fossil-fool-nzin which Greenpeace Political Adviser Geoff Keey reports in from the UN climate talks in Bonn, Germany...

New Zealand has won third prize in Fossil of the Day awards at the climate talks.

What’s that you ask? Well, there’s a long-standing tradition of the Climate Action Network (CAN) of environmental NGOs to grant Fossil of the Day awards to countries that act irresponsibly at climate change negotiations. Fossil of the Day awards are usually well attended. They provide a little light relief in the otherwise painfully slow progress that is a feature of these negotiations.

New Zealand won third prize for using a picture of a sheep to illustrate agricultural greenhouse gas pollution when doing a presentation to representatives of the 180 countries attending the climate change negotiations.

The citation said that New Zealand was trying to “pull the wool over the eyes” of everyone attending the negotiations because “everyone knows that it is cows, not sheep that are responsible for New Zealand’s out of control greenhouse gas emissions.”

So who beat New Zealand? Japan came second for having a very weak proposed 2020 target for reducing emissions. But to be fair to Japan, at least they’re proposing something. New Zealand hasn’t even proposed a target, although they were supposed to come to Bonn with one. Saudi Arabia won first prize. Saudi Arabia frequently gets a Fossil of the Day award. It must be such a burden to be the world’s biggest source of liquid fossil fuels.

Meanwhile, each day at the talks, there’s an NGO bulletin that goes around called ECO. It contains news, analysis and rumours about the climate change negotiations and is read by most delegates representing the 180 countries present. This is what a recent ECO newsletter had to say about New Zealand:


Finally, quirky facts from the Antipodes. Not many people may know it, but not only is the leader of one of New Zealand’s governing parties a declared climate sceptic, but the Prime Minister – who says he thinks climate change is happening – still wants to keep domestic policy flexible, in case the sceptics are proved right. Go figure