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Colossal Fossil and a Special Ray of the COP

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 13 December

Colossal Fossil

It. Is. Time!

Throughout the two weeks of negotiations there has been one country that we keep coming back to. Yes, there have been many called out for blocking negotiations or not doing enough to support implementation at home, but one stands out above all else.

Our hosts, Poland.

You see, the Polish Presidency has not created space for ambition here at COP 24, even with a complete understanding what outcome is needed. We really should accept by now that they will avoid working on support packages and revision of NDCs. However, the blame is not just on the presidency because the Polish government is making their job more difficult, it is the opposite of the support that should exist.  It is difficult when the government and ministries are pushing the Presidency to consider the Polish agenda or the Presidency being understaffed, which is influencing the outcome of this COP.

So, what has the Polish Government been doing at COP? Well, the Polish Government and ministers are promoting coal or so called “clean coal” during side events, not only in the COP at the Polish Pavilion, but also at other conferences. We did try to avoid this during meetings before the COP, where the governmental officials were informed that such events would not be welcomed by the global community.

I’m sure you all remember last week as well, when the Polish president, Andrzej Duda said that Poland can use coal for the next 200 years, to which we responded by awarding them a Fossil.

Not bad enough for you? How about the Polish Minister of Energy, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, stating that the Ostrołęka C coal power plant, the construction of which was initiated one week after the announcement of the IPCC report, is uneconomic, but will be constructed anyway. What?!

But wait. Apparently, there are answers, as the Polish Minister of Environment said that the decaying trees in the primeval forest of Białowieża are responsible for air pollution. Well, that’s that solved. Our work here is done!

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much hope when the COP was being planned either, as the Polish government chose several coal-sector companies to partner with to sponsor COP24. Among them we find the Polish Energy Group that is an owner of the biggest lignite power plant in Europe, Bełchatów, and one of the biggest polluters in Europe, as well as other – Tauron; JSW or PGG, the largest coal extraction companies in the EU. Also, there is PGNiG the national gas company, who was invited – there are no places at the table for green initiatives.

Last, a topic that deeply affected us all, when Polish authorities denied entry and/or deported at least 12 members of civil society groups due to attend the UN climate talks in Poland. The deportations follow the enactment of national legislation earlier this year passed by the Polish government in relation to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC COP24. Several UN human rights experts have publicly questioned the compatibility of the law with international human rights standards and expressed today their “dismay at the actions taken by the authorities to prevent free and unfettered public participation in these critical multilateral discussions”. What is more, over the last few days, we’ve witnessed Parties cutting out references to human rights across different parts of the rulebook.

Poland, Poland, Poland. All the shame, all the blame!

Um, yeah, before we go, just a side note to the EU, this is a European COP. Why are you letting this happen? It’s hard to claim to lead when you are allowing one of your own to drag down the ambition.

 

Ray of the COP

It’s the end of week two. We’re all a little tired, emotionally spent, and perhaps looking forward to a lovely break.

Therefore, at the end of a rather dismal COP in a rather dreary climate, it is high time we spread a bit of sunshine! Today, we choose to recognize the vulnerable countries at these negotiations with a Ray of the COP.

Despite facing existential threats from climate change they are engaging patiently and in good faith, with those who choose to deny the science, deny their right to loss and damage finance, and deny previous hard fought agreements, like the Paris agreement.

The Pacific Island Developing States released a statement calling it like it is: COP24 IS A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY.

The IPCC report has detailed the risk of the survival of island communities due to extreme weather and rising sea levels. The statement made it clear of the “absolute necessity” to include Loss and Damage (Article 8 of the Paris Agreement) in the Paris Rulebook for Transparency, Finance, and the Global Stocktake.

Specifically, we would like to recognize the Ministers of Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tuvalu, Fiji and the Leaders of the Maldives and Tuvalu who have made such powerful statements in plenary that included:

“Whether you welcome, note or ignore the science, this is catastrophic for humanity” - Vanuatu Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu

“The truth is we had no choice but to do our part.” - Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Poona

“Our quest for solutions to address the most pressing and existential issue of our time – climate change – has never been more urgent.” - Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai

“It is very clear that climate change is the single greatest threat to humanity we face today.” - Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga

Thank you for raising your voices in this time of great need. We can only hope that other countries will listen and take heed.

They're back and still bad -- it's Australia!

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 12 December

They thought they could hide behind the soot and smog of Katowice, but not today! Let’s welcome back Australia to the scoreboard – where have you been?

The Aussies are big on transparency and have a robust system of greenhouse gas accounting and report on emissions at home, which is why we know they have had four years of rising emissions after scrapping a successful emissions trading system. So how will they meet their target?

Through carbon credits, of course! While their neighbor, New Zealand, came out this week and announced they will not use Kyoto Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) to meet their Paris Target, Australia has remained silent in transparency and accounting in anticipation of using its hundreds of millions of credits to meet its target in a canter.

Let’s be clear, Australia is not interested in reducing emissions, it saddled up to the Trump sideshow on coal to promote its fossil fuel exports and Carbon Capture and Storage technology and, at home, its Energy Minister is fast tracking plans to use taxpayer dollars to build new coal fired power stations.

So, welcome back Australia – don’t you think it is finally time to wake up and smell the smog?

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

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 (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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The heat rises as Egypt blocks ambition

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 11 December FULL SHOW

We should really talk about that thing. You know, the crisis facing the planet?

It’s important, right? We’ve talked about it a lot already.

Maybe we think so, but there seem to be some who don’t …

Parties agreed at COP23 that the Talanoa Dialogue would be designed to enhance ambition. However, that spirit seemed to have escaped some parties in their interventions in the Talanoa Dialogue events today. There was perhaps no party that seemed so dead set against ambition in Talanoa, than Egypt.

Despite the IPCC findings that current Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) put us on track to 3 degrees or more, and the call for urgently scaled up action and targets from the Pre-2020 high level event, Egypt made it clear they had no interest in discussing more ambitious NDCs before 2020.

Even more, they doubled down on their no-ambition strategy, saying there should be no negotiated outcome of Talanoa. Perhaps it has escaped them that we are here at the “climate negotiations” discussing the defining issue of the 21st Century – the shortage of ambition – past, present and future, to address climate change. We need outcomes that commit countries to scale up climate efforts in the pre-2020 AND post-2020 period, not more ducking and weaving to dodge discussion of ambition! No doubt Egypt is torn between its loyalties to the oil-dominated Arab Group and solidarity with its fellow members of the African Group, many of whom are LDCs and extremely vulnerable to climatic disruptions.  But dodging ambition, in any time period, does a disservice to both.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

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 (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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Birthday celebrations for the WIM and Christmas coal for Austria

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 10 December

Developed Country Members of the ExComm on the WIM

It seems that there is a birthday in the house today! Young WIM is turning five.

 Awww so sweet.

I wonder what special gifts WIM will receive? A bike, a shiny toy car? Or perhaps …. a Fossil?

Today’s fossil award goes to the developed country members on the WIM - the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. As the WIM celebrates its fifth birthday - back in the country of its birth, Poland - it’s worth noting that it has spent those five years failing to appropriately tackle the thorny issue of finance for loss and damage. Why? Well, that would be down to the developed country delegates who have served on the ExComm of the WIM over those years, currently represented by: USA, Poland, EU, Austria, Norway, Australia, UK, Russia, Japan, Germany.

Developed countries have too often stood in the way of meaningfully addressing the mandate from Warsaw in 2013 and the Paris Agreement, to facilitate and “enhance action and support” on a “collaborative and facilitative” basis. Instead they apply an overly strong focus on driving insurance solutions and refuse to take responsibility for their large share in causing the climate crisis and severely harming vulnerable countries.

To close, a special birthday song …

*To the tune of Happy Birthday*

Happy Birthday to you,

We had big faith in you!

But where is the finance?

Now we have to say “Boo”!

BOOOOOOOO

 

Austria

It looks have some new bad boys in town!

Now, they aren’t the usual suspects, but that doesn’t mean they are well behaved. So much so, that they may be getting a bit of coal in their stockings this Christmas.

Today’s first place Fossil goes to Austria! The EU Council under the lead of the Austrian presidency wants to subsidize existing and new coal plants for the next 17 years, until 2035! Unfortunately, this is not the kind of leadership we are looking for, Austria.

The so-called “capacity mechanisms” are used as backdoor subsidies for the most uneconomic and polluting power plants. These subsidies add €58 billion to energy bills of EU citizens for funding coal gas and nuclear. Coal power plants receive the vast majority of it, and polluters plan to even build new coal plants in the EU thanks to these subsidies.

Austria leads the EU Member States in these negotiations, which could end these subsidies to coal, but has chosen to please coal laggards like Poland or Greece/Bulgaria rather than to listen to the progressive Member States and put an end to subsidies for coal.

Those still waiting for a happy ending, sorry. Austria, in its special role at this COP, has been largely silent and has failed to provide crucial signals on climate finance and regain the trust of developing countries. To top it all off, Vice-Chancellor Strache has poured ridicule on the Presidency by denying anthropogenic climate change. What is perhaps even worse, is the fact that the rest of the government has been silent on this issue, despite these comments coming during the crucial climate summit in Katowice.

All in all, this has damaged the credibility of EU Member States at this COP and sabotaged the ability to show real leadership and take the necessary domestic action of quitting coal and cleaning up our cars as elemental steps towards 1.5 degrees.

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

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 (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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The US needs no introduction

Fossil USA COP24

Introductions can be kind of important, don’t you think?

We use them to connect to people in a “hi, how are you,” way or in, say, documents to give a sneak peek at what the text has in store for the reader. Sometimes they are relevant in treaties …

Wait, just sometimes? That can’t be right.

Today’s fossil goes to the US for rejecting inclusion of human rights and other elements of the preamble of the Paris Agreement in the Paris Rulebook.

Yesterday, in the APA discussion on agenda item 3, the US challenged the inclusion of a reference to the preamble, saying it was attempting to operationalize something that by definition wasn’t operational. We’re not the only ones perplexed by this, right? Parties should know that preambles and the important framing words they contain are integral to treaties. This one in particular happens to house the agreement that Parties will respect, promote, and consider human rights. The US legal gymnastics to exclude the preamble suggests a hidden intention: further sidelining human rights from climate action. But every country at COP has existing human rights obligations, so the Preamble isn’t new or additional. And all 184 Parties to the Paris Agreement should respect, promote, and consider rights obligations in climate action

This argument, coming from the US on the eve of the 70th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, is especially ironic. In case the US delegation here has forgotten, it was the United States and Eleanor Roosevelt who fought for the Declaration in 1948. Oh, how far the United States has fallen: from once being on the frontlines of the Human Rights movement, to now arguing that they should be excluded from the rules guiding implementation of the Paris Agreement. What would Eleanor say?

Switzerland block in finance and Germany misses its targets

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 07 December

Switzerland (2nd Place)

Does anyone know why this is COP number 24? Yes, it’s the 24th Conference of the Parties, but parties of what? Right again! It’s the 24thconference of the parties to the Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Just checking that you all know what you are actually attending.

We wanted to check because clearly some participants have forgotten both why they are here and have forgotten the content of the convention.

Short summary of the UNFCCC for everyone:

Objective: to save the world

Who should act: all parties

Unfortunately, when negotiations on climate finance accounting opened on Tuesday, Switzerland stated that according to their reading, the terms “New and Additional” (named so due to the new and additional changes climate change poses) did not make it into the Paris Agreement. Why is this important? Developed countries provide New and additional finance, which is required by developing countries to make action possible.

The basic challenge, and argument, is that if climate funds are not new and additional, developed countries can just relabel ordinary Official Development Assistance (i.e. ‘double’ or ‘triple’ dipping). That means that there is a risk that other development topics such as human rights, gender, education, health care, are getting less attention. AND, there should also be a concern for LDCs. There is a general trend where climate finance is focused on mitigation in emerging economies. That means that funds can be shifted from education in LDCs to mitigation in China, for example. But hey, you could argue it’s not only Switzerland!? Aren’t there other rich states who are in favor of re-shuffling and relabelling existing aid?

And indeed other developed countries (many from the EU) have also been blockers on this issue throughout the week, but Switzerland has been the most outspoken.

We should of course acknowledge that climate change is a cross cutting theme which can be combined with other development themes. However, the need for climate action calls for increased attention, and this additional need should be addressed with additional funds, to ensure that no money is lost!

But alas, there is also a moral aspect! Climate change is caused by countries with big emissions, and consequently these countries should also pay for the additional challenges countries with low emissions are facing. “The polluter pays principle” is still relevant and “new and additional” is a way to ensure that it is operationalized.

Switzerland (and other’s) attempt this week to annul the New and Additional requirement literally translates into: The richest country in the world leading on taking development assistance away from the poorest peoples - as to use it to comply with their obligation under the UNFCCC!

 

Germany (1st Place)

Let’s play a little game, shall we?

It does involve numbers so anyone not loving maths, probably not something for you. It also involves broken promises, so you really should only play if you are trustworthy. You also kind of have to be a leader, but not at the same time.

You know what? Let’s just give up. Not to fear, today’s Fossil winner has done the same.

Today Germany was questioned by parties at the Multilateral Assessment on its progress towards emission targets. In its written answers, as well as in announcements from the government, Germany admits that it will miss the 2020 target, by as much as 8%! Their plans for moving forward? Giving up. Not even the urgent warnings from the IPCC this year could make Germany change its mind and get moving on pre-2020 action at home!

The 40% target was committed TEN, count them, TEN. YEARS. AGO. Unfortunately, German governments since that time have not taken bold steps to reduce coal power plants and transport emissions. While Germany DID install a lot of wind turbines and solar panels, it DID NOT reduce its fleet of old and dirty coal power plants that are running day and night. This led not only to an ever growing surplus in electricity (10% of Germany’s electricity production is exported) but is also the reason why Germany’s greenhouse gas emissions haven’t decreased for nine years. During these many many years, coal companies in Germany have continued to burn coal, destroy villages by enlarging lignite pits and polluting the environment. The government is now facing legal cases for not reaching its 2020 target, which have been raised by affected people and supported by NGOs.

ONE year ago, at COP 23 in Bonn, chancellor Merkel announced that Germany would address a phase-out of coal, but here we are one year later, and not one single concrete measure has been taken! Wondering if that was all for show? Well, instead, in an amazing display of inaction, the government installed a Commission to make proposals for a coal phase-out and on how to deal with the 2020 target. Wow. So incredibly helpful!

The report on the 2020 target was due before COP 24, but conveniently, shortly before the COP it was delayed by the government to next year. Shocker. Germany is here with essentially nothing to offer emission reductions at home.

If Germany, as the biggest European economy does not act, the entirety of EU ambition is at stake. Given the failure in CO2 reduction, Germany is unwilling to accept a higher EU 2030 target. The same is true for the net zero target for 2050 for the EU that the EU Commission presented as its preferred option in a communication last week. While countries like France, Italy, Netherlands, Sweden and others are welcoming net zero in 2050, Germany remains silent and is also not opposing further subsidies for coal power plants in Europe in form of capacity payments. Get a move on Germany! Those targets will only get farther away – stop playing games and wasting the planet’s precious time!

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

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 (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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

The Arab Group (Oops they did it again!)

Fossil Arab Group COP24

Oh Ha-baby, Ha-baby!

Could it be a glitch in the matrix or a mirage in the desert? Or is it our senses that are failing us in the smog? But during negotiations here in Katowice we distinctly heard Kuwait proposing to delete specific references to the findings of the IPCC 1.5°C Special Report that were referenced by the Executive Committee during talks under the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss and Damage. Apparently because they “are not okay with the report.”

The IPCC report vividly highlights the massive loss and damage that many countries and communities around the world already suffer as a result of climate change. This situation will be further exacerbated if the world fails to shift away from fossil fuels as a matter of urgency – cutting emissions fast and deep enough to stay within the 1.5°C limit.

We trust that progressive countries in the Arab group will find their voice and reassure us that it was indeed just a glitch.

Kuwait also blocked a proposed paragraph to encourage the ExCom to strengthen gender considerations in the implementation of the 5-year work plan. The Group was only willing to allow a women and youth to be mentioned as part of vulnerable populations.

It’s astounding that the Arab Group can claim that “there will be no difference between the impacts on men and women, and no difference between the impacts on developed and developing countries”. Those with the least resources, the least power and on whom society already places unfair burdens will be more impacted by climate change. Fact. And the UNFCCC already adopted gender decisions and a gender action plan. So there is just no reasonable argument to act in this way.

And by the way: Did we hear correctly that China supported these statements by Kuwait? We are not ‘okay with it’ if they did.

Ha-baby don’t do it again!

Two countries finish first in a rare tie!

Fossil Saudi Arabia + Brazil COP24

Saudi Arabia on behalf of the Arab Group

It’s great to be consistent – reliable is good, right? Seems old habits die hard, especially if your allies keep the door open for you …

So, given that we are at COP 24, it is no shock that there are some offenders that keep on coming back.

This Fossil award is for the most consistent, insistent and persistent voice undermining ambition in the negotiations so far this week – Saudi Arabia. Yesterday, on behalf of the Arab Group, was an intervention that summarized their overall approach. 

In the session on the Global Stocktake, Saudi Arabia, speaking for the Arab Group, called for deletion of the term “ambition mechanism” in the preamble to the Global Stocktake text on the grounds that it pre-judges the outcome of the GST. The IPCC SR 1.5 and the entire Paris Agreement makes it clear that we need much more climate ambition if we are to meet the agreement’s long-term objectives. 

Saudi efforts to undermine ambition don’t stop there. Saudi Arabia (speaking for like-minded developing countries or LMDCs for those not in the know) opposes agreement on any new information for NDCs to promote Clarity, Transparency and Understanding, and supports a “no text” outcome. Saudi Arabia, the LMDC and Arab groups repeatedly call for ratification of Doha Amendments, despite Saudi Arabia itself having neglected to ratify. 

We could go on, but it is more than clear that Saudi Arabia is up to its old tricks, and inventing some new ones, in building alliances and strategies to undermine ambition and keeping warming to 1.5C. Welcome back to the leaderboard Saudi Arabia!

 

Brazil

Whatever happened to you, Brazil?

The birthplace of the UN climate convention, once celebrated by its spectacular strides in reducing deforestation and mitigating global warming, has become the laughing stock of negotiators in Katowice.

Just ten days before COP 24, Brazil’s president-elect, army captain, Jair Bolsonaro, called off the offer to host COP 25 next year, because he read on WhatsApp that the Paris Agreement is a threat to Brazil’s sovereignty. Um, yeah, that seems legit.

And If you think that’s a shame, consider for a minute Brazil’s appointed chancellor, Ernesto Araújo, a man whose role model is Donald Trump and who wrote that climate change is part of a Marxist plot to transfer power to China. Somebody please warn Angela Merkel!

Bolsonaro’s plans for the Amazon rainforest, however, are no laughing matter. He has promised to end deforestation control, open up indigenous lands for big business, kill environmental licensing and even shut down the Environment ministry. Environmental criminals are listening closely: between August and November, deforestation rates went up 32%, and a recent study has estimates that it might reach 25 thousand square kilometers a year, with resulting emissions of 3 BILLION tons of carbon dioxide. That’s tchau to 1.5 degrees.

But first and foremost, Bolsonaro’s forest madness is endangering his own people. The Amazon exports humidity that feeds rains in the southern parts of the country, where people live, and food is produced and even recently half of Brazilian cities suffered critical water stress in the last four years.

We’re sorry Brazilians, you’re being embarrassed, Bolsonaro is endangering your people and threatening the fate of the whole planet – is anything more deserving of a Fossil?

Its Coaland or, um, Poland first in line for a Fossil at COP 24

Fossil Poland COP24

Cough, cough …. Did anyone else notice that strange haze in the air? … cough, cough … I suppose there is something to be said for the way light reflects off the “clouds,” but really? Why are we at COP in a coal region?

Polish President Andrzej Duda said yesterday during his speech delivered at COP 24 that there is no contradiction between climate protection and coal use. He also stated that Poland has coal reserves that will last for 200 years more. Then today, speaking at the Barbórka Academy of the Tauron Group, he stressed that the Polish mining industry and mining constitutes "one of the foundations of the Polish economy", determining the country's energy security and are "to a great extent" a guarantee of its energy sovereignty. What a warm (or boiling hot?) welcome from the hosts of COP 24!

There is a stark contrast between his words and what science says – the recent IPCC report clearly states we have 12 more years to save the world and deliver on ambitious climate action. Meanwhile, the past four COP Presidents have been busy urging parties and stakeholders alike to send an “unequivocal message” from Katowice on the need to “enhance ambition by 2020 that puts the world on a trajectory compatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement,” pursing efforts to limit warming to 1.5C. It’s clear the presidency is not doing enough!

Today’s Fossil of the day goes to Poland for trying to protect their one true love – coal – and not its people and environment, as well as for downplaying the urgency of climate action that we need to stay alive - a negotiated decision to strengthen NDCs in line with the IPCC Special Report on Global Warming to 1.5C.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1100 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

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 (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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

###

A Fossil for the Arab Group and India; Colossal Fossil for the US Administration

Colossal Fossil White House COP 23

Its money, money, money for Arab Group and India

Cabbage, clam, milk, dosh, dough, shillings, frogskins, notes, duckets, loot, bones, bar, coin, folding stuff, honk, lolly, moola. Any way you say it, it is always about the money!

This is also true for the Paris Agreement. It clearly states that all funds should be spent and invested on the right technologies, projects and places that will both solve climate change and provide a strong sustainability. Aligning all financial flows with the Paris goals is absolutely essential to solve climate change.

Island countries have proposed that the GEF and the GCF ask their trustee, the World Bank, to report on what efforts the bank is doing to ensure that their money. Public money. Your taxes. Is being invested in good, rather than harmful projects.

Unfortunately, Arab Group and India are not fans. Obviously, they want the World Bank to continue funding fossil fuels, fueling destruction of the same people the climate funds is supposed to help. We are not talking about forcing them to do the right thing, but to declare what efforts they are doing, to ensure that the money is invested in building resilience and putting us on a path 1.5 degrees centigrade.

The Island States in the Caribbean were devastated when two category 5++ hurricanes - Irma and Maria - struck their small islands. In Dominica, the damages in economic terms are upwards of 100% of GDP.

Today AOSIS lost this battle. At this Pacific COP, it is shameful that the Arab Group and India were unable to show solidarity on this key Issue for all the Island States. Let’s see if at the next GCF Board Meeting countries will step up to the challenge and ask their trustee to phase out funding to fossil fuels?

 

Make America Colossal

The time has come to both award the Colossal Fossil and to finally call out those who deserve it the most!

While we have had some strong contenders (shout out to the Australian bullies), there seems to be only one clear choice. Only one who has been the absolute, hands-down, uncontested worst – the US administration.

Not really that much of a surprise, is it?

I am sure you all remember it well. When Donald Trump announced on June 1st that he intended to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, he isolated himself on the global stage, turning his back on the rest of the world. Now that Syria has ratified, the Trump administration is completely, 100% alone in its rejection of this vital global agreement. Super sad!

Let’s just remember that the US is still in the Paris Agreement for at least a few more years. But there is no doubt about the administration’s position on climate action. They’re attacking domestic climate policies such as the Clean Power Plan and fuel efficiency standards. They’re propping up dirty energy by proposing a bailout for coal. They’re attempting to censor science, deleting any mention of climate change from documents and websites and issuing gag orders to government scientists. Last but not least, they sent fossil fuel cronies to represent the U.S. at COP. In other words, they are acting in direct opposition to the spirit of the Paris Agreement.

The Trump team tried to bring their backwards agenda to Bonn. The US administration’s only official side event was to promote fossil fuels. But the world was there to send them a message: You can’t sell coal at a conference to stop climate change! Prompted by a journalist’s question, two of the four panelists explicitly said they disagree with Trump’s effort to pull out of the Paris Agreement. When even your fossil-fuel-funded panelists don’t agree with your decision, you know you’re on the wrong side of history. (As if there was any doubt before.)

But there is a ray of light. US mayors, governors, business leaders, university presidents, and committed individuals from all fifty states and every walk of life are standing by the Paris Agreement and with the world against the climate crisis. More than 100 of them came to Bonn and camped out in the funny looking igloos outside the Bula Zone to showcase their commitments, and many others mobilized for a Day of Action across the US to send the message that they are still in, too. They all give us hope. Trump may have abandoned the world, but the rest of us haven’t. As young people from across the globe sang when they disrupted the US fossil fuels event on Monday: “We the people of the world unite, and we are here to stay.”

Unfortunately, this ray of hope does not replace the need for action from the U.S. federal government. All their bad behavior at home and here at COP should be widely and loudly condemned, they are truly deserving of the Colossal Fossil – the undisputed best of the worst.

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1100 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced 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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement

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