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2020 Fossil of the 5-Years | Special Paris Agreement 5-Year Anniversary Edition

#Fossilof5Years: the Fossil of the Day Paris Agreement 5th Anniversary Special Edition

11 December 2020: Five years after the Paris Agreement, countries continue to outdo each other at being best in doing the worst to fight the climate crisis. But some are always better than others (hint: surprise they haven’t been invited to the Paris Agreement Birthday Party). 

Through a fair and democratic voting process (that required no recounts), Climate Action Network, the world’s largest network of 1,300 civil society organisations working on climate change in over 130 countries, chose the USA as the overall winner of the Colossal Fossil of Five Years to mark the 5th Anniversary of the Paris Agreement. USA also won a second Fossil Award for Not Providing Finance and SupportAustralia won a Fossil Award for Not Honoring the 1.5°C Commitment, and Brazil won two Fossil Awards for Not Protecting People from Climate Impacts and Not Listening to the People and Shrinking Civic Space.

USA: Colossal Fossil of Five Years
Let’s be honest, the USA has never been the loudest cheerleader for climate action. In some ways President Trump simply said the quiet parts aloud. ‘America First’ has always been the north star guiding the US’ official line in international climate talks, like when verbally bulldozing proposals for climate compensation and finance for Loss and Damage to vulnerable countries, arm-twisting poorer nations into accepting weak climate targets from rich countries and flexing their diplomatic muscle to break or make deals, all the while with handshakes and smiles. Until….2016.
A Colossal Fossil of Five Years can never capture the depths of ineptitude and damage of the Trump years: from amplifying climate denialism, to dismantling domestic environmental policies to undermining progress in multilateral spaces like the UNFCCC, the IPCC, the G20 & G7 and the GCF

USA: Fossil for Not Providing Finance and Support   
In the Trump years, the USA has been particularly stingy on finance for climate action. Withdrawing from the Paris Agreement was bad enough but the USA used its bully pulpit to obstruct finance to developing countries. By ceasing all finance to the Green Climate Fund (inspiring other countries like Australia) it deprived millions of people in poor countries critical resources to adapt to the climate crisis. Funding to the IPCC was also summarily halted, unsurprisingly some might say, by an anti-science administration.

So when it comes to climate change, ‘America First’ only means the USA’s outsized lead as the largest historical carbon emitter. To be clear, this is not a fossil award to the American people. We salute them for voting out a climate denier! Polls consistently show Americans want a climate-safe future and President-elect Biden must act on this mandate. He must take a seat at the international table and ensure the US does its fairshare on cutting its domestic emissions drastically by 2030 and substantially increasing international finance. Rejoining the Paris Agreement and recommitting money to the Green Climate Fund will be the starting steps in this new journey. It is time for the wealthiest nation to put the planet and all its people first.

Australia: Fossil for Not Honoring the 1.5°C Commitment

Before Scott Morrison became Australian Prime Minister, he once brandished a lump of coal in parliament. That was in 2017, when he accused his opponents of having a “pathological fear of coal”. A few short years later, the only pathological behaviour remains his government’s ongoing infatuation with fossil fuels when the rest of the world has moved on. As the largest exporter of coal and gas, Australia’s federal government has done virtually nothing over the past five years to tackle the climate emergency. The government's woefully inadequate 2030 Paris Agreement target is in line with a catastrophic 3°C rise. And it has tried to cheat by using carryover credits from the Kyoto Protocol to meet around half of it. The Australian government has refused to set a national long term target (net zero by 2050)despite every State and Territory of Australia having now set a long term net zero climate target. Australia’s current emission reduction trend will reach net-zero in 300 years! And to top it all, Australia has withdrawn funding entirely from the Green Climate Fund

The world watched swathes of Australia's bush burn last summer contributing to significant biodiversity loss and impacting the most vulnerable people. Besides stinking up the planet, Australia appears to be reneging on acommitment to net zero emissions made to Pacific Island Neighbours in October 2019. How does Australia face its Pacific Island neighbours, many of whom will be displaced in the next two-to-three decades unless we scale up efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C?  Australia must get sensible fast otherwise the Morrsion government is staring at a dark legacy of climate inaction. Will future generations have to view plastic replicas of the Great Barrier Reef in a museum of climate horrors alongside stuffed mounts of the critically endangered Mountain Pygmy Possum?

Brazil: Fossil for Not Protecting People from Climate Impacts

An alarming climate tipping point could happen much sooner than expected when the dense, green canopy of the Amazon rainforest turns into a dry open savannah, an irreversible process that is being hastened by increasing fires and logging. The policies of “Chainsaw” Bolsonaro have ensured that the ‘"Cooler of the Planet"’ is now a scarred, choking mess. This year’s fires are among the worst in ten years with a 14% increase in fires compared to the already catastrophic figures from last year. The world’s largest tropical wetland, the Pantanal, was consumed by flames this year, wrecking the lives of Indigineous communities there and all its biodiversity. Things look grim in Brazil as Bolsonaro offers concessions to agribusiness and mining magnates, turns his back on Indigenous communities and repeatedly denies climate change. Just to prove the point, Brazil has pledged over 70% of funding under its existing energy plan to fossil fuels and has extended subsidies to offshore oil exploitation until 2040! 

Brazil: Fossil for Shrinking Civil Space

Despite tough competition from Russia, Brazil was voted for a fossil for its escalating crackdown on civil society groups resisting its regressive policies and fighting for the rights of Indigenous communities. A leaked document shows Brazil’s military plans to control “100% of NGOs working in the Amazon” and is set to advance policies to starve NGOs of funding. It is no wonder that Brazil ranks number three in the world for the murder of environmental defenders.   
"Civil society, despite being threatened in Brazil, must strengthen itself to pressure, nationally and internationally, for effective emission reduction measures, to preserve our forests and protect Indigenous Peoples", said Nayara Castiglioni Amaral, general coordinator of Engajamundo, a Brazilian youth organization.

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 global network of over 1,300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 countries working to promote government and individual action to limit human0induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org  

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Fossil of the Day 13 December 2019

Brazil receives Colossal Fossil Award at COP25 in Madrid

Today the winner of the Colossal fossil may not come as a surprise to many. Yes there is a country that really outdone others in destroying the climate concretely on the ground and in the negotiations, attacking and killing the very people who are protecting unique ecosystems: indigenous people.

Brazil is the winner of CAN´s COP25 colossal fossil.

What a difference a year makes. Cradle of the UNFCCC and widely praised for impressive emission cuts in the last decade, Brazil has become a climate pariah. Eleven months into the far-right government of Jair Bolsonaro, the South American country has joined the United States as one of the main threats to the Paris Agreement.

Bolsonaro, self-dubbed “Capitan Chainsaw”, has managed to kill environmental policies that helped Brazil achieve spectacular emission reductions in the past decade. The results were the highest Amazon deforestation rates in a decade, a spike in land invasions and the murder of three indigenous leaders just this week. The government is also cracking down on environmentalists – who Bolsonaro famously blamed for setting fire to the jungle. 

Brazil had some bizarre behaviors in Madrid, such as blocking mention to human rights on article 6.4 and opposing language on “climate emergency” in the COP decision. And the usual ones, like insisting on lose accounting rules for article 6.4 and on flooding the market with rotten Kyoto credits in order to appease old lobbies that got pink badges for Madrid – unlike civil society. Jair Bolsonaro is a walking carbon bomb who no doubt deserves this great achievement, the Colossal Fossil.

And much more.

 

Ray of the Year goes to Indigenous People and the Youth

Despite continuous discrimination and risk, indigenous people have fought to save the environment since the beginning of time. Today more than ever and despite suffocating closing on their space, they continue to fight at the forefront of climate struggles. For this and for simply existing and challenging systemized monocultures, they systematically get oppressed - often having to hold space with patience, love, and resilience, despite all the violence they face on a daily basis. This COP25, which originally was supposed to be held in Chile, where access was easier, was a golden opportunity to express themselves. But another oppressive government decided to change that and the COP shifted to Madrid. Still, they showed up and raised their voices. Despite exclusion and silencing, they continue to safeguard environmental and cultural diversity and integrity..

 

Young people around the world have mobilized millions of people to march on the streets, fighting desperately for their lives and their future. It’s not inspiring - indeed it’s downright depressing - that they have to mobilise like this just to get a halfway decent future, but it’s their resilience, their courage, and their determination to never let politicians get away with destruction of their hopes and dreams that is truly inspiring. They have been called radical, yet what is truly radical is to continue blitzing the world with fossil fuels. What’s truly radical, is to pretend that the cost of action is somehow greater than the cost of inaction; the cost of the future, the cost of entire civilisations. Young people’s mobilisation forced Governments to act, demonstrated the power of the people, and inspired so many. 

 

These beacons of hope deserve CAN´s Ray of the Year. Power to the people.

Fossil of the Day 12 December 2019

Fossil of the Day at COP25 - December 12th

Today we have in first place for the fossil of the day award the United States of America (USA) (again and again)!

The main reason is for generally really standing in the way of any money going to the people suffering from climate change. This has been going on for at least six years. This should really raise eyebrows about the country´s lack of empathy. Are there real people in office in the US People with actual hearts? Or have they replaced their humanity with a lump of coal?

First inhumanity, and now they put on full display their paranoia! They are afraid of being held accountable for causing droughts in Africa. They are afraid of being held accountable for the drowning of the Pacific; the destruction of entire civilisations. Actually, they should be held accountable but this is not what the Paris Agreement is about. It is about international cooperation, no developing country talked about liability. Yet the US insists on language on liability and compensation in the draft COP Decision text on the Review of the Warsaw International Mechanism on Loss & Damage (WIM).

Hey US you are on your way out, you are not giving a single dollar to the Green Climate Fund and now you don’t want any help to get to the people bearing the brunt of the mess you created! And still, you want to be part of the WIM’s Executive Committee! Pay up or step out, let others move forward already.

The Second Fossil of the Day award goes to developed countries with special mention to the European Union, Canada and Australia for showing lack of ambition in responding to vulnerable peoples’needs on loss and damage.

The WIM Review unofficially began on December 1st, and the overwhelming message was that finance to address loss and damage must be an outcome of COP25.

Two weeks later, poor and vulnerable countries and civil society are wondering if developed countries attended a different meeting on December 1st.

While we acknowledge they have been less problematic than the US, developed countries, including Australia, Canada and the European Union have done very little very late to advance discussions on loss and damage finance age. It’s especially confusing when all three have agreed that existing climate finance is insufficient. Anyhow, aren’t they the rich people in the room? And part of the club that caused the problem in the first place? Why is it so difficult for them to pay for the damages they are still causing.  Also…hey Canada… isn’t high time you differentiate yourself from cronies like Australia and the US? 

It is beyond us to understand how developed countries can sit by and continue to twiddle their thumbs whilst vulnerable communities in developing countries experience severe losses and damages. You have one day left to show you want to be on the right side of history!

 

The third fossil award goes to Australia - for using carbon market loopholes to meet its climate targets

We award this fossil to Australia for planning to cheat the atmosphere by carrying over its credits from the Kyoto protocol. Instead of cutting greenhouse gas pollution, Australia is using creative accounting. Please bear with us now: Australia plans to count surplus carbon credits from exceeding previous targets against future targets. Regrettably, this was allowed under the old Kyoto protocol, but it is not even mentioned in the Paris agreement. No country in though about such trickery.

To make things worse, since the Paris Agreement is a new and separate treaty, this is not even legal stuff! 

Related Event: 

Fossil of the Day 09 December 2019

Today we have a special star for Fossil of the Day! The United States (US) managed to get its name on three fossil awards in one day! This country is really making its best effort to be the worst for future generations and vulnerable communities worldwide. 

The US is doing great at getting its name down in history as the frontrunner in destroying planet Earth. Is it possible that it is hiding a Planet B somewhere, or is it just enjoying leading the world peeps to mass suicide?!

 

Fossil 1:

Today, we award the first fossil to the US for insisting on staying in the process just to block money, while refusing to pay its fair share for causing all the loss and damage so painfully felt by poor and vulnerable people worldwide through droughts, heatwaves, hurricanes, fires and other extreme weather events.

 

We’re here in the halls of power, and the table is set. Despite leaving the Paris Agreement, the US is inviting itself to have a seat at the table, while making it clear they have no intention of paying the bill. The US is trying to bully other countries into letting them stay on the board of the loss and damage Executive Committee, a core institution in the Paris Accord.

Meanwhile, Southern Africa faces its worst drought in 35 years. Eleven million people are facing climate induced starvation.

But what is the US even doing here at the table - it did boast about leaving the Paris Accord, didn't it? They have been leading a pack of blockers, part of the “rich boys club.” If these countries follow the US example, they’ll be forcing those hardest impacted to foot the bill. To that we say: “If you are going to leave, then you get out of the way..."

 

Fossil 2:

The second fossil of the day award goes to the US and Australia for withholding their pledges to the Green Climate Fund (GCF)

Back in November, a handful of countries doubled their contributions to the GCF, but guess what? Most contributor countries were not up to the challenge. Two of them even forgot their responsibility to provide adequate and sufficient funding for poor countries: the US and Australia simply decided to turn their back and withhold their pledges, snubbing all the scientists and people in the streets who are sounding the alarm on the climate emergency.

Other countries, including Canada, Japan, Switzerland, Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Austria, and Portugal, so far have not delivered double the dough or paid for the pollution they created!  (We’re looking for countries to at least double their first GCF contribution, in line with their fair share). So will ministers arrive to the party empty-handed tomorrow? What manners, soiled with dirty fossil fuels! Or will they come up with the goods, and top-up? 

As a reminder, ambitious GCF contributions are key to support vulnerable communities adapting to climate change, and to create the right conditions for enhanced ambition in 2020. 

 

Fossil 3:

The third fossil of the day goes out to the US and Canada! 

Hey Canada! You put a good show with your progressive positions, pushing for human and Indigenous rights here at COP25, all while violating these same rights back home! Yes you, fingers are pointed at you, for recklessly approving fossil fuel infrastructure projects that are not in line with the Paris Agreement, such as the TMX pipeline.

US friends, of course, are completely out of tune with science and are moving ahead with dirty projects such as fracking in the Permian Basin. No wonder you were called out as the worst countries in the Production Gap Report.

In the age of climate emergency, the US and Canada need to keep fossil fuels in the ground and respect Indigenous rights and sovereignty. This includes for Canada rejecting the Teck Frontier Mine, the largest tar sands surface mine ever proposed.

Ray of the Day

Hey, Danish parliament, wow! Now that´s what we can call climate leadership. They agreed on a Climate Law that is binding for current and future governments, and is in line with the 1.5°C temperature limit. Basically, Denmark turned science into law! 

This law is really cool - it encourages global cooperation, and enables Denmark to be a climate leader at the international level and deliver on commitments.

The story is not finished yet. Denmark set the target of reducing GHG emissions by 70% in 2030. Denmark agreed not to play the game of carbon trade to ensure complete environmental integrity.

Each sector is targeted with a strategy, including agriculture, transport and construction. These strategies are set annually in a “Climate Action Plan” based on an independent climate council, which will monitor to ensure that targets are being met through action. The Minister of Climate has a duty to act on Climate Council recommendations. 

Denmark, thank you for setting a great example to follow!

 

Related Event: 

Fossil of the Day 07 December 2019

07 December - Fossil of the Day goes to the US!

Today’s fossil award goes to the United States (US) yet again!

This time for blocking financial support to vulnerable communities receiving the blow of climate change - which the US is disproportionately responsible for creating.

Apparently, the US wants to make sure that the rest of us properly grasped their stonewalling intentions: They are not paying any greenbacks for loss and damage. Rumor has it, they expect Mexico to pay for it!

The Richest Country in the world reiterated that they will not support Loss and Damage finance, and now they also thumbed their nose at developing countries by essentially saying that the executive committee  on loss and damage should continue its cerebral exercise of “breaking down the issues” (whatever that means) to determine what support or finance is needed - which is essentially saying “send me a detailed bill, that I have no intention of paying.” 

Furthermore, if the executive committee on loss and damage is unable to complete this work then the finance aspect should only be discussed when the task is completed —which could mean 7-8 years down the road. The world and the science respond by saying: we do NOT have 7-8 years! Also, need we remind you, that because of your fossil fuel addiction - you damaged the climate and it is far beyond time to take responsibility for your behavior and pay for damages.

In a nutshell: the US says that the executive committee on loss and damage should do more to determine risks, linking them to actions to be taken, then spell out the support and finance necessary for actions. The US doesn´t want to discuss finance before that academic work is done. This is nonsense! The US should shut its mouth and immediately pay for the losses and damages felt by those who did nothing to cause this crisis.

It seems that our number one per capita polluter wants to collect the record number of fossils at this COP!  If that truly is your goal, US of A, congratulations, you are well on your way.  

 

 

 
Related Event: 

Fossil of the Day 05 December 2019

Fossil of the Day 05 December 2019 COP25

Today’s winners of fossil of the day are two giants of bad behavior. Guess who?
Who else! The United States (US) and Russia!

The US and Russia

Looks like the United States (US) and Russia share more than the ability to bully other countries, rig elections (and lead in climate-wrecking oil and gas production)! They want to make loss and damage in the negotiations weak again!
The US gets the fossil for opposing that money reaches vulnerable communities, through the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) for Loss and Damage, to deal with climate change impacts, which Uncle Sam has helped cause by being a massive polluter.

Russia gets to share the fossil award with the US for having the chutzpah to try and throw out human rights and gender from the loss and damage negotiations.
The US folks seem to have a very short memory. They’re forgetting that waaaay back in 2013, countries agreed to “enhance action and support, including finance” for loss and damage via the WIM.

And Russia, come on! A record of human rights abuses both at home and blatantly at the international level? This is an overdose of bad Vodka! You cannot revoke people’s right to
life, to a home and education, with a stroke of a pen.

Hey Russia if you don’t understand how gender, human rights and gender are related, maybe you shouldn’t be part of this conversation?

All these basic human rights are at risk when the impacts of climate go beyond what it is possible to adapt to. If Russia paid more attention, they would know that women and children are amongst the most affected after a disaster.

A special mention goes to Japan and Australia. You are also showing extreme hard-heartness towards vulnerable developing countries who desperately need your support. Support – aka finance that was agreed six years ago. Don’t find ridiculous reasons not to provide it now by focusing on insurance (insurance is not relevant for poor people - and why are we making the people on the front line of climate impacts pay insurance premiums to cover climate damage they had no role in causing?)

A few countries gave us some hope in these negotiations.

We are giving Canada, Colombia, Vanuatu, Mexico, New Zealand, Australia, Norway, and Switzerland the Ray of the Day for insisting on human rights in provisions of Article 6 regulating global carbon markets. There is no ambitious climate action without justice as well as respect for gender and human rights. All these countries need to keep pushing for the inclusion of human rights and gender considerations until rules are adopted in Madrid.

All countries signatories to the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigneous Peoples, are legally obliged to do more. They must push for the inclusion of Indigenous Rights in the text and vocally recognize and demonstrate respect for Indigenous Rights and their right to sovereignty in their home countries.

Related Event: 

Fossil of the Day 03 December 2019

First Fossil of the Day at COP25 - December 3, 2019

It’s a tie! Three countries managed to equally rank first at being the worst!

Today’s fossil award goes to Australia, Brazil and Japan. They managed to be as bad as each other!

Prime Minister Scott Morrison enjoying a game of cricket as fires rage in Australia

As Australia has been on fire in recent weeks – literally - with an astounding 6000-kilometre front of flaming destruction killing six people, wiping out homes, forests, precious habitat and farmland. Experts, one after another, connected the dots to climate change.

But not Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison. He made his view known on national radio, declaring that Australia’s unprecedented bushfires were unconnected to climate change. He said he doesn’t think that Australia doing more on climate would have changed fire outcomes this season, despite Australia being the world’s third biggest fossil fuel exporter.

Instead of taking responsible action on climate change, the Prime Minister made clear he was sending his thoughts and prayers to those who had suffered loss. Forget climate action, just thoughts and prayers. 

The same day as fires busily destroyed people’s lives, Prime Minister Morrison went to a cricket game, and happily posed with cricketers tweeting: “Going to be a great summer of cricket, and for our firefighters and fire-impacted communities, I’m sure our boys will give them something to cheer for.” Deputy PM Michael McCormack chimed in for good measure, declaring that even raising the issue of climate change while fires were burning is a ‘disgrace’.

Students have taken to the streets by the thousands calling for stronger climate action. The country has faced record breaking heat, extreme drought, the driest spring ever recorded and unseasonal bushfires. Yet, Australia’s Prime Minister has rejected climate as a driving force, rejected calls for stronger ambition, and instead pointed to thoughts, prayers and cricket as the answer.

NGO’s are the scapegoats, Brazil has no one else to blame for the destruction of the Amazon

Imagine the following scene: a man with a gun breaks in a bank. Pointing at the manager, he says he is in deep debt, and demands his credit limits to be raised, because he used to be a good payer before he had that account. That scene is playing out right now at COP25. The baffled manager is the international community. The desperate assailant is Brazil, who came to Madrid demanding to be paid for burning down the Amazon forest.

Yes, you've read it right: Brazil, the former climate champion who cut emissions from deforestation in 80% in the past. Brazil, of samba, caipirinhas and savvy diplomats who brokered difficult deals in past COPs. Under the far-right, Trump-loving government of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil is telling the world here in Madrid that it will not negotiate until it gets paid to dump more CO2 into the atmosphere. That creative negotiation tactic has earned Brazil the first Fossil of the Day of COP25.

President Bolsonaro's special envoy to Madrid is Environment minister Ricardo Salles, who will no doubt update your definitions of "honest broker". Salles was convicted for environmental fraud days before he took office. He lied to the media about having a master's degree at Yale. He was sued for suggesting that Greenpeace was behind the massive oil spill in the Brazilian coast that he failed to respond to. And, the icing on the cake, he is a climate denier who famously said that COPs are nothing but luxury vacations to civil servants to debate the state of the world 500 years from now. One wonders what the heck are you are doing here, minister? Did you fly business? How about coming back in 500 years?

In only 11 months, Salles and his boss have dismantled Brazil's environmental governance, grounded enforcement agencies and frozen the world's biggest REDD+ program, the celebrated Amazon Fund. The results have been an appalling increase in violence against Indigenous peoples, an unprecedented surge in illegal logging, and a 30% increase in deforestation this year – the highest in a decade. As a consequence, Brazil is sure to miss its 2020 deforestation reduction target and is totally off track on its NDC.

Several studies have indicated that deforestation rates in Brazil in a weak governance scenario can triple, with yearly emissions of up to 1.3 billion tonnes in the Amazon alone. That is not only a blow to Brazil's Paris targets, but also to the 1.5C degree goal.

All that Mr. Salles has to say about this is "trust me". We don't think so.

Japan

The Japanese government received massive criticism over its coal addiction and expansion policy. And today, Minister of Economy, Trade and Industry Hiroshi Kajiyama completely ignored the science. In response to a media question about the UNEP Emissions Gap Report recommendation about coal phase out in Japan, Minister Kajiyama said that he is adamant Japan will continue using coal.

In a jiffy, Minister Kajiyama snubbed the international community and the Paris Agreement. Instead of showing a commitment to multilateralism and the climate, Minister Kajiyama showed commitment to destroying the planet and putting people in danger. Shame on you Japan, if you don’t stop your coal addiction now.

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

About Fossil: 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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

COP25 Fossil of the Day - December 4th

COP25 Fossil of the Day - December 4th

At this rate, fossil awards will run out! Several countries will be awarded the Fossil of the day today, again! 

Bosnia and Slovenia rank first! Slovenia wants to fund Bosnia’s coal addiction through Slovenian NLB Banka partly owned by the government and partly by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. That is unheard of! When your brother suffers from drug addiction, you don’t go giving him money to buy more drugs. 

While world leaders gather here in Madrid to address climate change by cutting emissions primarily though coal and other fossil fuels phase out and as Europe prepares to pledge to be the first climate neutral continent, it is shameful that European banks work in the other direction! 

The second fossil award goes to Australia! Again! 

To evade its responsibility as a wealthy nation and major climate polluter, to do its fair share to assist Indigenous Peoples in Less Developed Countries (LDCs) in the face of catastrophic climate impacts, Australia used the vulnerability of First Peoples to claim we need to; ‘break down the developed / developing country divide’, and gives Australia the same financial responsibility for climate action as for example, Timor Leste, Vanuatu, Tuvalu or Bangladesh. THIS IS DISGRACEFUL! 

The truth is - First Nations Peoples are the original Sovereign First Peoples. 

In their words: We are at the front line of many injustices including climate change. We are at the front line of climate impacts despite being the least responsible. 

This is true whether our sovereign lands are in developed or developing countries. 

Australia is breaching our human and Indigenous rights. First Peoples don’t separate our livelihoods from our environment, our culture or our climate. 

The third fossil award goes to Belgium! 

While Europe is taking a leading role on climate, Belgium as the 'capital of Europe' is lacking behind on every target. At the rate Belgium's taking action right now, they won't reach the 2030 goals in 2050. 

- In the beginning of this year the climate minister claimed that trees where 'only made for cutting down.' - that same minister claimed the school strike youth was conspiring against her and that police had confirmed this after this claim she luckily had to resign within 24 hours. (The minister's name is Joke Schauwvliege) - Belgium does not have a climate law. - Belgium sends four ministers to COP25 and 2 by plane, but still they refuse to sign the COP agreements and fly back home empty handed. - Belgium is the most polluted in terms of nitrogen dioxide. - Belgium refused to join a European group to increase their ambition 

 

Colossal Fossil and a Special Ray of the COP

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 13 December

Colossal Fossil

It. Is. Time!

Throughout the two weeks of negotiations there has been one country that we keep coming back to. Yes, there have been many called out for blocking negotiations or not doing enough to support implementation at home, but one stands out above all else.

Our hosts, Poland.

You see, the Polish Presidency has not created space for ambition here at COP 24, even with a complete understanding what outcome is needed. We really should accept by now that they will avoid working on support packages and revision of NDCs. However, the blame is not just on the presidency because the Polish government is making their job more difficult, it is the opposite of the support that should exist.  It is difficult when the government and ministries are pushing the Presidency to consider the Polish agenda or the Presidency being understaffed, which is influencing the outcome of this COP.

So, what has the Polish Government been doing at COP? Well, the Polish Government and ministers are promoting coal or so called “clean coal” during side events, not only in the COP at the Polish Pavilion, but also at other conferences. We did try to avoid this during meetings before the COP, where the governmental officials were informed that such events would not be welcomed by the global community.

I’m sure you all remember last week as well, when the Polish president, Andrzej Duda said that Poland can use coal for the next 200 years, to which we responded by awarding them a Fossil.

Not bad enough for you? How about the Polish Minister of Energy, Krzysztof Tchórzewski, stating that the Ostrołęka C coal power plant, the construction of which was initiated one week after the announcement of the IPCC report, is uneconomic, but will be constructed anyway. What?!

But wait. Apparently, there are answers, as the Polish Minister of Environment said that the decaying trees in the primeval forest of Białowieża are responsible for air pollution. Well, that’s that solved. Our work here is done!

Unfortunately, there wasn’t much hope when the COP was being planned either, as the Polish government chose several coal-sector companies to partner with to sponsor COP24. Among them we find the Polish Energy Group that is an owner of the biggest lignite power plant in Europe, Bełchatów, and one of the biggest polluters in Europe, as well as other – Tauron; JSW or PGG, the largest coal extraction companies in the EU. Also, there is PGNiG the national gas company, who was invited – there are no places at the table for green initiatives.

Last, a topic that deeply affected us all, when Polish authorities denied entry and/or deported at least 12 members of civil society groups due to attend the UN climate talks in Poland. The deportations follow the enactment of national legislation earlier this year passed by the Polish government in relation to the 24th Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC COP24. Several UN human rights experts have publicly questioned the compatibility of the law with international human rights standards and expressed today their “dismay at the actions taken by the authorities to prevent free and unfettered public participation in these critical multilateral discussions”. What is more, over the last few days, we’ve witnessed Parties cutting out references to human rights across different parts of the rulebook.

Poland, Poland, Poland. All the shame, all the blame!

Um, yeah, before we go, just a side note to the EU, this is a European COP. Why are you letting this happen? It’s hard to claim to lead when you are allowing one of your own to drag down the ambition.

 

Ray of the COP

It’s the end of week two. We’re all a little tired, emotionally spent, and perhaps looking forward to a lovely break.

Therefore, at the end of a rather dismal COP in a rather dreary climate, it is high time we spread a bit of sunshine! Today, we choose to recognize the vulnerable countries at these negotiations with a Ray of the COP.

Despite facing existential threats from climate change they are engaging patiently and in good faith, with those who choose to deny the science, deny their right to loss and damage finance, and deny previous hard fought agreements, like the Paris agreement.

The Pacific Island Developing States released a statement calling it like it is: COP24 IS A PIVOTAL MOMENT IN HUMAN HISTORY.

The IPCC report has detailed the risk of the survival of island communities due to extreme weather and rising sea levels. The statement made it clear of the “absolute necessity” to include Loss and Damage (Article 8 of the Paris Agreement) in the Paris Rulebook for Transparency, Finance, and the Global Stocktake.

Specifically, we would like to recognize the Ministers of Vanuatu, the Cook Islands, Samoa, Tuvalu, Fiji and the Leaders of the Maldives and Tuvalu who have made such powerful statements in plenary that included:

“Whether you welcome, note or ignore the science, this is catastrophic for humanity” - Vanuatu Foreign Minister, Ralph Regenvanu

“The truth is we had no choice but to do our part.” - Prime Minister of the Cook Islands, Henry Poona

“Our quest for solutions to address the most pressing and existential issue of our time – climate change – has never been more urgent.” - Prime Minister of Samoa, Tuilaepa Lupesoliai

“It is very clear that climate change is the single greatest threat to humanity we face today.” - Prime Minister of Tuvalu, Enele Sopoaga

Thank you for raising your voices in this time of great need. We can only hope that other countries will listen and take heed.

They're back and still bad -- it's Australia!

Fossil of the Day - COP 24 - 12 December

They thought they could hide behind the soot and smog of Katowice, but not today! Let’s welcome back Australia to the scoreboard – where have you been?

The Aussies are big on transparency and have a robust system of greenhouse gas accounting and report on emissions at home, which is why we know they have had four years of rising emissions after scrapping a successful emissions trading system. So how will they meet their target?

Through carbon credits, of course! While their neighbor, New Zealand, came out this week and announced they will not use Kyoto Assigned Amount Units (AAUs) to meet their Paris Target, Australia has remained silent in transparency and accounting in anticipation of using its hundreds of millions of credits to meet its target in a canter.

Let’s be clear, Australia is not interested in reducing emissions, it saddled up to the Trump sideshow on coal to promote its fossil fuel exports and Carbon Capture and Storage technology and, at home, its Energy Minister is fast tracking plans to use taxpayer dollars to build new coal fired power stations.

So, welcome back Australia – don’t you think it is finally time to wake up and smell the smog?

 

About CAN: The Climate Action Network (CAN) is a worldwide network of over 1300 Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) in more than 120 working to promote government and individual action to limit human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels. www.climatenetwork.org 

About Fossil: 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 or in the implementation of the Paris Agreement.

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