The dearth of Fossil of the Day awards during the UN climate talks has been a reflection of the challenges faced with implementing the Paris Agreement.
Traditionally given to countries who have done the least to progress the negotiations, Climate Action Network has struggled to find any awardees. Governments, following the quick ratification of the Paris Agreement, have largely approached the negotiations with a business as usual mindset. Unfortunately this mindset, despite the historic nature of the Paris Agreement, will do little to limit warming to well below 2°C let alone the stated 1.5°C.
Agreed to by governments last year critics of the UN constantly seek to remind those in Marrakech that this framework will all be for naught if substantial action is not taken at a national level.
In keeping with the needed shift from the international to the national, yesterday’s Fossil awardees went to countries more broadly failing to pull their respective weights on climate action.
First place was awarded to Australia for utilising the Paris Agreement to positively spin their domestic media narrative. In an attempt to sweep its lack of substantive climate policies under the rug, Australia moved to ratify the Paris Agreement whilst also supporting the contribution of the Adani Carmichael coal mine.
Second place was reserved for Austria who has stagnated on climate policy over the last 25 years. Despite this, Austria continues to lobby for maximum flexibility with carbon credits from forestry offsets whilst avoiding post-2020 financial commitments.
Lastly, New Zealand continued the trend of questionable accounting by utilising carbon credits to meet its obligations under the first commitment period of the Kyoto Protocol.
With things drawing to an end in Marrakech, perhaps today will see a return to highlighting countries who are specifically unwilling to cooperate internationally, because there is certainly no shortage of countries or businesses underperforming on actualising the Paris Agreement.
Fossil of the Day is awarded by Climate Action Network (CAN), a network of environmental organisations, to the country or countries they deemed to have played a negative role in the negotiations.