US ranks first in the Fossil of the Day Award for failing to take basic steps to halt fossil fuel production
Only last week in Glasgow, President Biden was talking sprints, marathons and finishing lines in the race to net zero. Seems like he’s had enough of those sporting analogies and is back to speaking the language of black gold and carbon as the U.S. is set to announce a new oil and gas drilling programme off the Gulf Coast.
As fossil fuel enabler-in-chief his administration has even outdone Trump by approving over 3,000 new drilling permits on public lands. Joe has refused to stop the Line 3 pipeline, expected to transport 760,000 barrels per day, and is keeping the fossil fuel lobby happy with sweet whispers of carbon capture storage and hydrogen. And the cherry on this carbon cake — the US shunned a global pact to commit to a coal end date.
Now we know he’s ‘talked the talk’ about stopping deforestation, taken the methane pledge, agreed to boost climate finance and outlined a clean energy investment plan but until this hot air is converted into action, we’re not convinced.
We may have more faith if he used his presidential powers to declare a climate emergency, stop Line 3 and, while he’s at it, end all new federal fossil fuel project permits and end oil exports. As the largest historical carbon emitter, Joe owes it to us all to pay that climate debt and then some.
Australia comes in second place for a diabolic strategy ahead of Transport Day
Day two of week two wouldn’t be complete without an appearance by Australia. This time, on top of their complete lack of progress on a worthwhile NDC 2030 update, or any remote plans to end fossil fuels, on the eve of ‘Transport Day’ at COP26, good old PM Scott Morrison has outdone himself again with an ‘inaction plan’ for EVs – in celebration of his love of gas guzzlers.
The #ScottyFromMarketing plan includes no new tax breaks, sales targets, subsidies, incentives to increase consumer EV choice and, to cap it all, zero improvements to air pollution or fuel quality standards. It looks like we’ll be hearing from those V8s for a good while longer. Our bet is that transport’s going to speed past electricity as the land down under’s biggest source of emissions in the not too distant future.
Serbia comes in third place for giving grace to big polluters
Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic came over all Shakespeare (or so he thought) during his COP26 speech, saying: “The Earth has music for those who listen”. Now our resident fact-checkers are pretty sure this isn’t one from the Bard of Avon. But what they are certain of is that: “Serbia hath laws for those that doth pollute.”
The Serbian Government has adopted amendments to the law on Integrated Pollution Prevention and Control, in favour of large scale polluters. The National Assembly Committee for Environment rubber-stamped these amendments giving coal-fired power stations free rein to continue business as usual without the necessary environmental permits for three more years with support from Members of the Serbian National Assembly.
It seems fitting that we end today’s fossil with a quote from Shakespeare about something that is as relevant today as it was then:
“Let the clean air blow the cobwebs from your body. Air is medicine. … I know that our bodies were made to thrive only in pure air, and the scenes in which pure air is found” – Troilus and Cressida
Senior Communications Officer