Marketplace Scratch Pad

Climate fakery

Scott Jagow Dec 14, 2009

And you wonder why some people don’t believe what they read about global warming or tune it out. The Canadian government is fuming after someone pulled off an elaborate hoax that made it look like Canada had committed to new carbon emission caps in Copenhagen.

It all started with a fake Twitter account and a fake press release, designed to look like it came from the group Environment Canada. An excerpt from the forgery:

Agenda 2020 sets binding emissions reductions targets of 40% below 1990 levels by 2020 and at least 80% by 2050, in line with the recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and approaching the levels demanded by the African Group (link). The plan also introduces a new instrument, known as the “Climate Debt Mechanism” (CDM), committing Canada to much-needed funding to those developing countries facing the most dire consequences of climate change.

Uh, that’s not true. And Canada’s carbon emissions target is closer three percent below 1990 levels. The faux press release was followed up with another fake from the Ugandan delegation, praising Canada for agreeing to pay African nations for climate change “reparations.”

Oh, it doesn’t stop there. A third press release, supposedly from Environment Canada, denounced the first two releases for generating “hurtful rumors.” And it provided a link to a bogus Wall Street Journal story about Canada’s “new” climate change position.

Who did this? Canada’s government points the finger at one particular environmentalist, who denies the accusations. More from AFP:

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s spokesman, Dimitri Soudas, accused famed environmentalist Steven Guilbeault (of environmental group Equiterre) of betraying Canada for criticizing its climate record in a series of spoof press releases…

Such trickery is “incredibly childish,” Soudas told AFP. “This is an important summit … and there’s no place here for this sort of rhetoric.”

“What’s at stake is battling climate change,” he said by telephone from Copenhagen.

Equiterre said in a statement Soudas “should stop throwing baseless accusations. A better way to use his time would probably be to advise the Canadian government to change its deeply flawed position on climate.”

Maybe it was someone in Canadian government behind the whole thing. Clearly, some officials don’t think much of the federal government’s stance.

This is the actual Environment Canada website. I’m pretty sure.

And I know this real: Marketplace’s special coverage from Copenhagen.

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