Fossil of the Day

12 December 2019

Our voices are being silenced and it´s not funny. 

Despite emptier hallways this evening, we continue to hold space even as our colleagues are shut outside in the cold simply for raising their voices for a better future and climate justice.

Today, the UNFCCC security deserves a fossil but we had previously decided to give it to a few nasty countries and we won’t let the UNFCCCs bad behaviour derail us from commenting on the negotiations.

Today we award the first place fossil of the day award to Japan for rejecting the opportunity to commit to climate ambition and coal phase out.

It is hard to describe how deeply disappointed we are with Japan’s announcement €” or  lack thereof €” today. 

Japan’s Environment Minister, Shinjiro Koizumi, said Japan rejected yet another opportunity to improve its “highly insufficient” emission reduction target and to end financing for coal.

Since 2012, Japan has built 15 new coal plants; an additional 15 NEW domestic coal-fired power plants are currently under construction. This deadly buildout would make it impossible for Japan to achieve its already insufficient target, let alone raise ambition.

Japan also continues to be the world’s second largest financier of coal-fired power plants overseas. The country argues that its “highly efficient” coal-fired technologies contribute to the lives of people in developing countries, however,  the science is clear: coal has to be immediately phased out everywhere in the world if we are to have any hope of limiting warming to 1.5ºC. 

As a rich country, Japan had a golden opportunity to show leadership in responding to the science and charging ahead with transforming and decarbonizing an industrial economy.    

Japan’s continued conduct and support for dirty coal is an international embarrassment. Let us say: “How dare you, Japan?.”

The second Fossil of the Day award goes to Brazil for legitimizing land grabbing and deforestation.

Bolsonaro rewards criminal gangs and ignites a carbon bomb.

  Elected under the promise of bringing law and order to his country, Brazil’s far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro gave criminal gangs quite the Christmas present last night; he sent Congress an executive decree that grants a wide amnesty for land grabbing, the single most important driver of deforestation (hence carbon emissions) in Brazil. The new legislation, which still has to go through Congress, states that if you invaded and clear-cut public land as of 2018 you can still get land titles. 

In the best possible case, the move will allow the additional deforestation of 1.6 million hectares (the size of England) and the emission of 650 million tonnes of CO2 in the next seven years. What’s worse, this sends a political signal that crime pays. We simply can’t control deforestation if we don’t stop criminal land grabbing. In the past, Brazil managed to drive deforestation down by controlling the invasion of public land. It appears that Brazil has become the country where environmentalists go to jail €” if they are not killed €” and criminal land invasions get the stamp of legality. 

And as if that wasn’t enough, upon hearing that Greta Thunberg tweeted about Indigenous Brazilians assassinated for protecting their land, Bolsonaro called her a pirralha, or “brat”. It seems like there are no limits to the idiocy of this President and his Ministers.

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