It takes a lot to get Canada mad.
The Yes Men found out yesterday just how far you have to push the gentle giant to our north when they sent out a series of faux press releases in Copenhagen pledging that the Canadian government would commit to aggressive cuts in emissions and pledged tens of billions in new aid to help African nations mitigate the problems caused by global warming (aka climate reparations).
It was a pretty involved stunt. First they (the Yes Men worked with ActionAid on this one) released the original press release which described a science-based, forward-thinking plan called "Agenda 2020" that would slash emissions and make CO2 reparation payments to African nations.
An hour after that, another fake press release was released first angrily claiming the spoof releases inhibited democracy then defending the terribly unsustainable and destructive practice of mining oil sands. It started to get kind of complicated by the time the real Canadians got involved, here's how the Yes Men explain it on their website:
The real Canadian government's reactions were almost as strange as the fake ones in the release. Dimitri Soudas, a spokesperson for the Canadian prime minister, e-mailed reporters and blamed Steven Guilbeault, cofounder of Quebec-based Equiterre. "More time should be dedicated to playing a constructive role instead of childish pranks," said Soudas in a first e-mail, while misspelling Guilbeault's name.
Guilbeault demanded an apology. "A better way to use his time would probably be to advise the Canadian government to change its deeply flawed position on climate," said Guilbeault.
Soudas and Guilbeault were seen exchanging angry words in the hallway outside of Canada's 3:30 p.m. press conference, which did not start until 4:30 p.m., and at which the Canadians refused to answer any questions about the flurry of false releases.
More raised voices were heard when Stephen Chu, the U.S. Secretary of Energy, refused to pose for a photo with his Canadian counterpart, Jim Prentice. After Steve Kelly, Prentice's chief of staff, begged for 10 minutes, the U.S. guy finally asked why a photo was so important. Kelly replied that "we were carpetbagged this morning by [environmental non-governmental organizations] with a false press release. I gotta change the story."
Check out The Climate Debt Agents, the site setup for the Canadian press release action.
Read more about the Yes Men here on MNN: