Iceland receives Fossil of the Day award. Not something to be proud of

dinosaurThe Climate Action Network (CAN), a coalition of over 450 NGOs worldwide, gives out three ‘Fossil of The Day’ awards to the countries who perform the worst during the daily negotiations at the UN climate change conference.

As government delegates and observers from the negotiations looked on, vibrant young climate activists announced the winners – who had been chosen by vote of the global Climate Action Network (CAN). Much like the Oscars, the awards are kept secret until a colourful presentation ceremony, adding some life to the otherwise bureaucratic U.N. conference. The winners names are passed to the host in a sealed envelope before being announced before a large crowd of spectators.

Australia was awarded First Place, for announcing its target which puts unreasonable conditions on other countries. Australia will adopt an inadequate 24% target by 2020 with the following and particularly obnoxious provisos that include, all countries (including developing countries) contribute finance and that developing countries slow growth, take a 20% (against BAU) reduction by 2020 and nominate a peaking year for their emissions. It is worth noting that Australia’s emissions have yet to peak and they are yet to commit any additional money to adaptation.

The Second Prize Fossil went to Canada. Sure Canada mentioned common but differentiated responsibility in its LCA submissions, but then went on to completely ignore the principle by suggesting that “all Parties” should undertake all actions under the Bali Action Plan, including 2020 reduction targets. Is it because Canada thinks it’s a developing country or because it thinks it’s high time that Malawi pulls up its socks?

The Third Prize was awarded to Iceland, for announcing its 2020 reduction target to be a mere 15% reduction below 1990 levels, which is far below the 25-40% range agreed in Bali, and certainly very very unhelpful to achieve reductions in rich countries of more than 40%, which is what is urgently needed.

Iceland argued this morning in the LCA session that their poor -15% target was quite in order because it constitutes a -25% reduction below thei Kyoto target (which is +10%), which Iceland finds comparable to other countries’ potential efforts. We recognise that Iceland is a cold country, and some government officials might crave for warmer summers. But we wonder if the country is committed to avoid the worst scenarios of climate change.

About the fossils:

The Fossil-of-the-day awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, also in Bonn, initiated by the German NGO Forum.

During United Nations climate change negotiations (, members of the Climate Action Network (CAN), a worldwide network of over 450 non-governmental organisations, vote for three countries judged to have done their ‘best’ to block progress in the negotiations in the last days of talks.

(Press release)

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