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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