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Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Fossil of the day awards to Australia and UK on first day of COP26

For the first time Australia has a country pavillion at COP to highlight the 'Australian Way'

And on the first day of the UN climate conference in Glasgow both Australia and the UK both snatched Fossil of the Day awards for their actions in being the worst of the worst.

COP26 is the 5 year anniversary of the Paris Agreement and is all about bringing along increased ambition and climate targets as part of upgraded Nationally Determined Contributions. 

Australia may have pledged net zero by 2050 but utterly failed to bring any new updated 2030 target. Sadly this is a well earned Fossil Award for Australia being a true dedicated climate laggard (in an often busy field).

Australia also featured in the first ECO-Newsletter of COP26, the Outside Looking In Issue:

The Australian Way is at COP

Climate Action Network ECO-newsletter highlights the daily issues in the UN climate talks. The first issue features an article on the Australian Way. ECO newsletter contents:

  1. Trick or Treat
  2. COP26 must deliver on loss and damage finance
  3. The COP26 presidency risks its credibility on its commitment to ensure an inclusive COP
  4. Enough is Enough: 12 years of failure
  5. Will COP26 succeed or will it go the Australian way?
  6. Brazil and Article 6: The Truth is Out There
  7. Hunger Strikers Have a Message for President Biden

Will COP26 succeed or will it go the Australian way?

Like cramming the night before a big exam, the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has rushed out a last-minute net zero plan five days before this conference with no new policy and no accountability.   

This so-called plan is what Mr. Morrison proudly calls the ‘Australian way’. But anyone who has been to the last 25 COPs knows the Australian way is to block, destroy and delay negotiations and undermine global ambition.

Australia’s current plan has net zero ambition and will have net zero impact.

Instead the world can expect ever-growing coal and gas mining - maintaining Australia’s position as the third largest exporter of fossil fuels behind Russia and Saudi Arabia.

The success of these critical negotiations depends on climate laggards like Australia putting aside their tricks and committing to real action.

Australia is yet to commit to halving emissions this decade (as most other developed countries have done), has refused to sign up to the Global Methane Pledge, refuses to re-join the Green Climate Fund and has resisted calls to phase out coal power.

In fact, Australia has opened three new coalmines in the last month and there are at least 20 new coal projects and three new gas basins in the pipeline.

Despite last week’s announcement, Australia still ranks dead last when it comes to climate action among developed countries.

Australia is one of the sunniest and windiest countries in the world.

It’s time for Australia to become part of the solution and become a global renewables superpower. Australian citizens urge world negotiators to ramp up pressure on the Australian Government to increase its ambition.

It’s time for a new ‘Australian way.’

 ECO News is available as a PDF

Fossil of the Day Awards

CANA reporting from Glasgow (and the Australian pavillion) for the Climate Action Network.

Media Release: Fossil of the Day awards, 1 November 2021

Well, here we are again. In for yet another roller coaster ride through the climate negotiations that are COP26. This time, direct from sunny Glasgow, with its stunning Victorian architecture, lively spirit and basically its own language and sense of humour. And so to business and back by popular demand, the first of our ‘Fossil of the Day’ Awards...

The First Fossil of the Day Award goes to the UK Presidency, in partnership with the UNFCCC secretariat, for their exceptional organisation.

CAN asked for a COP postponement as we feared people from the developing world wouldn't be able to come and advocate for climate justice in the face of the global COVID-19 pandemic.

But the UK presidency insisted that COP26 was going ahead and was prepared to welcome the global community to ‘the most inclusive COP ever’..

This spirit of inclusivity has showcased what the Brits do best- the art of queueing-for hours in some cases. People who’ve invested time and resources to travel to Glasgow have waited patiently only to find there is “no room at the inn” for civil society and told to ‘join events online’ - to then find they were offline... We might as well have stayed at home, though we would have missed the weather...

We hope this inaugural COP26 Fossil of the Day serves as a wake up call. Civil society must be treated as an equal partner with equal access - we all have the same aim to avert climate breakdown. You have two weeks to shepherd a successful negotiation process and to cultivate a productive negotiating environment at a critically important time. You’ve been warned - we’re watching and we ain’t queueing!

The Second Fossil of the Day Award goes to Australia for aiming very low

The Aussies are already excelling in heading for rock bottom this COP. They’ve not only spectacularly failed to deliver ambitious contributions (NDC) but have also approved three new coal projects in the last months.They brought no new 2030 target, no new policies to reduce emissions or phase out fossil fuels and ruled out signing the Global Methane Pledge.

Australia, we’ve come to expect some unconscionable behaviour from you on climate change but this time you’ve truly outdone yourself. How low can you go and will New Zealand be following you?

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that New Zealand´s updated climate plans are perfectly aligned with the 1.5C target yet Energy Minister Megan Woods refused to commit to phase out of new and expanded coal mines. You can’t go for coal and rely on overseas credits to meet your targets.

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 (, 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 1,500 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.

Climate Action Network (CAN) is a global network of more than 1,500 civil society organisations in over 130 countries driving collective and sustainable action to fight the climate crisis and to achieve social and racial justice. CAN convenes and coordinates civil society at the UN climate talks and other international events.

Every Picture tells a story

Harking back to a different era

With the location of Australia's pavillion, the first one we have had at recent COPs, maybe Australia can learn something about methane and sign the Global Methane pledge...

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