4 out of 3: Canada Sets a New 'Fossil of the Day' Record

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A year ago, in Bali, Canada’s government embarrassed itself by winning multiple “fossil of the day awards” for its efforts to block concrete action on climate change. This year, in Poznan, Canada continues its “winning” streak …

On Thursday, December 4, Canada won an unprecedented four out of three possible fossil of the day awards … Canada won first and third place, and tied with itself for second!

From the Sierra Club of Canada Poznan Blog

3rd Place — Canada: In yesterday’s AWGKP [Anthropic Global Warming, Kyoto Protocol] mitigation workshop, Canada suggested that “national circumstances” are the reason for Canada being almost 30% above its Kyoto target. Specifically, Canada cited its cold climate and large size as two reasons for its failure to reduce emissions.

Small problem with this excuse. Emissions targets are set relative to historical levels. Since 1990, Canada hasn’t gotten any colder–in fact, the trend is towards warming. To learn why, just, Google “Global Warming.” Moreover, Canada hasn’t gotten any bigger since 1990–although with sea levels rising, it might shrink.

2nd Place — Canada … and … Canada: Canada takes second for saying at the AWG-KP Workshop that it should get a break on its emissions reduction targets because, get this, they release so much carbon in the process of exporting fossil fuels. That’s right: Canada argued that the tar sands, the most ecologically destructive industrial project on the planet, should be a “get out of jail free card” on climate responsibilities. For years, Canada has wanted breaks for exporting natural gas, which is ridiculous enough. But special treatment to protect the tar sands industry rises to new levels of self-parody.

Canada for suggesting “welfare loss” as a justification for rich countries to have weaker emission reduction targets. When Canada talks about “welfare loss,” it means such hardships as Canadians having to use smaller cars or public transit. No mention of “welfare loss” like losing your entire country to rising sea levels, famines caused by droughts and floods, or any of the other horrors that climate change will inflict on billions of the world’s poor, not to mention many Canadian citizens.

1st place — Canada … Japan … and Russia: At AWGKP mitigation workshop yesterday, in a discussion of mitigation targets. Canada, Japan, and Russia all spoke — and all three countries failed to propose the most fundamental, immediate, and essential thing: targets for Annex I countries to cut carbon by 2020 based on 1990 levels.

Japan has promised to announce its own 2020 target–but they’ve promised to announce it NEXT year. Earth to Japan: negotiations are happening *right now.* Time to put your target on the table.

Canada likes to boast that it has a target for 2020. But that target is based on 2006 levels and doesn’t even reach its Kyoto commitment. Beating climate change with a target like Canada’s is like trying to play hockey with a toothpick. Which might explain why Canada didn’t even mention this target at the session yesterday–it would’ve been too embarrassing.

And Russia has no 2020 target at all. At least they’re not trying to have it both ways.

A legally binding target for 2020 based on 1990 levels for all Annex I countries is a cornerstone of a meaningful global agreement. A note to Russia, Japan, and Canada: unlike fossil fuels, there is an unlimited supply of Fossil Awards. And you will keep winning them until you set meaningful, science-based 2020 targets for cuts of at least 25 to 40% from 1990 levels.

On Friday, Canada won second place for supporting a Japanese proposal to use a more recent baseline than 1990 for measuring emissions. And on Saturday Canada won first place again for claiming that it was giving generous support to wind power, when in fact it failed to renew that support, leaving many projects stranded.