Japan on notice, picking up extraordinary Fossil of the Day Award as glacial progress made at Bonn Climate Change Conference

4 June 2015

Bonn, Germany – June 4, 2015 – At the Bonn Climate Conference today where countries are pushing forward a new global agreement due to be signed in Paris this December, Climate Action Network (CAN) members took stock of the progress negotiators have made over the past three days and identified the key tasks that lie ahead. Meanwhile, CAN gave a Fossil of the Day award to Japan as the country that has been doing the most to block progress on climate action (see full award statement below).

During this morning’s press conference, CAN members and allies made the following comments:

"The process of bringing down the size of the draft Paris agreement has been slow going so far; the good news is that the tone in the rooms is relatively positive for this stage in the process. Parties appear to be rebuilding some of the trust lost in Lima. But the key point here is this isn’t just about making the text shorter, it’s about making the text stronger. Right now you have almost every option you could want in the text. Parties need to focus on maintaining the elements that would trigger the most ambition. That’s what civil society is looking for in the second week here. Meanwhile, we have an all-star line-up of under-achievers today presenting their current climate action plans in Bonn – Australia, Canada, and Japan. These are three countries are among those that have sat at the table for dinner the longest. They’ve eaten the most and they, therefore, owe the most. But what we’re seeing today is that they’re doing the least.” Lou Leonard, Vice President Climate Change, World Wildlife Fund-US

“At the G7 Summit this weekend, leaders can back a phase out fossil fuel emissions in favour of 100% renewable energy by 2050. Doing so, would give a strong signal to investors, and could build trust in UNFCCC talks underway here in Bonn. But Canada and Japan are blocking efforts to send this signal. President Obama needs to walk the talk now and help Chancellor Merkel to bring Japan and Canada on to the team so that the G7 leaders stand on the right side of history."  Martin Kaiser, Head International Climate Politics, Greenpeace

“Japan must present a more ambitious emission reduction target if it has to responsibly address climate change. A mid term reduction target of 26 percent on 2013 levels by 2030 is too weak and regressive. It is jeopardising Japan’s position in a world order that is increasingly showing better climate ambition. Japan is trailing behind the US and EU on climate action right now. While it continues to be a significant donor of international development aid in the Asian region, it can’t go it alone on climate. Japan can’t self-marginalize itself from the realities of climate change. With the kind of ambitious action required to avert the climate crisis, we cannot afford to have countries saying 'we will cross the bridge when we get there'. We have to get there now, and every step matters."  Yeb Sano, former climate commissioner of the Philippines and now Leader of the People’s Pilgrimage for Our Voices.

Japan Handed Extraordinary Fossil of the Day Awards in Bonn

In an extraordinary move, CAN members voted to hand Japan a Fossil of the Day award during the Bonn Climate Conference. The Fossils are normally handed out daily during the major climate talks of the year, Conference of the Parties but the network felt strongly that Japan’s efforts needed to be acknowledged for the following reasons:

Strike One! Today’s first place fossil goes to Japan for their extremely weak INDC, for using smoke and mirrors (shifting baselines) to fake ambition, and for having the audacity to claim this is in-step with developed country 80% by 2050 targets. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzō Abe will present this weak excuse for an INDC – which equates to an 18% cut on 1990 levels – to G7 leaders this weekend, where he will presumably try to pull the wool over their eyes too. This INDC is not ambitious or fair.

Strike Two! The second fossil award goes to Japan for blocking a proposal from G7 countries that would help development aid and banks work in line with efforts to prevent global temperatures rising beyond the 2C degree threshold. Seriously, does Japan want to lead us towards a world with catastrophic levels of warming?

Strike Three! Japan wins the third fossil for funding carbon intensive coal projects in developing countries. Despite growing criticisms from international community – Japan was awarded a fossil in Lima for this dastardly behaviour – it continues to do so. As long as Japan keeps its dirty coal policy, the fossil awards will keep coming. Japan should be funding renewable energy solutions, not dirty coal.

You’re out! Japan get’s THREE fossil awards

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.

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 900 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) from over 100 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human-induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

Contact: Ria Voorhaar, CAN International, email: rvoorhaar@climatenetwork.org, phone: +49 157 3173 5568



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