Fossil of the Day

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Brazil Catches a Case of Oil Fever

Fossil Brazil COP 23

The Fossil for today goes to Brazil, for proposing a bill that could give oil companies $300 billion in subsidies to drill its offshore reserves.

You heard that right, $300 billion.

Let’s think about that for a minute –  that’s roughly the value of one Eiffel Tower or six Towers of London. Basically, an insane amount of money. It's also about 360 times more than the entire world provides in annual support for climate and disaster resilience financing in Small Island Developing States, highlighting how puny current climate finance flows are in comparison to massive fossil fuel subsidies.

Brazil, the South American green giant, the land of sustainable biofuels, and the proud bearer of a low-carbon energy mix, is the newest victim of the oil fever.

An emergency bill sent to Congress by President Michel Temer, to be voted within the next weeks, opens up the country to an oil frenzy by giving companies a package of tax breaks that can amount to $300 trillion over the next 25 years. Brazil’s environment minister called the bill “preposterous”.

Temer’s public approval rate is 3%, about the same as the margin of error of the polls. But certainly, big oil thinks better of him now than Brazilian voters. 

Way bigger, on the other hand, is the number of Brazilians that think the government is either not doing enough or not doing nothing at all to effectively tackle climate change: 84%. 

The goal of the measure is to speed up the development of the ultra-deep pre-salt layer, an offshore oil province thought to contain 176 billion recoverable barrels. Should that oil be burned, Brazil alone would eat up 18% of the remaining carbon budget for 1.5 degrees, blowing our chance to steer the world away from climate catastrophe.

Funny thing is, the Brazilian government seems to be fully aware that it is playing foul. As one government official candidly put it, “the world is heading towards a low-carbon economy. There is going to be oil left in the ground, and we hope it’s not ours.”

The blatant cynicism of the Temer administration is at contrast with the fairly progressive stance taken by the Brazilian delegation at Fiji-in-Bonn. While diplomats here peddle biofuels as a climate solution and press for pre-2020 ambition, back home the attitude is “drill, baby, drill!”

Brazil, you put on a good face, but below that coat of green paint lies a petrocracy in the making. Time to take these mind-blowing payouts and put them to a better, greener use.

 

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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Germany and Australia Win Fossils, While G77 Gets a Ray

Fossil Germany Ray G77 COP 23

A Short-sighted Germany Goes Off Target

Our first Fossil goes to Germany for increasing its emissions in 2017 and risking missing its 2020 targets for emission reductions.

Germany, our hospitable host, where did you go wrong?

Is this the same country that provided funding to the Adaptation Fund last week? The so called "climate chancellor" who got G7 leaders to agree to decarbonize the global economy?

Even our tired brains know that yes, it is the same country and that same chancellor! But somehow in the middle of all this, the German government seems to have forgotten about the most important part of being a climate leader: reducing your emissions. 

There’s no arguing with science (though some do try); if your emissions go up, temperatures will not go down and if your fossil fuel use goes up, you will not decarbonize the global economy.

The preliminary emissions statistics for Germany for 2017 were just released and they are not pretty. German greenhouse gas emissions are going to increase this year, due to an increase in oil, natural gas, and lignite consumption. German emissions have not decreased since 2009. Chancellor Merkel's successive governments have failed to address climate change at home for years. The Chancellor has preferred to listen to the fossil fuel industry, energy intensive companies, and the powerful carmakers, rather than the people who demand strong climate action. Germany is currently projected to dramatically miss its domestic 2020 target of 40% emissions reductions - unless the next government acts decisively and shuts down coal fired power plants and also begins a low-carbon transition in the transport, industry and agriculture sector. 

Germany, be the leader that you claim to be!

 

Australia Continues to Play Dirty

Another day, another Fossil for Australia – someone seems to be keen on earning the colossal Fossil!

In a continuing show of being the biggest bully on the playground, yesterday, at a joint session on Loss and Damage, negotiators were debating about increasing the resources of the WIM (Warsaw International Mechanism) and exploring new and innovative sources for support, which would give a stronger voice to the most vulnerable countries on earth. However, Australia proposed to eliminate the two most important outcomes that the G77 was pushing for. 

Rather than being constructive and proposing solutions to allow a clear process on loss and damage, Australia proposed to delete two essential paragraphs: paragraph 8, which included the creation of a permanent item for discussion about issues related to Loss and Damage under the SBI and paragraph 18 which was an opportunity to explore sources of finance. What’s more is Australia made the proposal, while the G77 coordinator was struggling to find consensus and agreement from superiors. 

Australia’s attitude shows a sense of disregard for the important discussion on loss and damage. But hey, were we expecting a better attitude from you? 

 

The G77 Shines a Ray on Loss and Damage

The developing country group, G77 wins today’s ray of the day award for joining together to stand up for vulnerable country members facing the worst impacts of climate change, in the face of fierce opposition from rich countries.  

Joel Suarez Orozco, as the coordinator for G77, has, for the first time since Warsaw, brought together the group and has furthered the case for vulnerable countries to receive the support they deserve – in addition to pushing the loss and damage body to get a mandate from the COP that will allow it to be effective.

In particular, a major contribution was made to the preamble, which states that Parties note with concern the increased frequency and severity of climate-related disasters. This provided a concrete reference for confronting realities and not allowing those in Annex 1 countries to duck away.

The G77 is standing behind those most vulnerable – the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS), however this wasn’t enough to convince the big bullies of Australia and the US.

When asked about the recent climate-related disasters and increased impacts, Australia acknowledged the events, but questioned if it was due to climate change. Mr. Orozco was quick to counter with an impassioned plea, “When your island is destroyed when the roof of your house is gone, you know it´s climate change.”

At this Pacific COP, we cannot ignore those that are the most vulnerable, we must take a stand.

 

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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Norway Gets Defensive About its Arctic Exploration

Fossil Norway COP 23

The Fossil of the Day Award goes to Norway for defending continued Arctic oil exploration in court.

Imagine if you will, a wonderful place filled with beautiful fjords, super cozy knitted sweaters, and 5.2 million really happy people. This place does everything amazingly well! In fact, their oil is cleaner and safer, and they are better equipped to keep it flowing for generations to come!

Wait, what?!

In the not so far future, tomorrow morning in fact, the first of seven court days begins in Oslo. There, the government of Norway will defend (to environmental organizations) their decision - made less than six months after signing the Paris Agreement - to allow new oil exploration in the Arctic. More generally, the Norwegian government will defend a delusional fairy tale spun by the oil industry.

It’s clear that the world’s oil and gas reserves already in development will take us to 1.5°C. Unfortunately, Norway is far from alone in their hypocrisy in continuing fossil fuel exploration and extraction. As we continue to see, many countries deliberately refuse to accept the full consequences of the promises made in Paris.

That it is even necessary for environmental organizations in Norway to sue the government, in the first place, is a clear example of a country neglecting the fundamental principle of common but differentiated responsibility.

Come on Norway, time to spin your own tale – one of renewables and transitions! No one is better equipped than you!

 

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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Lost and Damaged Finance for Day 6!

Fossil US AUS EU CAN COP 23

The US, Australia, Canada and the EU receive the Fossil of the Day for refusing to get serious about loss and damage finance.

For all the policy geeks out there, while decision 2/CP19 provides the WIM with a mandate to ‘enhance’, ‘facilitate’, ‘mobilize’ and ‘secure’ finance for loss and damage, in the negotiating room they consistently refer to the SCF or even higher levels, where it is also absent from the discussion.

Basically, they were seeking to twist, water down, and delete references to finance from the loss and damage decision text.

We would have thought that the US - with its own territory of Puerto Rico still recovering from the devastation of Hurricane Maria – would, perhaps, have rediscovered at least one empathic bone in its body. But apparently, this was waaaaay too much to ask for - it aggressively led the charge to delete references to finance in the loss and damage text. Some might think this level of intervention was a bit rich coming from a country that has talked about pulling out of the Paris Agreement, but it looks like they plan on taking others down with them.

Australia has long lacked many things – sympathy, support, and solidarity among them – with its Pacific Island neighbors (flashback to Day 2 anyone?), but these bullying tactics are over the line, even for them.

And Canada - we had hopes!  At the beginning, you were so amazing in standing up for civil society and proposed newly-constructive ways to advance on this urgent matter. Why join with your disreputable Annex 1 friends on the issue of finance?  We expect in the future, that need you will to move closer to the good side. It’s nice here, we promise.

EU - really? We can’t say we’re surprised. But disappointed, yes. You stepped up to assist Fiji in hosting the COP - now vulnerable countries need you to step up on the vital and super important issue of providing finance to the most vulnerable people on the front line of the worst climate impacts.

At this Pacific COP, with the Caribbean lying in ruins and other devastating climate impacts around the world, we need solidarity from rich countries.  We need them to live up to the promises they made in 2013 in the wake of Typhoon Haiyan, and the promises they made in the Paris Agreement. Put in place a two-year work plan on loss and damage finance, don’t let six years go by before you do anything to live up to your promises at Warsaw.

 

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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Oh no, ICAO!

Fossil ICAO COP 23

While countries are discussing how to implement the Paris climate deal to avert the worst impacts of climate change, the UN aviation body, ICAO, is having their own conversation on climate. The 36 members of ICAO’s Council have preferred to do it in private so they can make their own rules on their carbon market and alternative fuel sustainability criteria without too much fuss.

Who wants to complicate discussions, anyway? When it comes to carbon offsets and biofuels, the aviation industry must be deciding it’s easier to just accept them all and deal with the environmental and social consequences later.

Us folks in the UNFCCC are pretty impressed with the speed at which ICAO is checking off rules for their climate measures. We’re going to have to figure out how to adapt when airlines start buying offsets and biofuels from countries with Paris pledges. Parties are counting all their emissions reductions towards their climate targets. If airlines are claiming those same reductions for themselves then two targets are claiming one emission reduction. Doesn’t that invalidate one of the targets? We haven’t come up with any rules for dealing with that here yet...slow down ICAO you’re making us look bad!

It’s really too bad we can’t see what’s going on in ICAO’s climate discussions right now, we heard they end on the same day as the COP. I’m sure there are plenty of issues that relate to what we’re working on here: Markets, accounting, land use and food security discussions. This fossil is for the 36 ICAO Council countries that won’t show us their homework on the offsets and biofuels they plan to use. Perhaps they’re worried they might get a failing grade. 

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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Developed Countries, Japan, and Kuwait all win big, for being bad

Fossil Kuwait Japan All Developed Countries COP 23

Developed Countries – pre-2020

Our first Fossil of the Day Award goes to the developed countries, whose historic responsibility for climate change got us to where we are today, for opposing a discussion of pre-2020 actions and its inclusion as an agenda item at COP23. This year’s extreme weather events, which devastated communities across the world, shows the urgent need for action now – we can’t only have talk until 2020. As vulnerable countries plead for their survival, it is outrageous to see developed countries blocking this from happening. All countries need to do more in the pre-2020! This means developed countries need to also fulfil their previous commitments, including those on finance, which help poorer countries take action.

Have developed countries forgotten the Durban compromise and the creation of work stream 2 to advance pre-2020 ambition? It’s a mystery why the pre-2020 issues were ever dropped from the agenda in the first place. It’s not enough to merely put the item back, we must use the space to constructively advance pre-2020 ambition, with actions on the ground and additional support to developing countries.

This situation is now creating a trust deficit. As It seems that developed countries only want to create a perception that they are constructively engaged in the pre-2020 actions, but their rhetoric and actions, are saying otherwise.

This must end now. Developed countries must be open to a process under the COP to at least start the conversation.

 

Japan

We are really excited about the #WeAreStillIn movement in the United States. Well, there’s one more country that is also STILL IN the same world, however, in this case in an outdated COAL world...

Our second Fossil goes to Japan, who has agreed on a new energy partnership with US this week, which is called "JUSEP (Japan-United States Strategic Energy Partnership).” This partnership aims to support energy infrastructure projects in developing countries (especially in South East Asia, South Asia, and Sub-Saharan Africa), which includes "promoting nuclear technologies" and "deploying HELE coal technologies", as their priority for 2017-2018. On the other hand, there is no language in the partnership document to support renewables.

Japan says they will implement the Paris Agreement. Really? Japan together with the US Administration, is still trying to promote nuclear and coal, which hinders efforts for expanding renewable energy in developing countries. Japan should change its anachronistic policy on coal and nuclear.

 

Kuwait

Our third Fossil goes to Kuwait for insisting upon excluding observers yesterday from the Loss and Damage negotiations under SBI.

Don’t you hate being the only friend not invited to a party? Surely you would bring something valuable to the table. Perhaps an opinion, or some legitimacy. Why would you want to exclude the participation of those that are crucially important?

As we all know, observer participation is vital, to hold governments accountable, to give legitimacy to this process, and to bring in the important ideas that are created in civil society, just to name a few.

Kuwait should follow the example of others, Canada for example, who did stand up for observer inclusion (Bravo!), not ONLY in the Loss and Damage negotiations, but also in the Article 6 negotiations under SBSTA, and on the local communities and indigenous peoples platform.

Come on Kuwait, open up and let us in!

 

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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France Takes One Step Forward and One Step Back

Final Week 1 Wednesday

The Fossil of the day goes to France for postponing its target to drop share of nuclear energy in its power mix. France therefore sends a bad signal on its ability to meet its already agreed energy transition targets at home and shift from now towards a 100% renewable future.

France, you’ve been doing good so far on the international stage! You helped shape the Paris Agreement a great deal at COP21, and since then you’ve been working towards achieving ambitious outcomes in UNFCCC conferences. Congratulations on this, keep up the good work! But guess what, strong ambition in international meetings is not enough.  “Making our Planet Great Again” also requires coherence in national policies, and backsliding from agreed-on commitments cannot happen in a day if you want to remain the gatekeeper of the Paris agreement.

Yesterday, your government announced that you would not honor your 2025 nuclear phase down target of 50% in the electricity mix from current 75%, delaying your ambition from 5 to 10 years. This target was part of a law for energy transition, passed ahead of COP21 and after three years of inclusive dialogue with French civil society. Your newly-elected President Emmanuel Macron made the promise to respect and implement the energy transition as such.

But instead of running the full implementation by increasing energy efficiency measures and accelerating the deployment of renewables - where, by the way, you’re going to miss your 2020 target - your national debate will now focus on WHEN to phase down nuclear. In fact, you should be focusing on HOW to speed up the transition NOW.

At a time of urgency, your decision sends a bad signal at European and global levels: it suggests that a plan legally passed for energy transition, which aims to diversify energy sources towards more renewables, can be changed from a day to another without any dialogue. It also sends the wrong signal that countries mainly relying on a single energy power source may postpone their transition (as agreed before 2020 and by 2030) to more diversified sources, instead of doing it now.  

Next week, your President is to speak at the UNFCCC floor: don’t miss out this opportunity to show true leadership through global ambition AND bold national policies! We count on you!

 

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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It's Coal, Coal, Coal for Australia and Poland

Final Week 1 Tuesday

Australia

Today’s first Fossil goes to Australia for approving and funding fossil fuels!

Crikey, Australia, you’re stinking up the Pacific! What are you doing potentially giving billions to fund a mine that would increase the country’s emissions, endanger the already fragile Great Barrier Reef, and impact the vulnerable Pacific Islands?!

Both the Australian Queensland state and federal government have given approval for the Adani mine in the Galilee Basin. The only part of this devious plan that is missing, is funding. Not to worry, Adani has applied for nearly $1 billion in handouts from the government-backed Northern Australian Infrastructure Fund and are also seeking funding from China!

Not only would funding this mine be catastrophic for at least four threatened species, several vulnerable habitats, and the Great Barrier Reef, it would release heaps of emissions. The annual emissions from the Adani coal mine would be greater than the annual emissions of all 14 independent Pacific island countries (and also represents twice the emissions of New Zealand).

As bad neighbors go, Australia is the worst! Providing funding and approval for these mines (Adani isn’t the only one!) would put its already vulnerable neighbors at further risk. You should be striving to protect the Pacific Islands, Australia, not destroy them.

 

Poland

Our second Fossil of the Day goes to Poland for obstructing negotiations and trying to subsidize coal, rather than phasing it out.

With great power comes great responsibility. Unfortunately, Poland isn’t keen on the responsibility part. The host of the next COP is trying to turn the EU’s flagship climate tool into the largest coal subsidy scheme.

In the ongoing negotiations on the revision of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) Poland has been putting outstanding and relentless efforts to obstruct negotiations and sabotage the climate integrity of this climate policy.

After months of difficult negotiations between the European Parliament, the Council and the Commission, the EU is expected to finalize the revision process and set the rules for the coming decade (2020-2030) at a meeting tomorrow. The provisions designed to help Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries in the transformation of their energy systems remain a major sticking point in the negotiations.

To reflect the different starting points of the EU countries and challenges they face in terms of the decarbonisation EU ETS sets up dedicated funds to support lower income member states (namely CEE countries) in their efforts to transition towards clean energy. But at the moment the vast majority of these funds are being misused for subsidizing fossil fuels, coal power in particular. Poland has been fighting against any measures that would exclude coal from these funds in the future and also asking to further increase them. If Poland gets its way the ETS funds for CEE countries will be worth up to EUR 35bn and will potentially turn into largest coal subsidy scheme in history.

As the host of the next COP, countries in the EU should be scaling up climate action, not looking for ways to prolong coal through subsidies. It’s time to step up Poland – exclude coal!

 

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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It's a Ray for Those Still In

First Week 1 Monday COP 23

Today’s Opening Day Fossil of the Day is in fact …. a ‘Ray of the Day’ (not least to bring in some sunshine into a rain-sodden COP in Bonn though we are grateful for the images of sunny Fiji donning the walls of this fantastic two-zone venue).

The proverbial sunshine is inside the halls of the COP – the amazing spirit of the people present here from countries far and wide, committed to the task on hand: to move forward with implementing the Paris Agreement and staying focused on driving forward climate action.

Undeterred by talk of a Certain Someone with an incurable tweeting habit, their actions here speak louder than words: “We are still in and we are working towards a better future that makes our world safer, healthier and more prosperous for all and those to come”. 

Today’s Ray of the Day celebrates your achievements in the face of some very dark and flippant times. So stay on the path we have forged from Paris and keep your eyes on the horizon rather than the bumps in the road.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over1100 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.

About the Rays: 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. 

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