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 claim 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 $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 have increasing seven-fold since his election in 2008. His phoney 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? Or is it just us?
Joining New Zealand on the winners podium (drum roll please) for a first placed Fossil Award is Belgium! With environmental leadership as murky as a tall glass of weisse beer it’s four governments from four different parties are still bickering over how to implement the existing EU climate and energy package from 2009, ensuring they were too busy to even consider doing the work necessary to prepare for the Paris Climate Summit.
Today Belgium is one of the few EU countries lagging behind on their carbon pollution reduction and renewable energy targets. There is such a severe state of gridlock in the Belgian environment office it’s as if the minister ate 5 boxes of Guylian Chocolates in one sitting. Because of this blockage on a Belgian climate agreement the country also lags behind in providing sufficient and durable climate finance.
For Belgium… the train has left the station for COP21 – literally. This weekend the Environment Minister missed the train to Paris. Why? Because the government was negotiating the restarting of old nuclear power plants that were canned over a year ago. Way to go Belgium…backwards.