Stop Climate Chaos

COP15 and the Fossil of the Day - 14th December

The focus of today's negotiations at the UN COP15 climate talks in Copenhagen has been split between the G77-China countries, Canada and the USA.

Around lunchtime representatives of the G77-China countries (the poorer or 'developing' nations, but also including major economies China & India), walked out on the talks accusing organisers of trying to reach a deal behind closed doors. G77-China chief negotiator Lumumba Di-Aping explained why the bloc had taken the decision to withdraw its co-operation:

"It has become clear that the Danish presidency - in the most undemocratic fashion - is advancing the interests of the developed countries at the expense of the balance of obligations between developed and developing countries," he told BBC Radio 4's The World at One programme.

Shortly after the walkout the Yes Men provided some welcome distraction with a spoof declaration from Canada that they would meet IPCC standards and reduce their emissions by 40% (based on 1990 levels) by 2020. The story flourished on Twitter, but was soon rooted out as a fake, leaving people with a mixture of annoyance that the good news wasn't real, but also how well the stunt highlighted what people really want from the talks.

From 6pm today (Monday) we went to the US embassy in Grosvenor Square and awarded them the Fossil of the Day. Climate Action Network is identifying the Fossils based on the country or block of countries that have most hindered effective progress at Copenhagen, then across the world that Fossil's embassies will have flying pickets assembling outside to apply pressure to that government.

Tonight we're joined by the following coalition members: Oxfam, Christian Aid, CAFOD, RSPB, Friends of the Earth, People & Planet, Tearfund, WWF and the Jewish Community Centre for London.

We're presenting a letter from our Director, Ashok Sinha, that concludes:

If the world is to be safe from dangerous climate change then we need far more leadership from the US. Current US commitments will rightly be condemned across the world, especially by poor people on the front line of climate change.

We know that President Obama’s administration wishes to see a world free from the threat of dangerous climate change. We call on the US to put today’s obstructionism behind it, and take real and concrete steps to work towards a fair, effective and binding deal at Copenhagen.

Outside The White House in Washington DC, our Fossil of the Day compatriots try to deliver the award:

For more detail, here's the complete run down from today's Fossil of the Day:

The USA wins its first Fossil of the COP for two reasons: first, for making absolutely no commitment on long-term financing for developing countries, a failure that could sink the talks. Second, because the US--far and away the biggest cumulative emitter of global warming pollution in world history--has among the weakest emissions targets of any major developed country, a laughable 4% below 1990 levels by 2020--despite the growing chorus of calls for 40+% cuts from rich countries. Do US negotiators represent the US fossil fuel lobby? Or will they bring the US into the community of nations, rich and poor alike, rising to the biggest challenge humanity has ever faced? US, all eyes on you: is it Hopenhagen or Brokenhagen?

The EU wins second-place Fossil dishonors for failing to address a gaping loophole that undermine the its targets: hot air and forest management. Allowing full carry-over past 2012 of Europe's hot air--that is, targets based on 1990 levels that in fact allow huge increases in emissions--could allow 11 gigatonnes of carbon emissions. Europe's flagging credibility as a climate leader could crumble completely if this hot air loophole is not closed -- and all of the EU member states are responsible.

Saudi Arabia and Canada receive the third place fossil of the day for their respective last and second-last finish in the Climate Change Performance Index released today by Germanwatch and Climate Action Network Europe. The Index evaluates 57 industrial and developing countries who release 90% of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Saudi Arabia’s record speaks for itself. Canada only finished second-last because Saudi Arabia received a zero rating for its climate policy! Canada is in the world’s top ten emitters, has one of the world’s highest per capita rates of emissions at 23 tonnes per person, and is 34% above its Kyoto target (which is just a modest 6% cut from 1990).

Simply put: on climate change, Canada has performance issues!

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