Winter is Coming for the European Commission
Today’s first Fossil of the Day award goes to…the European Commission for its mean-spirited Winter Package! Leaked copies of their proposed renewable energy legislation – part of their festively named 'Winter Package' due to be published by the European Commission next week – are lacking the strong signal required to boost clean energy investment in line with the requirements of the Paris Agreement. The Package's renewable energy target of 27% by 2030 is barely an improvement on business-as-usual, and how it will be met in the absence of national targets is not spelled out at all. If that wasn’t bad enough, the Commission have gone full-on Scrooge and is proposing to scrap vital provisions that help anchor the continent's transition to renewable energy, giving the dirtiest European fossil fuel outfits an undeserved early Christmas gift. If European Commission President Juncker is serious about fulfilling his promise to make the EU “number one in renewable energy", then these proposals need to be substantially improved before they are published.
Our second Fossil of the Day award goes to…Indonesia for making bad plans, really really bad plans. The nation intends to boost its power generation by 35000MW by 2019 (which is good) but the government has said that 60% of this new capacity will come from coal (the bad part)! This comes just days after new UNICEF research showed that more than 300 million children worldwide, particularly in South-East Asia, are exposed to air pollution – largely due to the burning of the dirtiest fossil fuels like coal. Indonesia has included ‘clean coal’ in its NDC, but this kind of false solution will not help to reduce premature deaths from choking smog or climate change.
Our third and final Fossil of the Day award goes to….New Zealand for talking a big game on fossil fuel subsidies at COP22 but failing to live up to its own (good) advice on the home front. Today Mark Sinclair, New Zealand's Climate Change Ambassador, spoke up on the need to cut fossil fuel subsidies – hooray! However, New Zealand supports the oil and gas industry at home by providing tax breaks and funding scientific research to incentivise industry to commit to exploring in New Zealand waters – boo! This support amounted to a whopping $46 million NZD in 2012/2013 as identified by WWF New Zealand. In fact, despite the general understanding that 80% of fossil fuels needing to remain unburned if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the New Zealand Government continues to advertise that "it aims to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports ten-fold from $3 billion to $30 billion a year by 2025". Oh dear. A fossil earned.