As world leaders up the ante on the opening day of the Paris Climate Summit, the first place Fossil of the Day award is a double-act. New Zealand claims a top spot for rather hilariously, or not, urging countries to phase out fossil fuel subsidies while shelling out big bucks to prop up fossil fuel production, to the tune of US$80 million.
Prime Minister John Key showed a degree of hypocrisy by claiming, at a Friends of Fossil Fuel Subsidy Reform event, that New Zealand is a leader on fossil fuel subsidy abolition–despite the country’s fossil fuel production subsidies increasing seven-fold since his election in 2008. His phony grandstanding came just a week after claiming that New Zealand ‘doesn’t need to be and shouldn’t be a leader in climate change’. Are you getting mixed signals too?
Joining New Zealand on the winners podium (drum roll please) for a First Place Fossil Award is Belgium! With environmental leadership as murky as a tall glass of Weisse beer, its four regional governments from four different parties are still bickering over how to implement the EU climate and energy package since 2009.
Today, Belgium is lagging behind on their carbon pollution reduction and renewable energy targets. Because of this bickering blocking a Belgian climate agreement, the country also lags behind in providing sufficient and durable climate finance. The severe state of gridlock in the Belgian environment office makes ECO wonder if some of the political bigwigs are having 5 boxes of Guylian Chocolates in one sitting whenever progress is to be made. That probably also led to the Environment Minister missing the train to Paris. Why? Because the government was negotiating the restarting of old nuclear power plants that were canned over a year ago.
And look, only a couple of hours after receiving the Fossil, Belgium reached an agreement. Not one on climate, noooo. One on more old nukes for the coming decade. Belgium is moving…backwards.