“Coaland” Poland Returns to Fossil Stage with 1st Place, Canada Earns Another Fossil in 2nd

30 November 2011

Durban, South Africa – Poland has not won a Fossil of the Day by itself since 2008, when it hosted the United Nations climate change negotiations in its city of Poznań. All that changed today, when it took First Place for putting coal ahead of climate. Canada, which has won plenty of Fossils since 2008 (and plenty since the start of this week), won another, coming in Second Place with another insult by its Environment Minister to developing countries.

The Fossils as presented read:

Canada wins the 2nd place Fossil for failing to understand the fundamental principal of common but
differentiated responsibility.

A memo for Canada:

Once upon a time, countries agreed by consensus on a little thing known as ‘Common But Differentiated Responsibilities’ – this became a central pillar in global climate negotiations, recognizing that those who did the most to cause this problem should act first and fastest to clean up the mess they made.
It seems that Canada’s Environment Minister missed the briefing on this fundamental principle of global climate talks. The minister has made a series of blunders over recent days, garnering Canada 3 Fossil of the Day awards so far. This most recent blunder is particularly insulting to the majority of the world who, in addition to living in poverty, are also dealing with the worst impacts of climate change right now.
Minister Kent rejects the idea of ‘guilt payment’ to poorer countries for emissions. He said, ‘there is a fairly widely held perception in the developing world of the need for guilt payment to be built into any international deal on climate’ (It’s a view Ottawa does not share).

We suspect this will not be a popular opinion here at an African COP – perhaps Minister Kent should prepare himself for the political storms that will await him here in Durban.”

Poland wins the 1st place Fossil. Is it a Polish Presidency or a Coal-ish Presidency of the EU at this COP!?
CAN is amazed by recent actions of the Polish EU Presidency which endangers the credibility of the EU at these negotiations. While EU diplomats are trying to find solutions for the climate crisis in Durban, the Polish Presidency has decided to support ‘the European Coal Days’ by using its Presidency logo. Promoting the dirtiest of fossil fuels at the very same time as the crucial talks in Durban are getting underway seems to be a joke both for EU diplomacy as well as the global effort to stay below 2 degrees
The Polish Presidency seems to be talking out of both sides of its collective mouth. On one hand, it decides to support a private interest lobby for the most polluting of all fossil fuels, while on the other, it is talking big about finding a global solution to climate change.
As one Member of European Parliament in Durban said, ‘It’s not helping the EU’s efforts in Durban. The presidency should be playing an important role but instead, this is absolutely weakening the EU’s position in Durban, and the Polish presidency is to blame.’
Roughly half of global emissions come from coal! Poland – or is it Coal-land – seems keen to see this reliance on coal to continue to grow rather than make the urgently needed move to renewable, non-polluting energy sources.
We urge the Polish Presidency to abandon coal and, in support of the rest of the EU working hard in Durban, embrace a clean, green 100% renewable energy future.”

Follow-up to the Polish Fossil Award (December 2, 2011):

We have a special update on a Fossil Award from earlier this week!  It seems we’ve gotten some attention!

As you may recall, CAN Awarded a Fossil of the Day to Poland on Wednesday for their apparent association with the “European Coal Days”.

Well, the Polish government has responded!!!!

December 1, CAN received a letter from them explaining the situation further (image below).

In the letter, they explain that their logo was used without their government’s permission, and that they have asked the conference organizers to make it clear that Poland is not associated with the event.

We must say that we are relieved that the Polish Presidency decided to distance itself from this coal lobby event. What’s more, we look forward to working with Poland to ensure that they become climate leaders by quitting their coal investment plan and embracing a greener energy future.

We also want to remind them — and all parties — that we hope we might have the opportunity to award a Ray of the Day sometime soon should they show true leadership at these talks.

As always, we’ll be watching carefully!

About CAN: The Climate Action Network is a worldwide network of roughly 500 Non-Governmental
Organizations (NGOs) 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 in the last days of talks.


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