FIRST PLACE: AUSTRIA
It looks like we 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 subsidise 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 EUR ‚¬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 build new coal plants in the EU, thanks to these subsidies.
Austria leads the EU Member States in these negotiations €” which could end subsidies to coal. Instead, it has chosen to please coal laggards like Poland, Greece and Bulgaria, rather than listen to 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 €” failing to provide cru- cial signals on climate finance and regain the trust of developing countries. To top it all off, Vice-Chancellor Strache has brought ridi- cule on the Presidency by denying anthropogenic climate change! Furthermore, the rest of the government has been silent on this issue, despite these comments coming during this crucial climate summit in Katowice.
All in all, this has damaged the credibility of EU Member States at this COP, sabotaging their ability to show real leadership and take the necessary domestic action to quit coal and clean up our cars as elemental steps towards 1.5 degrees.
SECOND PLACE: 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 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 the USA, Poland, the EU, Austria, Norway, Australia, the UK, Russia, Japan, and Germany.
Developed countries have too often stood in the way of meaningfully addressing the mandate from Warsaw in 2013 €“ and now 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; refusing to take responsibility for their hefty share in causing the climate crisis and severely harming vulnerable countries.
To close, a special birthday song: *to the tune of Happy Birthday*