Fossil of the Day: Australia’s Winning No Mates

Sydney Pead | December 5, 2014.

For the second time this week, Australia was awarded Fossil of the Day for its dismal performance at the UN climate change negotiations. This should come as no surprise given Australia’s infamous reputation as a climate change laggard.

To earn this prestigious honour, Australia suggested in an ADP session that loss and damage be included as part of adaptation within the Paris agreement to be negotiated in December 2015.

Adaptation is what countries are doing to implement strategies that deal with the effects of climate change; and loss and damage is a recently introduced negotiation term referring to developing countries’ ability to seek compensation for climate change impacts.

Given the state of the ADP negotiations, maybe the suggestion was made in the spirit of conservation and Australia was trying to reduce the amount of paper needed for the negotiations text. But that seems quite the stretch.

Second place was awarded to the EU for its short-term mentality and plain lack of ambition. The Europeans are proposing 10 instead of five-year commitment periods for the deal to be made in Paris. NGOs have been pushing for five-year commitment periods in order to continually be reviewing and increasing ambition within the process.

Thursday’s ceremony also included a Filipino who spoke about Typhoon Ruby, which is expected to cause huge damage to the country in the coming hours. Her brief statement reminded onlookers of the magnitude of weather, and the devastating results that would ensue if these climate negotiations fail.

Fossil of the Day is an award given out by the Climate Action Network to the country that has done the least to progress the negotiations.


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