Norway likes to play the climate champion but behind closed doors, new prime minister Jonas Gahr Støre is gaining a reputation as a fossil fuel cheerleader. The Labour leader, who’s only been in charge for a few weeks, has, apparently, boasted to media that “Norwegian gas is not the problem, but part of the solution for a successful transition to renewable energy” especially if combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS).

He positions the land of the midnight sun’s fossil fuel production as a solution for the billion people who don’t have access to electricity and has an interesting interpretation of the International Energy Agency and United Nations calls for an end to new fossil exploration. In Støreworld this only applies to large coal producers and not Norway.

Before COP, his government was caught red-handed by the media lobbying the IPCC to declare CCS a fix for continued fossil production. Alongside calling for further oil and gas development, they’vejoined Russia in arguing against the EU Commission’s potential blacklisting of drilling in the Arctic.

As if that wasn’t enough, not a single Norwegian climate target has ever been met, the petroleum industry is the largest source of domestic emissions and exported emissions of Norway’s petroleum industry are around ten times higher than national emissions. Mind boggling

Throwing sovereign wealth fund money (worth an eye-watering $1.4 trillion and built through petroleum exports) at climate finance initiatives is one thing but giving huge bailouts to the petroleum industry during the COVID-19 pandemic on top of existing subsidies is just a step too far.

Second Fossil of the Day Award goes to Japan

Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida told the assembled Glasgow crowd that Japan promotes fossil power plants because they are necessary to integrate renewable energy, not only in Japan, but also throughout Asia. 

Despite a coal phase out being set as a priority goal for this COP, the land of the rising sun aims to continue using coal power plants beyond 2030 and even towards 2050. Furthermore, Kishida has had deluded dreams of using ammonia and hydrogen as “zero-emission thermal power”. He needs to wake up and understand that these novice and costly technologies are linked to fossil fuel extraction and would leave little chance of meeting the global 1.5C degrees targets. We need real world commitments to halt rising temperatures and a coal phase out by 2030 and not fossil fuel nightmares.

Third Fossil of the Day Award goes to Australia, again!

And for a second day running our antipodean cousins receive yet another fossil of the day award – they’re going to need a bigger trophy cabinet.

So called “Emissions Reductions Ringmaster” Angus Taylor came to COP only to be unmasked as a vaudevillian mastermind selling Australian fossil fuels and our future down the toilet.

This morning he held a joint press conference in the Australian pavilion – with Santos, your friendly neighbourhood gas company to talk CCS with a majestic model of how they are going to bury emissions in their own backyard.

Spending public money on a technology theme park that 20 years on is still unproven is taking a hell of a risk and delaying climate action. Can they make it a Fossil Award hatrick – find out tomorrow

Ray of the (yester)day for Scotland

A hurRAY for Scotland, dear hosts of COP and Monday’s response to the escalating loss and damage from irreversible climate impacts. It’s a miniscule amount in the grand scheme of things but by putting £1m from their Climate Justice Fund to support “communities to repair and rebuild from climate-related events, such as flooding and wildfires” they’re setting a precedent that the richer nations must follow. We need funding mechanisms that acknowledge the scale of the problem and a roadmap for delivery. Scotland will get extra points from us if they now do more to start meeting their relatively strong legal emissions targets and come out and declare their opposition to plans to drill for yet more oil in the Cambo field off the coast of Shetland, applying pressure on the UK Government to use their powers to block it. 

Ray of the Day – India 

After Monday’s 2070 emissions target announcement, in a quick turnaround, India has redefined itself as a COP26 climate champion. This shock ‘ray of the day’ award comes after it made bold  *near-term commitments* to meet 50% of its energy requirements from renewables by 2030. And that’s not all folks. A staggering reduction of one billion tons of CO2 emissions by 2030 and reduction of carbon intensity by 45% have also been announced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. These commitments will move India towards a low-carbon development pathway essential for a resilient future. 

The announcement by Modi at the World Leaders Summit adds to the positive momentum on mitigation ambition and also demands developed countries to raise their targets based on equity and science and provide finance to the developing countries.

Ray of Day is awarded to India for their bold and concrete for 2030 which encourages other countries to follow suit. Hope you are listening China!

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