Canadian government shamed by hoax at Copenhagen summit on climate change

A sophisticated hoax has targeted the Canadian government and caused a ruckus at the UN Climate Change Conference (COP15) currently underway in Copenhagen, Denmark. The elaborate prank is an attempt to embarrass the Canadian delegation to the summit, which has received criticism from the world press for its allegedly obstructionist role in negotiations.

At the centre of the ruse is a spoof news release in which Environment Canada announces the launch of “Agenda 2020”, an ambitious plan for reducing the country’s carbon emissions.

The release in part states:

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. CDM payments will begin with 1% and rise to the equivalent of 5% of Canada's GDP annually by 2030.

It was made available at Environment Canada's actual Web site is located at The news was also distributed on a fake Twitter account for Jim Prentice, Canada's minister of the environment.

The fake media release announcing a plan to significantly cut carbon emissions was posted on a Web site made to look very similar to that of Environment Canada's.

The release was also circulated via e-mail from the address, The department’s actual e-mail address for media-related correspondence is

Following the publication of the initial release, an alleged response to the launch of Agenda 2020 was made by the Ugandan delegation to Copenhagen.

That release states:

The Ugandan delegation to the COP-15 climate talks has been the first to react to Canada's announcement of ambitious new emissions-reduction targets and vigorous climate-debt reparations to African nations.

The second release was again distributed via the e-mail address It was also made available at a mock COP15 Web site with the URL The summit’s actual English Web site is located at

A video of a woman allegedly speaking for the government of Uganda was posted at a Web site closely resembling the official Web site for COP15.

Questions remain as to the authenticity of the Ugandan delegation’s alleged response. In a blog post, CBC News summed up the level of confusion around the video posted on the fake COP15 Web site, writing, “Is the Ugandan delegation in on the joke? Wait, is that even really the Ugandan delegation? Is there a Ugandan delegation at COP15 at all?”

Next, a third release was issued, this one denying the legitimacy of the first two. It in part read:

One hour ago, a spoof press release targeted Canada in order to generate hurtful rumors and mislead the Conference of Parties on Canada's positions on climate change, and to damage Canada's standing with the international business community.

The release, from "," alleges Canada's acceptance of unrealistic emissions-reduction targets, as well as a so-called "Climate Debt Mechanism," a bilateral agreement between Canada and Africa to furnish that continent with enormous sums in "reparation" for climate damage and to "offset" adaptation.

This third release, sent from, also turned out to be a fake. Note that the “ec” and “gc” in the address’s domain name are separated by a dash and not a period.

This release states that major media outlets had reported on the original two releases, and linked to a story allegedly published in the European edition of the Wall Street Journal.

A news story on the media releases presenting themselves as being sent out from Environment Canada was posted on a Web site designed to appear as the European edition of the Wall Street Journal.

But the authenticity of this site was also quickly called into question and appears to be a fake. Its URL is while the legitimate European edition of the Wall Street Journal is located at

The third release representing itself as a product of Canada's environment department also aimed to draw attention to the Alberta tar sands. It included the following passages:

Canada's current energy policy represents an elegant synthesis of the most advanced science, while remaining faithful to Canada's tradition of political pragmatism. Experts note, for example, that the much-decried oil sands of Alberta, contrary to environmentalists' dire assertions, are enabling Canada to meet ambitious emissions goals by providing her, as well as her neighbors, with the energy resources needed to transition to a cleaner energy future.

“Without the dynamism of our oil sands industry,” says Bruce Carson, a special Adviser to Environment Canada, “we in Canada would not have the energy - moral, financial and literal - to develop the alternative energy future the whole world craves.”

A few hours later, a fourth and, so far, final release was sent out from the second fake e-mail address. This release states:

We at Environment Canada wish to thank the international press community for their measured and understanding response to the hoax that struck our agency earlier this afternoon, while expressing our condolences to the Ugandan delegation who were swept up in the excitement of this false future "vision." (Click here for video.)

This sophisticated operation was reported in the Toronto Star, The Globe and Mail, and a number of other outlets as the irresponsible spoof that it was.

Environment Canada wishes to stress that the Ugandan delegation's impassioned response to the announcement is a dramatic tragedy for those who stand to suffer the most.

At the time of publication, Environment Canada had not posted a response to the affair on its Web site. However, as reported in the Globe and Mail, Dimitri Soudas, spokesman for Prime Minister Stephen Harper, stated in an e-mail, "More time should be dedicated to playing a constructive role instead of childish pranks."

It remains unknown who perpetrated the hoax.

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Over the line and not funny

Dec 14, 2009 at 2:32pm

Whatever 'attention' you are trying to draw to the seriousness of the issue... deliberately impersonating official government press releases is fairly serious. On something like a climate change conference it's kind of harmless, but in general this kind of thing should be punished hard. It's not difficult to think of other situations where that kind of stunt would cause a serious international incident. Go CSIS.

Personally, I think they should start the investigation by checking the UBC AMS executives' computers. I hear they are all about making senseless statements in international forums without the permission of their representatives.


Dec 14, 2009 at 2:44pm

The Climate jihadists have reached a new low of lies and deceit, first it was climategate and now this. Canada should withdraw from these imposed talks, and first, launch a full public inquiry into climate-gate and second find out who impersonated the Canadian government, make sure it is all public and lay the approbiate criminal charges. These wingnuts have gone to far.

Meme Mine

Dec 14, 2009 at 4:01pm

Sorry, I guess I’m a denier now because I can’t ignore the implications of the emails from ”¦”¦”¦”¦”¦the SCIENTISTS! You know, the “scientists” we have been trusting all along telling us the planet is slowly dying from human CO2. I DEMAND absolute PROOF the planet is dying before I deny my children their futures. This is too important to politicize. And besides, wouldn’t we be relieved to know the world’s longest emergency is no longer a grave danger to all life on the planet? We better be sure. This is too important a sacrifice of our lifestyle and to future ridicule when history calls climate change by humans; modern day witch burning
We can’t cherry pick what the scientists say as that would no longer be science now would it?


Dec 14, 2009 at 4:36pm

BTW - the person behind this hoax is Igor Vamos, supposedly a Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and a 'culture jamming artist'. Obviously highly qualified to discuss climate science. *rolls eyes*. The truth is, there is much debate among actual scientists about climate change in general, the only people to whom the debate is closed are careerist scientists who've specialized in alarmism and a reputation to protect at any cost and sanctimonious but uninformed twits such as these.


Dec 14, 2009 at 5:33pm

To all the those that don't believe in climate change:

In a house of six students, this year alone we've gone through eight computers, three cars, a dozen ipods... We've got 8 cellphones, and we try to dispose of these things properly when they break, and realize they'll need to be replaced next year.

Fifty years ago, these things did not exist. We have a very real problem, climate change is very practical, and not as wishy-washy hippy as you'd believe.

If it takes some hoaxers to bring attention to the issue, and bring out the losts souls so we can better inform them, than I think it was a good news day.

Moving forward

Dec 14, 2009 at 6:08pm

@ Wow & Meme Mine:

1. No scientific body of National or International standing has challenged the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (
2. The Associated Press did an exhaustive review of the hacked East Anglia University emails and found that the “emails stolen from climate scientists at the University of East Anglia show they stonewalled sceptics and discussed hiding data. But the messages don't support claims that the science of global warming was faked” (
3. The other day 1,700 UK scientists confirmed the connection between have been human activity to climate change. (
4. Despite avoiding any meaningful action on climate change to date, Canada’s Conservative government has already confirmed the science connecting human activity to climate change (
5. The fossil fuel industries have been outed for trying to create confusion and doubt about the science but they once again have been rebuked ( /
6. It's time to stop denying ( our role in causing climate change and start figuring out how to make the changes necessary so that our planet will continue to support our species long into the future.

Andrew Eden-Balfour

Dec 14, 2009 at 6:16pm

I'm afraid I have to side with the protestors and the hoax people on this, Canada, I love you and all since I'm Canadian; but your policies on climate are just simply attrotious at best, especially since you have just lowered expected emmission cuts by 2/3. I know that the oil sands are a major importance to Alberta's and Canada's economy, but Mr. Harper your being too biased on the oil sands and ignoring the environment. You got to have a balance of both in order to please everybody otherwise not only you'll be a joke to developed countries who are serious about climate change; but to also please Canadians, specially central and eastern canadians if you want to stay prime minister.


Dec 14, 2009 at 10:13pm

I quess one bad joke deserves another.

The Poop

Dec 14, 2009 at 10:25pm



There is something we can all do RIGHT NOW (please copy and ROCK THAT NET!!!):


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This is from 1992?! As a cancer survivor; I would like to ensure that the rising cancer commodities release their IRON GRIP on our Canaday.

If not our generation; then WHEN???

We could also start a on-line pledge; to sign and shoot around the net; that I will vote for Human Rights next year!



Dec 15, 2009 at 12:33am

It`s just one hoax after another from the lunatic left eco-nazis.