At the1999 COP held at Bonn, a German organization promoted an award “Fossil of the Day” to be conferred on countries whose actions were most detrimental to the reduction of GHG emissions. A later coalition of environmental organization promoted a “Colossal Fossil” award.
These awards “caught on”. When the Federal Conservatives formed the Government, Canada was a shoe-in for the award.
Canada finally escaped this (dis)honour at COP 22, held in Marrakech, Morocco. Why? Because Canadians had replaced the Conservatives with a Liberal Government that had campaigned for significant policy changes to limit GHG emissions.
Many of these policy changes were not immediate. They required development of legal and administrative regimes to reduce emissions effectively.
Our Federal Government was discrete in the method and timing of the implementation of these policies, which required the support of the Provinces.
For example, our Western Provinces benefit from the marketing of fossil fuels for revenue. Voters in these Provinces firmly believe that the social benefits they enjoy – such as health benefits, education and welfare scheme – depended on the continuing prosperity of the fossil fuels industry.
Our Government was not prepared to limit the exploitation of e.g. the tar sands oil, as this would be unpopular with Western voters. It also approved the construction of a pipeline to transport this oil to Vancouver where it could be sold into world markets,
So, we come to COP 23. Environmental organizations felt that they had misplaced their confidence in Canada’s leadership at the world level. They expressed their dissatisfaction by awarding Canada a “Fossil of the Day” award for refusing to get serious about loss and damage financing. Canada has company: the US, the European Union, Germany, Norway France and Australia were also honoured (?) by the award.
4RG recognizes that Canada had somewhat balanced the ledger by making positive contributions to COP 23. For example, the promotion – along with the United Kingdom -of a global alliance to speed up the transition from coal used in generating electricity. Not an easy project considering the actions of President Trump.
If interested in the history of the award follow these links.