Finally, Fossils!

Yesterday not just one, or two, but three Fossil of the Day awards!

The first went to the European Commission for its mean-spirited “winter package”. Leaked copies of proposed renewable energy legislation reveal a real lack of ambition. The proposed target is to increase renewable energy a mere 27% of total energy by 2030… only 7% more than its 20% by 2020 target. The Commission is failing to send the strong signal to investors necessary to boost clean energy investment, in line with the Paris Agreement. Moreover, if European Commission President Juncker is serious about fulfilling his promise to make the EU “number one in renewable energy” then the proposals in the package need to be substantially improved before they are approved.

Indonesia won second prize for making really, really bad plans to boost power generation 35GW by 2019 (which is good), but 60% of this is to come from coal (very, very bad!). Coming just days after new UNICEF research showed that more than 300 million children worldwide, particularly in South-East Asia, are exposed to air pollution with detrimental health impacts. Indonesia included ‘clean coal’ in its NDC, but this is no solution to premature deaths from choking smog or global warming.

And the third Fossil of the Day award went to New Zealand for talking big on reducing fossil fuel subsidies at COP22, but failing to live up to its own (good) advice at home. Yesterday, New Zealand’s Climate Change Ambassador, Mark Sinclair, stressed the need to cut fossil fuel subsidies—hooray! However, back at home New Zealand isn’t walking the walk. Instead, it supports the oil and gas industry through tax breaks and funding scientific research for these industries—boo! All of which amounted to NZ$46 million in 2012/2013. In fact, despite the general understanding that 80% of fossil fuels need to remain unburned if we are to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement, the New Zealand government “aims to increase the value of New Zealand petroleum exports ten-fold, from $3 billion to $30 billion a year by 2025.” Oh dear. Well done New Zealand, a Fossil well earned.