The good and the bad: Thursday’s fossil and ray at UN Climate Talks

Today at the UN Climate talks the Climate Action Network again handed out awards for countries who had done their best to be the worst in these negotiations. Also a group of countries were rewarded who had tried their best to be constructive. With one day left to go we can only hope we see less of the former and more of the latter as negotiations go into the night.

Japan earns the First place Fossil. Yesterday, we heard again Japan’s well known position that it will not inscribe a target under a second period of the Kyoto Protocol under ANY circumstance. It is very regrettable that we see no room for flexibility. The Kyoto Protocol second commitment period is the heart of a Durban package and Japan’s unchanged position will jeopardize the success of the Durban meeting.

Market mechanisms, which Japan favors so much, may not be used anymore if Japan doesn’t have a target under the Kyoto Protocol. Is this really OK, Japan? Lack of a target under the international legal framework would weaken implementation of domestic policies and actions and lose international competitiveness in a low carbon economy. We don’t really understand.

The second place fossil goes to Saudi Arabia and Antigua & Barbuda for blocking attempts to enhance NGO participation.  Saudi Arabia is a frequent winner of these awards and really needs no explanation. They have a long history of blocking just about everything from legal issues to adaptation, agendas to observer participation. The Saudis should be isolated for their obstructionist ways and not allowed to dictate text on this or any other issue. As for Antigua & Barbuda, it breaks our heart to give your individual country the fossil, but to suggest that we would be moving too fast to allow NGOs to make interventions without submitting written statements in advance is just ridiculous!  In the fight against climate change, speed is of the essence!  For prompting a lack of engagement and transparency, you two get the fossil!

And for the good news….

The Ray of the Day goes to a group of countries who have stood strong for transparency in the face of attacks from countries hoping to hide behind closed doors. They clearly recognize the productive and important role NGOs play in this process and have done all they can to suggest improvements, propose compromises, and shine a light on this process in the hopes of supporting not only civil society but in so doing also the global effort to address climate change. On a side note, if more Parties had similar positions on transparency to these, perhaps we could avoid protracted fights on agendas and other matters in the future, simply in order to avoid embarrassment.
For these actions in support of transparency, accountability and civil society, we award this Ray of the Day to the EU, Mexico, Bolivia, Philippines, and Australia