Fossil of the Day 11 November 2021 – UK and New Zealand

COP26 will be judged based on what it delivers on loss and damage

The UK ranks first place in today´s Fossil of the Day.

Fossil of the Day goes to the UK for sticking their heads in the sand on loss and damage finance.

You know that feeling when you’ve had an absolute age to study for that crucial exam and you leave it to the very last minute to get stuck into the revision — all-nighters/lots of coffee with extra sugar.

Such an ostrich-like approach to exam preparation is what we’ve seen from Boris and chums over loss and damage finance in the run-up to the delayed COP26.

Not only did they have an extra year to get their house in order after the postponement, but wasn’t it blindingly obvious to everyone that there was quite a bit of groundwork to put in or did they just not get the memo?

The many calls from vulnerable countries and civil society for loss and damage finance to be a top COP priority fell on deaf ears. It was so far down the list that it didn’t even make it into the list of presidency goals.

Such inadequacy leaves us facing a frantic and dramatic conclusion to this COP (coffee with three sugars please?).

Thankfully, the halls are now alive with the talk of loss and damage finance and the most vulnerable countries are waiting for their cries for climate justice to be answered.

It may go to the wire and beyond – weekend supplies may be needed around the negotiation tables – but the presidency, and richer countries, have to show true ambition, leadership and solidarity with those already suffering from extreme climate impacts. They need to deliver on the finance so desperately needed or the price of failure on this exam will affect billions of people – it better not be too little too late.

New Zealand finally won a well-deserved Fossil award and comes in second place

The draft text, quite rightly, calls on parties to revisit their NDCs and give their 2030 targets some real bite and backbone to haul them into line with Paris temperature goals by the end of next year. Given that we’re at the eleventh hour of negotiations, we assume this to be a reasonable request – clearly not when New Zealand’s Climate Minister, James Shaw, is involved.

We nearly fell off our chair when Mr Shaw (who also chairs the transparency negotiations and is co-leader of the NZ Green Party btw) quite literally said that just because a refreshing of the NDC has been asked of countries “it doesn’t mean we have to.” This comes from a country that gives off the ‘greener than thou’ vibe at the drop of a hobbits hat.

Maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when it was brought to our attention that he’s also the guy who put out a revised NDC the night before COP. That one wasn’t worth the wait, unfortunately. Civil society commentators widely regarded it as a Grade A hatchet job, inconsistent with Paris temperature goals, wholly unambitious 2030 target and relying heavily on carbon markets.

And there’s more to make them truly deserve this Fossil of the Day award. Good old Aotearoa also stood in the way of setting limits on carbon offsetting in Article 6 and recently issued two new fossil fuel exploration permits. They were severely burned today, and it’s no surprise given the evidence above when they were awarded the humiliating title of “Associate Member” for the signature statement on climate ambition for BOGA—not the things up your nose—but the Beyond Oil And Gas Alliance.

There is precious little time left and we need to turn up the heat on countries not taking their domestic emissions reduction roles seriously. Lead by example Kiwis, do the right thing and stop the greenwash – and skip the spin cycle while you’re at it.


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