FOSSIL OF THE DAY IN HISTORY
November 6, 2006
Australia is being awarded first place for the Fossil of the Day Award. In yesterday’s SBSTA Plenary the Australian delegation compared Australian vulnerability to climate change to the vulnerability of Africa and the Pacific countries.
2. SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia is being awarded second place for the Fossil of the Day Award for wanting equal treatment of response measures under the adaption fund. The adaption fund must focus on giving money to the most vulnerable countries.
3. AUSTRALIA and SAUDI ARABIA
Third place is being shared by Australia and Saudi Arabia for insisting on limiting the time for negotiations to 6 pm and thus limiting the ability to work. While Australia in the same moment gave a long intervention although it was well past 6 pm.
November 7, 2006
In yesterday’s AWG, Canada misrepresented its commitments to reduce its GHG emissions by 45-65% by 2050 without stating the fact that these reductions are based on a 2003 base year and not 1990. It should e noted that between 1990 and 2003 GHG emission in Canada increased by 24%.
In yesterday’s SBI Plenary, Australia stated that consideration should be given to small island developing states and that they did agree with the need to increase funding for adaptation. HOWEVER, they mentioned that this should not compromise funding for CCS (Carbon Capture and Storage).
3. KUWAIT and SAUDI ARABIA
This place is shared by Kuwait and Saudi Arabia because they both suggested, in SBSTA yesterday, to delete the item on emissions from fuel used for international aviation and maritime transport.
November 8, 2006
In the AWG plenary yesterday, Japan threatened to “shrink its commitment” for the 2nd commitment period if Japan was forced to make a decision in 2008 regarding article 3.9. In the same breathe, Japan specified that there should be no gap between the commitment periods.
Australia’s use of hot air, through their easy target (an increase of 8% and the reductions in land clearing that have already taken place), will mean they can still build a number of coal fired power stations and meet their Kyoto target. Australia’s intervention at the AWG plenary, that they would meet their Kyoto targets – even though they abandoned them, was just more of the same hot air.
November 9, 2006
Japan, a first time recipient of the fossil awards this year, clinched the top spot yesterday for its statements in the Ad Hoc Working Group plenary. It threatened to “shrink its commitment” for the second commitment period if forced to make a decision in 2008 regarding article 3.9.
Leading front-runner in this years awards so far, Australia, came in second place. Australia’s use of hot air through their easy target, an increase of eight per cent and reductions in land clearing that have already taken place, will mean they can still build a number of coal-fired power stations and meet their Kyoto target. Australia’s intervention at the AWG plenary that they would meet their Kyoto targets – even though they abandoned them – was just more of the same hot air.
November 10, 2006
Brazil took first place in the fossil award competition for its hard line and spurious rationale in selfishly preventing the use of Article 9 to strengthen and broaden climate protection efforts in the post-2012 period. In spite of the urgency of the problem and inadequacy of existing responses, Brazil insisted on a narrow, legalistic interpretation of the Protocol text. Its effort was aimed at fragmenting discussions under the various negotiating tracks, and delaying any serious discussion of how developing countries can contribute to a comprehensive strategy using the Kyoto Protocol and Climate Convention. Without a strong negotiation process under Article 9, there is no chance of getting global emissions trends moving in a direction compatible with preventing dangerous climate change.
2. EUROPEAN UNION
The EU was voted into second place for “supporting” carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the Clean Development Mechanism and siding with OPEC countries. CCS technology is yet to be proven and many issues, including monitoring and verification and liability, need to be developed before it is considered for inclusion in the CDM. CCS in the CDM could squeeze out investment in technologies that support sustainable development like renewables and energy efficiency.
3. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
Traditional fossil stronghouse, the US, came in third place for blocking the submission of a Secretariat paper to the deforestation contact group. The paper was supposed to highlight common elements of the different policy approaches submitted by Parties. It seems inconceivable progressive negotiations can move forward without a sensible and specific examination of the commodities and differences between policy approaches.
November 11, 2006
1. EUROPEAN UNION and CANADA
The EU and Canada won a joint first place for strongly pushing for the inclusion of carbon capture and storage (CCS) in the Clean Development Mechanism.
2. SAUDI ARABIA
Second place was awarded to Saudi Arabia for advocating to limit the work of the Ad Hoc Working Group to amendments of Articles 3.1, 3.9 and Annex B.
Kuwait earned third place for claiming all problems with CCS had been resolved and should be made eligible at this COP/MOP.
November 13, 2006
1. CANADA and AUSTRALIA
Canada and Australia tied for First place for making ridiculous claims to the press of their countries and for misleading the public.
November 14, 2006
1. CANADA and USA and AUSTRALIA
Canada, USA and Australia were jointly awarded the only Fossil of the Day for blocking progress on the new mechanism of Technology Transfer proposed by the G77 and China. It has been 14 years of workshops, reports, seminars, discussions, ect. without any substance or real form of action! Are these countries going to do anything productive, ever?
November 16, 2006
Canada won the top fossil award for Minister Ambrose’s attempt to mislead the international community by claiming that her climate plan “recognizes the need for urgent action so that we can finally make progress towards out 2012 international obligations”. In reality, this “plan” repudiates Kyoto by delaying GHG regulations until late 2010 and allowing Canada’s emissions to stay above current levels until 2020 to 2025.
Second place was also awarded to Canada for using Minister Ambrose’s speech in the high-level segment as a venue for flagrant partisanship. Canadian observers were shocked and embarrassed.
Australia came in third for providing little detail about its hyped “new Kyoto” package in the high-level segment, or in ant other part of the meeting.
Monday, December 3
Awarded to Canada, accepted by Hannah McKinnon of the Canadian Youth Delegation with the following justifications:
- For insisting, in a belated AWG submission today, on “emission reduction obligations for all the largest emitting countries.’
- Canada was isolated on this point at last month’s Commonwealth summit, and begins the Bali conference by continuing this failure to recognize the differentiated responsibilities of developed and developing countries.
- After reneging on its own Kyoto commitment, Canada has no credibility in demanding new obligations from others.
Awarded to the United States of America, accepted by Gabriel Elsner of the US Youth Delegation with the following justifications:
- For their continued refusal to join the global community in addressing climate change seriously.
- With the announcement today from the Autrailian Delegation that their country will ratify Kyoto, the US now stands alone among developed countries on the wrong side of this supremely important issue.
- The time for action is now, and the US’s refusal to act is an affront to the globe. While the rhetoric from the White House may be changing slightly, their actions are not. The true indication of progress will only appear when the US comes to the table with actions that truly reflect the scale of the problem. Voluntary goals are a thing of the past.
3. Saudi Arabia
Awarded to the Saudi Arabian Delegation, accepted by Emily Lawrence of the Australian Youth Delegation with the following justifications:
- The Saudi’s announcement that they are unwilling to create a new working group as they have stated that there is no possibility of consensus on whether to continue dialogue or start negotiation.
- In this morning’s plenary, the Suadis supported China’s statement of welcome to the newly ratified Australia, however, with two small conditions:
- The do not want a consolidated work programme.
- The unintended consequences of climate change mitigation must also be compensated along with the intended ones.
Thursday, December 6
First prize goes to Australia for utterly confusing everybody in less than 24 hours. Australian delegates announced yesterday that they supported 25-40% emissions cuts for developed countries by the year 2020. Shortly thereafter, new Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd stated that Australia does not “accept those targets as binding.” Are we confused, or is Australia? What’s the real story? Let’s hope Rudd sets the record straight in his speech to the plenary next week.
2. SAUDI ARABIA
Second prize goes Saudi Arabia for the most inappropriate bluster so far: accusing developed countries of bribery. In the informal contact group on the convention yesterday, they accused certain developed countries of bribery for acknowledging that there should be an increase in funding to developing countries for adaptation technology. They also argued that this potential funding amounted to peanuts, and is an obligation already under other conventions. In other words, they weren’t arguing against increased funding—they were just saying whatever they could to deepen mistrust between developed and developing countries on climate change.
3. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The USA takes home the coal today for announcing that they no longer agree with Australia on the Kyoto protocol. US Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns said yesterday that, quote, “we do not see eye to eye with Australia and other countries on the wisdom of signing the Kyoto regime, that’s obvious.” We agree that it is obvious… obviously deserving of a fossil of the day!
Friday, Dec 7
Canada roared into a first-place Fossil finish for refusing to take on absolute emissions reductions targets unless developing countries do so as well—ignoring Canada’s historical responsibility and its vastly higher per capita emissions compared to developing countries. Could Mr. Harper be hiding behind developing countries as a way to protect his precious tar sands?
2. UNITED STATES
The US continues its fossil collection with a second place finish for reopening the Major Emitters (or as they call it, Major Economies) negotiations in the midst of the Bali negotiations—both for distracting other countries’ negotiators from the real work to be done here, and for pushing this ridiculous side process in general.
3. USA and CANADA
Canada and the US are awarded the third prize for refusing to accept the G77 draft proposal for technology transfer as the basis for discussion at the SBI contact group. When the US and Canada are asked about their own plans for emissions reductions, they sing about the wonders of technology—but then when developing nations ask for their assistance in implementing green tech, the US and Canada run from the room.
Saturday, Dec 8
In view of Canada’s leaked instructions to its negotiators, today’s Fossil of the Day Awards recognize three stunning anti-contributions to progress at Bali contained within the Harper position paper.
Canada captures first for the second day in a row for demanding absolute binding emissions targets for both developing and developed countries from the start, in a clear attempt to sabatoge Bali progress. (Canada’s per-capita emissions are five times those of China and ten times those of India.) Canada urges us to follow the model of the Montreal Protocol on Ozone protection—but Canada has forgotten that the Montreal Protocol began with developed country commitments only. Developing countries took binding limits only later, with extra time for compliance and financial support from developed nations. Note to Harper: try reading the Montreal Protocol. It shouldn’t be hard to find—particularly for a Canadian.
Canada sweeps into second for urging a wide-open special exception for “national circumstances” to ensure that particular countries aren’t “unduly burdened” by strong targets. Linguists tell us that “national circumstances” is Canadian for “having loads of tar sands.”
Canada takes third for proposing no short- or mid-term targets, mentioning only a 2050 target date for emission reductions from an undisclosed baseline. Mr. Harper will be 91 years old by the time 2050 rolls around.
Monday, Dec 10
1. SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi soars back into first place for a Fossil-winning intervention worthy of the Cretaceous Period: for pushing language on response measures in Article 9 in the Contact Group—and then trying to block further discussion of 6c, the element of the Article 9 review that could add to the list of countries that must take on binding emissions targets. Saudi Arabia is known as an oil state, but here at COP13, they’re building up their coal reserves as well.
2. SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi Arabia nabs second for trying to block progress within the G77 on adaptation, even after getting the G77 to support their position on response measures.
3. CANADA and JAPAN
Canada and Japan win third for insisting on retaining the phrases “nature of commitments” and “commitment period and the base year” for Article 9 review. This is a step towards the worst kinds of changes: changing commitments from binding targets to pledge-and-review goals, extending the commitment periods, and shifting the base year for emissions. Coal for them! (And if they keep behaving this way, they have a lot more Fossil Awards coming!)
Tuesday, Dec 11
1. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The USA wins a mega-fossil award for a litany of misdeeds:
- Flatly declaring that the UNFCCC is “not a sustainable development convention”… * and trying to remove the call for “sufficient, predictable, additional and sustainable financial resources for” adaptation in Article 1(c)(iii) of the Bali roadmap…
- and trying, in a press conference yesterday, to raise doubts about the Nobel-winning IPCC’s science by claiming “many uncertainties surrounded” the IPCC’s analysis due to its examination of only “a small subset” of possible climate change scenarios …
- and for falsely claiming that to include an ambitious goal for industrialized country emission reductions in the Bali roadmap would be to “start out with a predetermined answer” to the outcome of the negotiations
- and, most of all, for saying that the 25-40% cuts by 2020 are “totally unrealistic for many countries.” Here’s what’s totally unrealistic: any claims of US leadership on climate change at this summit.
2. CANADA and JAPAN
Japan and Canada toasted Kyoto’s 10th anniversary by leading the way in blocking a strong reference to the 25-40% range for emissions cuts cited by the IPCC. These crucial targets had been removed from the AWG text; when a group of countries tried to return them last night, Canada and Japan objected. Ultimately, the reference to the 25-40% targets was only returned to the current AWG as one of two options. Of course, Canada’s own 2020 target is light-years away from what the IPCC says is neccessary to prevent a rise of more than 2 degrees, and Japan has been impeding strong targets throughout the COP—so their obstructionism comes as no surprise.
3. CANADA, JAPAN, UNITED STATES, and AUSTRALIA
Third place is an unprecedented four-way split between Canada, Japan, the United States, and Australia for slapping the developing world in the face by repeatedly implying in the Dialogue that finance and technology transfer are second-tier priorities, rather than pillars of equal importance to adaptation and mitigation.
Wednesday, Dec 12
1. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The US wins first prize—for the second day in a row!—for blocking consensus in the SBSTA on sending the draft text on technology transfer to the COP. This proposal had seemed like the hoped-for way out of the impasse in SBSTA… until the US re-impassed it, in an impressive feat of impasse-ification. Coal!
2. CANADA and the UNITED STATES
The USA and Canada share a second-place Fossil for working to remove language in the Dialogue on ranges of emissions reductions for industrialized countries beyond 2012, as well as language calling for a peaking of global emissions in 10-15 years. If the US and Canada want to be taken seriously on climate change, they should support numbers commensurate with the challenge. If they want to be known as the countries that blocked a serious response to the climate crisis, though, they’re on the right track.
3. UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The US wins third for its last-minute efforts to block consensus on REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) in SBSTA—first by calling for deletion of the paragraph linking REDD to the Bali Road Map, and second by insisting on last minute wording, with unclear intentions, to link deforestation and degradation to broader land use considerations. If the USA can’t see the forest for the trees on deforestation, soon there won’t be any forest left to see.
Thursday, Dec 13
1. USA, CANADA, JAPAN, and RUSSIA
The USA, Canada, Japan, and Russia share top honours—er, bottom dishonours—for relentlessly blocking any reference to the 25-40% cuts by 2020 in the Bali road map. The science couldn’t be clearer that cuts in this range are necessary to avert the worst of the climate crisis. Russia initiated the removal of the targets several days ago, and the USA, Canada, and Japan have fought to ensure that they don’t come back in. It’s like they’re piloting the Titanic, refusing to change course; except instead of merely hitting icebergs, they’re melting them.
2. UNITED STATES of AMERICA
The United States seizes second place for taking 20 of its alotted 5 minutes at this morning’s high-level roundtable on technology transfer—and using the time to talk about, well, anything but technology transfer. (Highlights included a discussion of the joys of nuclear energy and “clean coal.”) Throughout the COP, the USA has praised technology, but prevented progress on funding its spread through the developing world. On climate change, the USA is all tech, no transfer.
Canada takes third for walking out of a high-level negotiation meeting long before the end of a crucial discussion. Yesterday, a “Friends of the Chair” meeting brought together 40 key ministers to work through tough issues that officials had not been able to resolve. In the midst of this, Canadian Environment Minister John Baird abruptly got up and left. Where was he going? He was spotted moments later holding a drink at a negotiation-free cocktail reception.
Dishonourable Mention for AUSTRALIA
Australia wins a rare “dishonourable mention” for claiming leadership on climate change—yet staying silent as the US, Canada, Japan, and Russia strip the Bali road map of the one piece of truly critical substance: the emissions cut range of 25-40% by 2020. As the saying goes, all it takes for Bush to flourish is for good prime ministers to do nothing. Australia: leading through silence.
Friday, Dec 14
Canada scorches its way to the final first-place Fossil dishonours for its performance at the last two “Friends of the Chair” minister-level negotiation sessions—specifically, for NOT SHOWING UP. Environment Minister Baird is apparently so busy at the climate change negotiations that he can’t be bothered to do any climate change negotiating. It’s just the fate of the planet in the balance, after all.
2. THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA
The United States grabs a richly deserved second place fossil for behaving, over the last day, as though it were on another planet. Specifically: James Connoughton, chairman of President Bush’s Council on Environmental Quality, announced yesterday that “The US will lead, and we will continue to lead, but leadership also requires others to fall in line and follow.” And how did the US try to lead last night? By trying to scrap the Kyoto Protocol, proposing that the US be held to the same requirements as a developing country. The Bush administration, sadly, is showing no signs of developing.
3. UNITED STATES and JAPAN
The USA and Japan win the third-place fossil nod (or, rather, disapproving head-shake) for their insistence—right through the night of the 13th—on keeping the range of 2020 emissions cuts for developed countries out of the Bali road map. It appears the US and Japan want a road map to nowhere. Coal for them!
Dishonourable mention: AUSTRALIA’S DELEGATION
Australia’s delegation to the summit receives a dishonourable mention tonight for their behavior throughout the last two weeks—doing a terrible job of representing an Australian public that clearly voted for vastly stronger action to confront climate change. Is it any surprise that many delegation members are holdovers from the Howard government? Time for some fresh faces, Australia—we don’t want to have to tap your coal supplies for next year’s Fossil Awards!
Fossil of the Year 2007
Which brings us to the Fossil of the Year—the one, the only, the legendary COLOSSAL FOSSIL.
And the winner? A TIE! The United States, long-time champion—and Canada, behaving like a 51st State in George W. Bush’s America! Stephen Harper, congratulations—you’ve matched the master, and isolated Canada from the rest of the world by recklessly blocking progress in the fight against climate change. Your prize? A year’s supply of shame.
Monday, 1 December
CAN set a precedent by handing a single fossil-of-the-day award to the host country on the first day of a COP. Poland earned the award for its plenary claims to be setting an example in tackling climate change, while doing the very opposite by its damaging engagement in Europe’s climate and energy package. The judges particularly commended:
- efforts to undermine 100% auctioning of pollution permits by cutting a loophole for coal-dependent countries,
- delaying implementation of an auction scheme
- putting a price ceiling into the cap and trade system.
- backtracking on the EU heads-of-state agreement that comparable effort by developed countries in a Copenhagen deal would automatically trigger an EU 2020 target of 30%.
Of course we all very much appreciate the warm hospitality we have received in Poland. In that spirit, we hope that this is taken not as a rebuke but as a challenge. In the next two weeks, Poland has an opportunity to change and create the global solidarity that Prime Minister Tusk – and all of us – so urgently hope for.
Tuesday, 2 December
Wednesday, 3 December
Thursday, 4 December
Friday, 5 December
Bangkok Climate Talks
Monday, 28 September
1. The United States of America
While all other industrialized countries have accepted compliance under the Kyoto Protocol, in listening to the US, we really can’t tell what they think! The President speaks about the U.S. commitment to the process but what the delegation is saying leaves us a little confused. For example, in their comments in Bonn 3, and at the two sessions on treaty architecture just before this meeting, the US seemed to be rejecting the idea that it should be subject to international compliance at all. For that matter, they seem to think that no countries should have compliance in a post-2012 agreement. It’s easy to break the rules when there are no consequences, and there is too much at stake for countries to not take these rules seriously. For this, the USA receives a fossil!
Rather than speaking at the UN General Assembly where climate was appropriately a key focus of discussion, Canadian Prime Minister, Stephen Harper, went to a doughnut shop in Ontario, Canada to discuss his government’s tax policies. It seems that rather than speaking with other world leaders on the importance of prioritizing global efforts to address climate change, the Prime Minister felt enjoying a cup of coffee and a delicious deep-fried sweet treat was the best way to celebrate the climate work being done by other world leaders in his country’s absence. Yet again, a fossil goes to you, Canada.
3. The United States of America
Joining the club of missing countries, the United States receives a fossil award for its absence at ANY level from the high-level meeting on reducing emissions from deforestation and degradation held in New York last week. Given a special spot on the dais, the US chair remained empty all night as other leaders expressed support for REDD. For being AWOL during that key meeting, the US receives a fossil.
Tuesday, 29 September
Algeria suggested in the LCA Contact Group on Adaptation that response measures should be addressed under adaptation. We award Algeria the fossil of the day for blatantly not representing the interests of the African Group. African countries are vulnerable to climate change, not decreasing oil revenues. Cynical, Algeria, cynical!
2. Kuwait and Saudi Arabia
Both countries attempted to further dilute the rules of the CDM in Tuesday’s informal, proposing that a potential CDM ‘positive list’ include “clean fossil fuels” without any further elaboration on what that would include. “Clean fossil fuels” is a pandora’s box including a range of technologies allowing coal, gas and oil production into the CDM. These are non-additional and not sustainable, a key requirement for all CDM projects.
3. The United States of America
In yesterday’s contact group on mitigation, the US, supported by a portion of the Umbrella group, the EU, Costa Rica and Columbia, put forth a proposal to create a sub-contact group on common elements of mitigation between developed and developing countries under the Bali Action Plan. Failing formation of the sub-group, the US threatened that if the proposed new groups were not formed, all discussion should revert to the full contact group, putting a halt to work of multiple subgroups. The fossil is being awarded to the US for rolling out demands on the process when they themselves have yet to help build a constructive process by putting forth emissions targets or figures on finance.
Wednesday, 30 September
1. EU, Norway, Canada, and Australia
The EU, Norway, Canada and Australia, have been awarded the first place fossil for pushing for the deletion of a paragraph in the financing negotiations in the LCA. The paragraph expresses deep concern over the substantial gap between the resources required for adaptation and mitigation action in developing countries, and the financial resources currently available. With the lack of financial commitments from the developed country governments, the gap is more apparent than ever before, and instead of deleting the reference to this gap, the developed countries should start focusing on delivering on their commitments. Canada’s statement that the paragraph was “too negative” and that the text should generally be more positive displays a very fossil-worthy indifference to the world’s poorest communities facing the consequences of climate change and suffering because of the lack of support to adaptation from the countries who have caused the problem in the first place, including the EU, Norway, Canada and Australia.
2. New Zealand
Yesterday New Zealand revealed its ‘10% to 20%’ target is actually a ‘nothing to 20%’ target when they stated that “if our conditions are not met we reserve the right to drop [our target] below 10%.” This follows the announcement of changes to its emissions trading scheme that means New Zealand’s gross emissions will keep rising past 2020.
3. The United States of America
The US is awarded the third place fossil for suggesting that there be no formal negotiation to determine the comparability of annex I targets but rather that each party examines each other’s offers and decides whether it is comparable. There is no formal process, nor criteria, of standards to determine comparability.
Friday, 2 October
The day’s fossil award goes to Canada for blocking agreement on using 1990 as the base year. Canada is now the only country more focused on finding creative ways to hide their emission increases and make their weak targets look ambitious than solving the climate crisis. Unfortunately, those emissions linger in the atmosphere much longer than Canada’s embarrassment about them.
Saturday, 3 October
1. The United States of America
Today the US blocked a proposal by the European Union to come up with a list of pledges similar to those in the AWGKP. The EU proposed this in the AWGLCA informal on 1b1. We would like to take this opportunity to remind the US that we can’t solve climate change without a clear picture of emission reductions by developed countries. For blocking this proposal moving forward, the US gets the first place award.
Monday, 5 October
1. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia stated today that there was no need to include figures under the Shared Vision text. Apparently, a simple reference to the “ultimate objective of the Convention” is enough to set a clear goal for us to achieve. Saudi Arabia also suggested a new understanding of vulnerability which would encompass and emphasize economic vulnerability alongside vulnerability to climate impacts. We award Saudi Arabia the first place fossil for this attempt not only to weaken global goals but also to undermine the precedence of countries highly vulnerable to the physical impacts of climate change.
Poland comes it at second place for comments by Finance Minister Jan Rostowski that it is “totally unacceptable that the poor countries of Europe should help the rich countries of Europe to help the poor countries in the rest of the world.” Poland needs to get a little perspective on the concept of a poor country: although certainly not as wealthy as some EU Member States, Poland is in the wealthiest 25% of countries globally. It also receives substantial financial support from the richer EU Member States something they might wish to reconsider
if all Poland contributes in return are unhelpful and ethically dubious interventions in the climate debate.
3. New Zealand
In today’s discussion on emission reductions in the AWGKP, New Zealand helpfully explained to Parties that unless they are allowed unlimited offsetting in their next commitment period, they would be forced to move towards a target of zero (!) by 2020. In other words: Unless New Zealand is allowed to avoid reducing their own emissions, they will refuse to reduce any emissions. For this, New Zealand receives a well deserved fossil.
Tuesday, 6 October
1. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia, during an informal meeting, blocked agreement on having a new informal session between Barcelona and Copenhagen. Although every other country thinks that this is good to do, Saudi Arabia believes that we are making enough progress. Apparently Saudi Arabia doesn’t feel the same urgency and pressure the rest of us feel and would prefer to leave it to the Ministers to sort out on the last night of Copenhagen.
Thursday, 8 October
1. The European Union
The EU is awarded today’s first place fossil for blocking text that would safeguard against the conversion of natural forests to plantations in REDD. This occurred at the Contact Group on 1b3 Thursday morning. This demonstrates a lack of concern about forest protection by the EU and further threatens the integrity of a REDD mechanism. Natural forests are far more valuable than plantations. For failing to recognize this, the European Union is awarded today’s fossil.
Friday, 9 October
CAN International gave its ‘Grand Fossil of the Session’ award to the following countries judged best at blocking progress over the past two weeks of negotiations. This award is based on the number of fossiloftheday awards a country has received over the past 2 weeks.
1. The European Union and the United States of America
The EU and the US tied for the Grand Fossil of the Session, having accumulated the most fossil awards over the past 2 weeks. The infractions are wide ranging, including the EU threatening natural forests under REDD, the US blocking movement forward on emissions reductions targets, the EU avoiding acknowledgment of the gap in climate finance, and finally the US creating problems when trying to assess the comparability of annex I targets. For these problems, the EU and US are awarded the first place Grand Fossil of the Session.
Not far behind, Canada receives the second place grand fossil award. Canada proved their fossil worthiness by blocking agreement on using 1990 as the base year and joining the EU in blocking recognition of the gap in financing available. It should also be noted that today Canada suggested the deletion of a paragraph that would exclude “technologies that have adverse impacts on the environment, including nuclear”, from nationally appropriate mitigation action! Yes, this is a climate change treaty first, but it is also a multilateral environmental agreement. Canada says the agreement should be technology neutral but if Canada is so focused on neutrality perhaps they could try becoming carbon neutral instead.
3. Saudi Arabia
Coming in at third place is Saudi Arabia, who receives the award for attempting to change the definition of “vulnerability” to emphasize the economic impacts of climate change, for opposing the inclusion of figures in the Shared Vision text, for blocking agreement on having a new informal session between Barcelona and Copenhagen, and for promoting fossil fuels in the CDM. Though not enough for second or first place, the problems Saudi Arabia has caused should not be underestimated and have secured them a third place slot.
Barcelona Climate Talks
Monday, 2 November
The host of the crucial Copenhagen climate summit this December. Denmark received the award for promoting the concept of a “politically binding” deal in Copenhagen as a possible alternative to a “legally binding” framework agreement. “Instead of showing leadership, Denmark’s Prime Minister, Lars LÆkke Rasmussen is spreading confusion and insecurity,” said Tove Ryding of Danish Greenpeace. “Rasmussen is providing fuel for the many governments attempting to downplay expectations for a legally binding framework agreement coming out of Copenhagen. The concept of a ‘politically binding’ deal is simply not adequate when the threat of climate change is so urgent. As the host of the Copenhagen summit, Denmark should be supporting a legally binding outcome this December, which would be the real win for our climate.”
Received the second-place Fossil of the Day award for its environment minister’s statement that it would be “irresponsible” for Canada to meet a -25% emission reduction target by 2020 – below the latest scientific recommendations. The minister’s comments were in response to an economic modeling study that showed that Canada can significantly reduce emissions while maintaining healthy economic growth. The study found that real reductions would reduce Canada’s annual growth rate in the short term from 2.4 % to 2.1% annually. Dale Marshall of the David Suzuki Foundation stated that “for the minister, apparently this is too much to invest in avoiding dangerous climate change and the economic damage that goes with it. The minister was particularly worried about the economic impact on the oil industry in his home-province of Alberta, but the study actually showed that Alberta would still be the country’s fastest growing province.”