will need to quickly increase your target or the clouds will appear and it will start raining fossils on your negotiating table.



Fossil of the Day awards for ALL governments for agreeing a future we DON'T want

In an unprecedented move, the Fossil of the Day award 
was today given to ALL governments attending the Rio+20 summit. NGOs 
reacted to the adoption of a shockingly weak outcome text applauded by 
all governments in the plenary this morning, pointing out that - 
contrary to the document's title - the agreement did NOT reflect the 
future they want.

The text of today's Fossil award reads as follows:

"For the first time ever, yesterday, we awarded Big Oil a Fossil of the 
day - and the Fossil itself became the target of a protest by some angry 
billionaire CEO’s.

Today, we faced a monumental task deciding just who to award the fossil 
to. Obviously the perpetual podium contenders came up, Canada for 
tarring Rio+20 by cutting out funding, commitments and so much more. The 
United States and Japan, for weilding the literal and metaphorical 
delete button, cutting up the text like a ribbon, and the other Big Oil 
states for weakening language on subsidies and trying their best to cut 
the climate out of Rio. But for some reason we just didn’t feel like 
that was doing it justice, too many people were getting off the hook.

The outcome so far in Rio is an epic failure. Yet all governments have 
applauded it, as if selling out the planet and people were a grand 

This is NOT the future we want, if anything this is the future that big 
polluters have bought.

With this text Rio+20 is turning back the clock on sustainable 
development. As nations hide behind economic uncertainty, they continue 
to give upwards of trillion dollars a year to the fossil fuel industry - 
yet here in Rio they’ve all come up with empty pockets. The first step 
is to turn that trillion green and make it work for the people and the 
planet, and like I said, that's just the first step. There is still 
miles to go on oceans, the sustainable development goals, or even having 
the ambition to build a pathway to just, sustainable future.

Because every country has applauded this document, and no country has 
had the guts to step up and be a champion for the people and the planet, 
this fossil is for every single nation here, and for all the world 
leaders beginning to arrive for what has become a glorified photo op to 
sign a declaration of destruction and a plan for pollution.

There are 3 days left here in Rio, and without a change this summit 
will go down in history as more than simply a failure, and those leaders 
who sign off on its demise will be known as the architects of 
destruction. So as we hand out this, the biggest fossil yet, Heads of 
State and their representatives need to remember one thing: the whole 
world is watching, the planet is burning, and they are holding matches."




Shell, Exxon Mobil, Petrobras, Chevron and BP Given First Ever “Corporate” Fossil

Award given for lifetime commitment to blocking progress on climate and environmental protection

Rio de Janeiro - In an unprecedented move, the Fossil of the Day award broke protocol today to award a special fossil to big oil and their friends. The award is a recognition of the back room, dirty tactics that the fossil fuel industry and lobby has used here in Rio and for years to block progress on climate change and sustainable development. 

The corporations were also singled out for being some of the biggest recipients of the narly $1 trillion in subsidies handed out each year to big polluters. The award comes on the eve of a corporate business event including a session entitled "Fossil Fuels and Sustainability" that features representatives of Petrobras, BP and Shell. The text of the Fossil Award read as follows:

Today's fossil award is an extra special one, a never before seen or heard of Fossil of the Day...a Fossil First here in Rio.

The recipients of this Fossil have for years stood in the shadows, and in the way of real progress on climate change and sustainable development. Around the globe they are the worlds largest climate criminals, responsible for spilling millions of barrels of oil in the natural world, and dumping billions of tonnes of greenhouse gases into the aptmosphere.

Let's get a (oil) drumroll please for today's Fossils! Those big bad polluters!

Shell! Exxon-Mobil! BP! Chevron! and a special Brazilian Rio Fossil for our sponsors here at Rio+20 Petrobras!  Honorable mention goes to all the oil barons, king coals and gas giants around the globe! Our top four recipients collectively made nearly $140 billion dollars in 2011, all while working against the adoption of strong, ambitious climate legislation in countries around the globe, digging deeper into dirty energy. All four are major players in the tar sands and part of a new rush to develop oil in the Arctic - despite their roles in major disasters like the Deepwater Horizon, the Kalamazoo river spill, the Exxon Valdez and the list goes on.

Oh yeah, and they're all part of that prestigious trillion dollar club, recipients of massive polluter handouts.

Petrobras gets a special spot for coming on as a sponsor of Rio+20 while trying to break the resistance of fishermen of Rio’s Bahia de Guanabara with violence. The fishermen have been struggling to defend their livelihoods against Petrobras’ oil spills.

The Fossil of the Day ceremony was also the target of a mock protest by "Billionaires for Subsidies", a group of youth drawing attention to the influence of big polluters here in Rio and on climate progress around the globe. The fossil fuel companies were targetted for attempting to hijack the agenda in Rio, but also for lobbying to weaken climate commitments for governments around the world. 


Brazil Takes 1st Place; Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, EU, Canada US, & More 2nd

It was a full day for fossils Sunday at the Rio+20 negotiations. Brazil earned the First Place Fossil for a frightening new draft text. Saudi Arabia and Venezuela took Second Place for trying to save fossil fuel subsidies. The European Union, United States, and other developed countries earned another Second Place Fossil for bringing empty pockets to plans in need of financing. The Fossils as presented read:

“Brazil earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday Brazil took over as host country of the negotiations for the Rio+20 summit and presented its new draft of the negotiating text. With great power comes great responsibility. The world is watching how Brazil performs in its task of steering negotiators towards agreement on ambitious, concrete outcomes. Outcomes that will get the world on the path to sustainable development and ensuring all members of this and future generations access to quality food, clean water and renewable energy, as well as a healthy, liveable planet, a stable climate and a vibrant prosperous economy. The outcome also need to find new sources of financing and ways to mobilize the technologies to achieve these goals.
Unfortunately the text yesterday shows no signs of movement in this direction. It appears that Brazil is missing the chance be a force for raising ambition and living up to the hopes and trust that the world has placed on its shoulders, and will be content with using its growing political clout and indisputable diplomatic capacities only to find clever compromises and get agreement on a watered-down document devoid of clear commitments and actions. Furthermore it seems that the Brazilian government are more focused on closing text, even though it is slashing the ambition, rather than ensuring the outcome we need. Of course Brazil can’t single-handedly turn this process around, and it needs bold and ambition proposals from other countries and a willingness from all countries to get this process on track to creating the world we really do want.”
“The United States, European Union, Canada, and other developed countries earned the Second Place Fossil. US, Canada, EU and other developed countries, turned up in Rio with not a Euro cent or Dime, and now that we see all references to finance and technology commitments deleted from the Rio negotiating text it’s clear that developed countries are intending to run away from the Rio principles signed 20 years
ago, especially Common But Differentiated Responsibility. Rich, industrialised countries need to step up and provide the predictable and adequate support that allows developing countries to pursue truly sustainable development.”
“Saudi Arabia and Venezuela also earn a Second Place Fossil. During closed door negotiations Saudi Arabia and Venezuela have consistently blocked progress on ending fossil fuel subsidies. Despite an honest effort by Brazil to bridge the divide, these two countries remain the biggest obstacle to stopping our governments handing taxpayers' money directly to the dirty energy industries. Why aren't these billions being spent on access to clean energy for the billions without? The oil industry' slippery tentacles are strangling sustainable development and driving us closer towards a climate catastrophe, with our governments in on the act. By refusing to end these dirty handouts, we give Saudi Arabia and Venezuela the second place fossil, hopefully we won’t see them on the podium again.”