Coaland and the Colossal Fossil

A true consensus government, the COP leaves the most progressive at the mercy of the most obstinate. In this system, science deniers and climate activists battle it out, yielding ground, gaining concessions, and, often, feeling like they’ve gotten nowhere. As the world burns and our chances to halt the irreversible slip through our fingers, every small victory reminds us that winning slowly is still losing. So what do you do when a coal-loving country holds the gavel? Can observers only wring their hands as an understaffed Polish Presidency sets regressive agendas and embraces corporate polluters?

The answer, of course, is to mock them.

A hero of satire has emerged to hold the worst members of the COP accountable: Climate Action Network and their “Fossil of the Day” awards.

Each day of negotiations, CAN has chosen a deserving winner. Those who, through obstinacy, ignorance, or plain greed, continue to obstruct global climate action, all earn a place on the podium.

The list of daily finalists includes:

A Polish victory has been brewing all COP. President Andrzej Duda opened his remarks by stating: “There is no plan to fully give up on coal. Experts point out that our supplies run for another 200 years, and it would be hard not to use them.” They’ve followed this up by cozying up to large polluters, filling the venue with single-use plastics, and holding events advertising “clean coal.”

However, most disturbing has been Poland’s battle against climate activism at the COP. At least twelve members of civil society groups and one COP Party delegate were turned away at the Polish border, including CAN Europe’s Zanna Vanrenterghem.

These activities appear to be the product of a new law banning unplanned protesters from Katowice, the COP venue. This barrier to a free and involved public directly belies Poland’s professed commitment “to providing access to information, access to participation, and remedy on environmental matters.” This has had a chilling effect on participants. Coupled with an unambitious conference agenda, the activities of the Polish government have cast a pall over the proceedings that match the one in the air.

Australia wins the Fossil of the Day… again!

FossilSince COP 20 started 9 days ago, Australia has already won 3 of the 7 daily Climate Action Network (CAN) Fossil of the Day awards.  Last Thursday, Australia won the award for declaring that loss and damage should be an element of adaptation in the 2015 agreement. On Friday, the award was once again given to Australia due to its announcement that the country would not contribute to the Green Climate Fund (GCF). Yesterday, Australia was awarded for its silly statements, like the lack of understanding of what “global solidarity” means. But the interesting fact is that the award was given less than twenty minutes after the Australian Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, affirmed at the Ministerial Dialogue on Climate Finance that Australia will, in fact, provide 200 million Australian dollars to the GCF in the course of four years. But shouldn’t the 200 million change of mind be enough to save Australia from its third  Fossil of the Day? CAN still does not think so