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Monday, December 14, 2009

Wall Street Journal falls for hoax, publishes "Canada Announces Major Shift at COP15 Climate Summit"

UPDATE:  December 14, 2009, 18:15 GMT -3

Dear Readers,

Apparently, this "Wall Street Journal" article is a spoof.

And so is the announcement from the Canadian Environment Ministry.

These spoofs may have been perpetrated by The Yes Men, already known for pulling a similar spoof on the Chamber of Commerce.

Will post more when full, unconfused story finally comes out.


Canada Announces Major Shift at COP15 Climate Summit

Declares new emissions reduction targets, outlines pilot program on adaptation financing for Africa
Canadian delegates to the United Nation Climate Summit in Copenhagen announced a significant shift in the country's climate stance today.

The announcement, in part seemingly prompted by today's walkout of the G77 bloc of nations, represents a major change in tone and substance for the large energy-producing nation. The new plan, dubbed "Agenda 2020," details an aggressive new commitment to curtailing carbon emissions, and lays out the guidelines for a new climate adaptation fund for developing nations.

"This agreement tackles the core drivers of social and ecological vulnerability," said Matthew Delane, Canada's Attaché for Environment and Planning in Copenhagen. "It's nothing less than a new vision of international responsibility."

A momentous announcement is made, and all eyes rest upon Canada (video). COP15

According to at least one source, the multi-tiered climate-change proposal has been quietly in development for several months, and was prompted by domestic and international criticism. Some members of Canada's business community have expressed surprise at many of the details of a plan apparently crafted with little of their input.

"Canadian business is fully committed to a responsible move towards a reduced carbon economy, but the drastic benchmarks announced today seem beyond the pale," said Ross Laver of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. "We are still trying to learn more about the proposal, but it's clearly a major concern for our members. This is not the way to create jobs for Canadians."

The plan as announced will increase Canada’s greenhouse gas reduction targets to 40% of 1990 levels by 2020 and 80% percent by 2050, goals in line with recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This represents a steep jump from Canada's previous public commitment of 20% in emissions reductions by 2020. It is also a significant break with the position of other developed countries.

"This commitment could prove an embarrassing one for negotiators from the G20," said Simone Durand of Chatham House, a London-based think tank. "It's a very substantive departure from the spirit of the Danish text."

Durand was referring to last week's leaked memo thought to be between the US, the UK, and Denmark, proposing a two-tiered per-capita emissions schema for developed and developing countries. The leak caused an uproar among developed nations at the start of the summit, and led to a brief spike in carbon futures trading at the Chicago Climate Futures Exchange (CCFE).

Of possibly even greater significance to the climate negotiations in Copenhagen are provisions for a substantial increase in funding for climate adaptation and mitigation by developing countries. This has been a key point of contention during the talks, with developed countries pledging a sum total of $10 billion and others, notably African and small island nations, saying this is not nearly enough.

With Canada's new “Climate Debt Mechanism,” Canada alone has committed to chipping in $13 billion additional aid funding. The Canadian proposal outlines a target roughly equivalent to 5% of Canada's GDP (or just over $65 billion) annually by 2030, by far the largest commitment on the table at Copenhagen from any developed country.

While even these targets fall short of an ambitious financing demand outlined by the African Group on Friday, they come remarkably close. Voice of America reported on Sunday that the African Union has pledged to "scuttle the deal" if African demands for compensation for the effects of global warming are not met.

The fund will purportedly go towards financing major infrastructure projects for specific communities already facing the results of climate change and threatened with its most dire consequences. The fund will release its initial round of financing in a pilot program with Uganda, where increasingly erratic weather patterns, and the melting of the ice-caps on the Rwenzori mountains along Uganda's western border, have devastated crop yields for many subsistence farmers.

“The big powers have had a very clear agenda of their own here in Copenhagen, and so far this has seemed to be more a meeting of a few rather than a global initiative," said Margaret Matembe, a spokesperson for the Climate Committee of Uganda, the environmental caucus in the Ugandan Parliament. "Canada’s new plan is a
game changer.”

Write to Gustav Rainer at


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