Tuvalu is the Hero of the Day, Canada the Villain
Day 3 has certainly been an interesting one: Tuvalu (a small island nation) walked out of negotiations which were temporarily suspended but were awarded the first ever Ray of the Day award, Canada won its second Fossil of the Day in a surprise-twist award ceremony. NGO’s react to the leaked Danish text.Around 2 pm today Tuvalu walked out on the negotiations because they suggested creating a “contact group” to discuss the legally binding aspects of a new climate treaty. A contact group is a group of countries that comes together to discuss a subset of issues within one of the larger negotiation tracks. In this case, Tuvalu wanted to discuss, in an open and transparent forum, the legal outcomes of the COP (ie: will it be legally binding? What are the parameters of this legal treaty?). A new climate treaty must be legally binding if it is to be effective. When developed nations, including Canada, opposed the suggestion of a new contact group, the talks broke down and Tuvalu walked out. The negotiations were suspended for just over an hour. Within a few hours an event took place with NGO delegates standing in solidarity with Tuvalu outside one of the main negotiating rooms. Approximately 100 people held signs saying “Tuvalu is the real deal” and “Stand with Tuvalu” and chanted their support for this small island nation which will be submerged when sea level rises. For their efforts to move the negotiations towards a legally binding deal, Tuvalu was awarded the FIRST EVER Ray of the Day award. The Ray of the Day is the antithesis of the Fossil of the Day award and is presented only on rare occasions (read: never before) to countries that substantially advance negotiations. Canada on the other hand was dishonoured with its second Fossil of the day award in a surprise ending round of awards. Russia was originally awarded third place and Canada along with Croatia won second for their resistance to the adoption of a 1990 baseline year. Canada apparently prefers to pursue a “more contemporary” base year as one senior Canadian negotiator put it. However because a Ray of the Day was awarded, Canada, Croatia and Russia were bumped up to first and second place respectively. Canada is now tied with the Ukraine for first place in the race for the Colossal Fossil award, aka the Fossil of the Year. In yet another round of shaming Canada, the Canadian Youth delegation stages an action targeting the Alberta tar sands. The action coincided with the release of a new report titled “TARnishing the Maple Leaf: How the Tar Sands Drive Canada’s Positions” and involved a large banner (see photo) that says “Stop Tarring Our Image”. NGO’s have all been abuzz here today about the “Leaked Danish Text”. NGO’s including the Climate Action Network and the Canadian Youth delegation have condemned this text and the developed countries behind it as an attempt to create a treaty that is neither fair, ambitious or binding, nor would it deliver on the finance and technology needed to support developing countries adapt to climate change. Perhaps what irks NGO delegates the most (beyond the fundamental unfairness of this text) is how it was created using a non-transparent process. Regardless of the position being proposed, all texts must be discussed in an open and inclusive way if parties are ever to agree on an effective climate treaty. Day 3 has been a handful. I was able to get some great footage of the Tuvalu action as well as Pan-African Solidarity action and some interviews with delegates from around the world. Check back soon for videos.