Climate Humor At The UN COP20 Meet (VIDEOS)

Never let it be said that the doomsaying, treehugging, pointy-headed nerds of the climate change adaptation movement lack a fundamental sense of humor. The dark amusements of the UN’s COP20 conference in Lima—as at prior venues—surface daily in the presentation of an award for [Climate] Fossil of the Day.

CAN Fossil of the Day (Climate Action Network)

During United Nations climate change talks each year, members of the Climate Action Network (a worldwide gathering of over 900 nongovernment rganizations at the conference) vote for countries judged to have done their “best” to block progress in the negotiations on each day of the talks. The presenter is a ghoulish skeleton who publicly awards the honors at the end of each day. There’s even a special “Fossil of the Day” song. The awards were first presented at the climate talks in 1999, in Bonn, initiated by the German nongovernment forum.

Without further ado, we present CAN’s top COP20 environmental fossils of this important week, as introduced by the network on YouTube.

CONFERENCE started on December 1, 2014….

The first place Fossil of the Day in Lima at the UN Climate Talks (COP20) goes to Australia, Belgium, Ireland and Austria for not contributing to the Green Climate Fund. After a string of encouraging initial contributions to the Green Climate Fund, it seems a few free-riders within Annex 2 believe they are off the hook on this one. That translates into several billions of dollars missing in the fund’s coffer. This is not acceptable and it is jeopardizing the Paris agreement. To the free-riding ministers: Don’t forget to sign your check before you land in Lima.


Japan wins the Fossil of the Day Award for getting busted funding coal and gas power stations in developing countries, in particular Indonesia, with money meant for scaling up climate action.  Using climate finance to fund the root causes of climate change smells very whiffy.


Switzerland earns today’s first place Fossil of the Day for being a big bully. As anyone who listens to civil society or a climate scientist will know, we have to do much more if we want to keep temperature rise to within the internationally agreed threshold of 2degreesC. Predictable public climate finance to help developing countries to scale up their climate actions will help grease the ambition wheel. Switzerland, in an intervention today, not only opposed any legally binding commitments of finance, but also threatened developing countries that any demands for such would jeopardize the outcome here in Lima.

Other developed countries, EU and the US came close to earning a fossil too as they didn’t exactly paint themselves in glory either when they also strongly rejected commitments on finance. (More COP20 awards here also!)


Australia has today taken first place in the Fossil of the Day. The dubious award was also handed down after Australia said in an ADP session on the 2015 agreement that loss and damage should be an element of adaptation, not a standalone part of the Paris Protocol. But hear this, this stance is in direct opposition to the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts including those from AOSIS, the LDCs, the Africa Group, AILAC who want to see the agreement feature loss and damage as separate issue. not bundled into adaptation.

The European Union wins the second place Fossil of the Day Award for calling for a 10 year commitment period, a sure fire way to lock in low ambition in the future climate deal. No European Union, 10 year cycles is not the right timeline for the next deal.


Australia wins its second consecutive Fossil of the Day award today at COP20 for its mistaken call to bail on the Green Climate Fund. Ahead of coming to the conference, the country’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop announced that Australia will not be coughing any money up for the fund, and that it would rather pay for climate change adaptation through its aid budget – a budget that was recently slashed by $7.6 billion over the next five years.

Meanwhile the Marshall Islands received the conference’s second Ray of the Day for shining a light on an issue of the time frame for country commitments under the new global climate deal. The country is calling for a five-year period, which would ensure low ambition is not locked in until 2030. In the spirit of today’s COP theme, ‘Business and Industry Day’ or BINGO towards Fossil presentation about had a special award – the Sly Sludge award – which was given to Royal Dutch Shell for their attempts to push the unproven potential of carbon capture and storage.


HINT (no video out yet): These two blocs have proven inimical to the concept of gender equity. One won’t surprise you, but the other one may.

Follow the Fossil of the Day awards at its website, on Twitter @FossilOfTheDay, or on Facebook here!

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