Two Fossils Awards: Developed Countries for lack of Loss and Damage climate finance, and Austria for facilitating coal subsidies
Some unusual suspects today. While everyone was looking at SBSTA discussion on to ‘note’ or ‘welcome’ the IPCC special report on 1.5C, these bad boys snuck in and whisked away the Fossil of the Day awards.
The first Award went to the developed countries of the Executive Committee (Excomm) of the Warsaw International Mechanism (WIM) on Loss and Damage. Five years old and still not a penny of climate finance. How miserly the parents are.
But the Climate Action Network is gracious and sang them a Happy birthday message.
The second Fossil Award to Austria for subsidising coal. Yes, you heard me right, Austria, not Australia! Austria has the presidency of the European Council and wants to subsidize existing and new coal plants for the next 17 years through backdoor mechanisms. Really Austria, you know you can’t compete with Australia when it comes to coal (Cough Cough).
Here be the award commendations for today:
Developed Country Members of the ExComm on the WIM
It seems that there is a birthday in the house today! Young WIM is turning five.
Awww so sweet.
I wonder what special gifts WIM will receive? A bike, a shiny toy car? Or perhaps …. a Fossil?
Today’s fossil award goes to the developed country members on the WIM – the Warsaw International Mechanism for Loss and Damage. As the WIM celebrates its fifth birthday – back in the country of its birth, Poland – it’s worth noting that it has spent those five years failing to appropriately tackle the thorny issue of finance for loss and damage. Why? Well, that would be down to the developed country delegates who have served on the ExComm of the WIM over those years, currently represented by: USA, Poland, EU, Austria, Norway, Australia, UK, Russia, Japan, Germany.
Developed countries have too often stood in the way of meaningfully addressing the mandate from Warsaw in 2013 and the Paris Agreement, to facilitate and “enhance action and support” on a “collaborative and facilitative” basis. Instead they apply an overly strong focus on driving insurance solutions and refuse to take responsibility for their large share in causing the climate crisis and severely harming vulnerable countries.
To close, a special birthday song …
*To the tune of Happy Birthday*
Happy Birthday to you,
We had big faith in you!
But where is the finance?
Now we have to say “Boo”!
It looks have some new bad boys in town!
Now, they aren’t the usual suspects, but that doesn’t mean they are well behaved. So much so, that they may be getting a bit of coal in their stockings this Christmas.
Today’s first place Fossil goes to Austria! The EU Council under the lead of the Austrian presidency wants to subsidize existing and new coal plants for the next 17 years, until 2035! Unfortunately, this is not the kind of leadership we are looking for, Austria.
The so-called “capacity mechanisms” are used as backdoor subsidies for the most uneconomic and polluting power plants. These subsidies add €58 billion to energy bills of EU citizens for funding coal gas and nuclear. Coal power plants receive the vast majority of it, and polluters plan to even build new coal plants in the EU thanks to these subsidies.
Austria leads the EU Member States in these negotiations, which could end these subsidies to coal, but has chosen to please coal laggards like Poland or Greece/Bulgaria rather than to listen to the progressive Member States and put an end to subsidies for coal.
Those still waiting for a happy ending, sorry. Austria, in its special role at this COP, has been largely silent and has failed to provide crucial signals on climate finance and regain the trust of developing countries. To top it all off, Vice-Chancellor Strache has poured ridicule on the Presidency by denying anthropogenic climate change. What is perhaps even worse, is the fact that the rest of the government has been silent on this issue,
despite these comments coming during the crucial climate summit in Katowice.
All in all, this has damaged the credibility of EU Member States at this COP and sabotaged the ability to show real leadership and take the necessary domestic action of quitting coal and cleaning up our cars as elemental steps towards 1.5 degrees.
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