Thursday, December 12, 2019

Fossil Awards to Japan, Brazil and a Ray of the Year to the IPCC

Wednesday Fossil of the Day ceremony was a tough one to organise. Half the Fossil of the Day Team had been locked out of the conference centre by the heavy handed tactics of UN Security. First prize went to Japan for continuing to shun ambition and lock in coal addiction. @nd Fossil award to Brazil for land grabbing and deforestation of the Amazon. We also had a ray of light - a Ray of the Year presented to Youba Sokona, the IPCC Vice-Chair, who presnted two copies of one of the IPCC reports as a gift in return.

A civil society protest action at 2.45pm had occurred outside the Baker Plenary hall, but resulted in between 200-300 people being pushed and shoved out a side door outside the hall and locked out. Read more: UNFCCC closes the door literally on civil society demanding climate justice at COP25.

Despite the logistics of key people being absent, many people still inside the conference venue came forward to volunteer to help with the show. The Fossil of the Day Awards have been presented for 20 years. They are part of the culture of the UNFCCC conference, and a much loved event by many of the delegates and observers.

The show came together, perhaps with not quite the same flair. UNFCCC was not given a Fossil award but Climate Action Network decided to continue with the awards already decided upon. Press Release was done in a last minute rush. But ut all happened.

Award Citation

Our voices are being silenced and it´s not funny.

Despite emptier hallways this evening, we continue to hold space even as our colleages are shut outside in the hall simply for merely raising their voices for a better future and climate justice.

Today, the UNFCCC secrurity deserved a fossil but we had previously decided to give it to a few nasty countries.

Fossil Award to Japan for continuing coal addiction

Today we award the first place fossil of the day to Japan for rejecting the opportunity to commit to climate ambition and coal phase out.

It is hard to describe how deeply disappointed we are with Japan’s announcements — or rather, the lack thereof — today.

Today, Japan’s Environment Minister Shinjiro Koizumi, said Japan rejected yet another opportunity to improve its “highly insufficient” emission reduction target and to end financing for coal.

Since 2012, Japan has built 15 new coal plants; an additional 15 NEW domestic coal-fired power plants are currently under construction. This deadly buildout would make it impossible for Japan to achieve its already insufficient target, let alone raise ambition.

Japan also continues to be the world’s second largest financier of coal-fired power plants overseas. The country argues that its “highly efficient” coal-fired technologies contribute to the lives of people in developing countries — but the science is clear: Coal has to be out everywhere in the world and immediately if we are to have any hope of limiting warming to 1.5ÂșC.

As a rich country, Japan had a golden opportunity to show leadership in responding to the science and charging ahead with transforming and decarbonizing an industrial economy.

Japan should have stepped up to signal more ambition by committing to enhance their climate plans by 2020 and support poor countries engage in climate action and deal with impacts.

By missing today’s opportunity Japan yet again failed to respond to the climate emergency. Japan’s government has not only failed us here in Madrid, but also failed billions around the world desperately calling for meaningful climate action.

Japan’s continued conduct and support for dirty coal is an international embarrassment. Let us say: “How dare you, Japan?.”

Fossil number 2: Brazil for legitimizing land grabbing and deforestation

The second Fossil of the Day award for to Brazil gets a fossil for legitimizing land grabbing and deforestation.

Bolsonaro rewards criminal gangs and ignites a carbon bomb
Elected under the promise of bringing law and order to his country, Brazil’s far-right leader Jair Bolsonaro gave criminal gangs quite the Christmas present last night: he sent to Congress an executive decree that allows for a wide amnesty to land grabbing, the single most important driver of deforestation (hence carbon emissions) in Brazil. The new legislation, which still has to go through Congress, states that if you invaded and clear-cut public land as of 2018 you can still get land title.

In the best possible case, the move will allow the additional deforestation of 1.6 million hectares (the size of England) and the emission of 650 million tonnes of CO2 in the next seven years. What´s worse, this sends the political signal that crime pays. We simply can´t control deforestation if we don´t stop criminal land grabbing. In the past, Brazil managed to drive deforestation down by controlling the invasion of public land.  It appears that Brazil became the country where environmentalists go to jail – if not killed - and criminal land invasions get the stamp of legality.

And as if that wasn’t enough, upon hearing that Greta Thunberg tweeted about Indigenous Brazilians assassinated for protecting their land, Bolsonaro called her a pirralha, or “brat”. It seems like there are no limits to the idiocy of this President and his Ministers.

Ray of the Day and Ray of the Year to the IPCC

The Ray of the Day goes to Scientists of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

CAN does not often award Rays of the Day – to receive such an award requires a significant step forward on climate action, and these happen lamentably infrequently. However, there is a body that CAN has decided deserves not only a Ray of the Day, but a Ray of the Year.

The winner of this prestigious award is…..: the Scientist of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

This award aims to recognize the amazing work this Nobel Prize winning group of scientists. They produced three key reports in the past two years that provided the basis for all the work civil society is doing to pressure governments to accelerate climate action and decarbonize the economy.

The 2018 1.5°C special report drew a lot of attention and triggered your across the world to actively protest against government inaction. It showed the stark differences in impacts between 2C and 1.5C and changed the political discourse (in all but a few countries). This year’s reports on land and the oceans and cryosphere have demonstrated quite how much is at stake for people and the Earth, the only planet in the universe known to host life.

We laud the scientists for providing the undeniable facts and the solid truth that we need to do more and faster to save humanity and the planet from devastating climate change.

About the fossils:
Every day at 18:00 local time you can watch the Fossil ceremony in Hall 4 during COP25.

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 (, 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 human induced climate change to ecologically sustainable levels.

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