A hoax of a day for Canada

15 December 2009

What a rough ride it was for Canada yesterday. At about noon, a press release supposedly by Environment Canada emerged. It claimed that Canada was changing its stand and going for 40% emission reductions below 1990 levels by 2020, and was committing 1% of its GDP for mitigation and adaption in developing countries.

As it sounded too good to be true, it turned out to be what it only could be – a hoax. In spite of this, the news made it to various web sites including the Wall Street Journal only for them too to realise it was a hoax.

This was followed by another press release saying the first one was a hoax, which also turned out to be a hoax. And if that was not enough, a video by a Ugandan delegate reacting to the news on the UN website also turned out to be fabricated.

While all these goings-on must have given the Canadian government a massive headache, its reaction was irrational. The spokesperson for the Prime Minister of Canada publicly attacked a respected member of the Canadian NGO community and long time participant in the international climate negotiations process, of being the source of the hoax. That, in turn, generated a further storm of news coverage in Canada until Yes Man confirmed that they were behind the prank.

In summary, it was a bad day for Canada and there are at least four more days to go.

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