Mario Di Simine

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Fossil of the Day Award: And the winner is…

December 7, 2009

carsThe UN Conference on Climate Change is a weighty gathering of serious folks looking for a way to cut carbon emissions. It’s also a great place to bring some much-needed humor and along the way hammer a few perceived laggers in the fight against global warming.

Enter the Fossil of the Day Awards, a tongue-in-cheek dishonor first presented in 1999 and given to the countries with the worst performances at the previous day’s talks during UN climate conferences.

Three awards, compiled by CAN (Climate Action Network), a coalition of more than 450 NGOs, are presented each day with the country scoring the most points over the course of the conference winning the grand prize.

While the day’s winner seemed a bit anti-climactic — most of the gathered horde were expecting Saudi Arabia to come out in front — there were surprises for second and third.

Canada — nice, quiet, never-a-bad-thing-to-say-about-anyone Canada — found itself in the spotlight. The nation, whose stance on emissions targets has already irked environmentalists, came third. In a statement the organizers said Canada won after the country’s environment minister, Jim Prentice, said it “‘won’t be swayed’ by Copenhagen ‘hype’.”

Well, maybe it wasn’t that big a surprise.

Sweden, Finland and Austria captured second place “for backing a devious EU proposal to cook the books by not fully accounting for emissions from forest management.”

The “winners” also won a loud round of jeers from the gathered media, NGO and other representatives, but a more muted reaction greeted the top prize, although the boos did come through loud and clear as the dust settled.

So who won? The so-called Annex I group of industrialized nationsĀ  for “coming to Copenhagen with a profound deficit of ambition for cutting carbon.”

The choice was a bit disappointing. It makest it that much more difficult to point the finger.

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